Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Rocket Lab returns to flight, launching an American military test satellite

Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab tonight (July 29th in New Zealand) successfully launched its Electron rocket to place an American military technology test satellite into orbit.

This was the company’s first launch since a launch failure in May. Though the company has previously fished two first stage boosters out of the ocean as they test the engineering to allow the recover and reuse of those first stages, on this flight they made no such attempt.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

23 China
20 SpaceX
12 Russia
3 Northrop Grumman
3 Rocket Lab

The U.S. now leads China 30 to 23 in the national ranks. Last year the U.S. launched 40 times total. With the year seven months old, the U.S. has already reached three quarters of that number, suggesting that there is an outside chance that this year it could break its record of launches in a year, 70 in 1966. At the least the U.S. looks like it will achieve comparable launch numbers that were typical in the mid-1960s, at the dawn of the space age when NASA and the military were launching a lot to figure out the best way to do things.

Now the launches are privately owned, and exist because everyone is making money doing it. Assuming the world doesn’t get hit with a real disaster (instead of last year’s fake Wuhan flu panic), expect these numbers to continue to rise in the coming years.

Readers!
 

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11 comments

  • Robert noted “Assuming the world doesn’t get hit with a real disaster (instead of last year’s fake Wuhan flu panic), . . .”

    Also noted on this blog: ‘The Coming Dark Age’.

    I would submit that the ‘real disaster’, is already here.

  • Jeff Wright

    I just saw something of note:
    “Study New reusable shock absorber shows promise in lab tests”
    not what you think. Great for small metal launchers like this? Sub steel from Nuytco too?

  • Col Beausabre

    If you make an Electron the second stage of a Russian Proton, do you call the result a Hydrogen?

    Running for my life,,,,

  • mkent

    Though the company has previously fished two first stage boosters out of the ocean as they test the engineering to allow the recover and reuse of those first stages, on this flight they made no such attempt.

    And they shouldn’t have. They don’t launch enough to make re-usability worth the cost, and they are losing a lot of money. Worse, customers have got to be wondering if their focus on re-usability is causing lapses in their quality control. If they keep launching 15% of their customer’s payloads into the ocean, they’re not going to be around for very much longer.

    IMO., they need to focus on the following, in order:

    1) Return to flight with a successful launch. Done! Success!!

    2) Run off a string of a couple of dozen successful launches to put their reputation for low reliability behind them.

    3) Get their launch rate up. They say they’re building 18-20 launch vehicles a year, but they’re only launching six. They should have Electrons stacked up in the factory like cordwood. They need to have both a customer base and a launch rate that support those 18-20 launches a year before it even pays to have a re-usable vehicle.

    4) Then roll out re-usability. That’s when they’ll have the launch rate and cash flow to make it work.

    Trying to be SpaceX without first being a billionaire is how you turn your investors’ large fortunes into small ones, as the old saying goes.

  • mkent

    Now the launches are privately owned, and exist because everyone is making money doing it.

    No, they’re not. I doubt anyone has made money in this industry if counted from its start. ULA is probably making money now, but it’ll probably never recover the billions that its parent companies invested in it in the first place.

    I doubt anyone else is making money at all. Rocket Lab obviously is not. Their proxy statement put out due to the SPAC shows large losses. ArianeSpace loses $100 million per year by design. Northrop Grumman says they can make a profit on Antares at four launches per year, but they’ve never gotten even that. SpaceX is blowing through investor cash by the billion.

    SpaceX is probably at the point where they could make money on Falcon 9 launches if Elon were satisfied with that. He’s not. He’s got to roll the dice in pursuit of an even bigger fortune.

    It’s really hard to make money in a market dominated by foreign governments, especially when they consider that market “strategic.” It doesn’t help when your other competition is funded by billionaires making it their hobby (or obsession, whichever term you’d prefer).

  • David Eastman

    Mkent, are you deliberately being obtuse here? SpaceX, ULA, and RocketLab, as launch providers, aren’t the prime determiner of what the market is for launches, and are not the “everyone” that Bob was referring to as making money. Viasat, Starlink, OneWeb, Intelsat, Hexagon, Planet Labs, etc. Those are the companies that are paying for launches, making money, making a market, and asking for more and more launches.

  • David Eastman: Actually, I was referring to the launch companies, not the satellite companies, in my post. I think mkent is very wrong when he says these companies are not making money. SpaceX definitely is, so much so that it has convinced private investers to give the company money to the tune of $6 billion to build Starlink and Starship. They’ve seen SpaceX’s books, and this has convinced them the investment will pay off.

    However, you are right to add the satellite companies to the mix. They all demonstrate that capitalism and profit is the way to go to make space travel frequent and cheap.

  • Edward

    Col Beausabre pondered: “If you make an Electron the second stage of a Russian Proton, do you call the result a Hydrogen?

    Maybe, but after stage separation you are going to have an Ion.

    (Now I’m Running for my life).

    I think that mkent is also wrong about Rocket Lab’s test program. It does not cost much to perform these tests, and to do them now allows Rocket Lab to reuse their rockets sooner rather than later. There is no need to solve only one problem at a time when you have enough engineers to solve multiple problems.

    Rocket Lab has said that the purpose for reuse is not so much to reduce the cost of a launch as it is to allow them to launch at a pace that exceeds their manufacturing rate. They expect to ramp up to such a pace sooner rather than later. The sooner they ramp up, the more market share they will have.

  • Richard M

    “Now the launches are privately owned, and exist because everyone is making money doing it.”

    Just a niggle: Maybe not *everyone* yet. As Eric Berger noted in an article two days ago, we now know from the new financial disclosures Rocket Lab had to do as part of its SPAC deal that they’re actually losing money right now – about $30 million per year.

    But the SPAC deal also indicates they have good reason to believe that development of their new reusable Neutron medium lift rocket could get them in the black. Not everyone is going to want to launch on SpaceX (God bless ’em), no matter how cheap they get.

  • Richard M

    Edward,

    “Rocket Lab has said that the purpose for reuse is not so much to reduce the cost of a launch as it is to allow them to launch at a pace that exceeds their manufacturing rate.”

    This is an excellent point, and Peter Beck has been quite explicit about it. Quote: “We’re crazy-expanding our factories and hiring. But this is an additional step we need to take to increase launch opportunities.”

  • Andi

    “ Maybe, but after stage separation you are going to have an Ion“

    The first stage becomes an Ion, the second stage a Beta

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