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.

SpaceX CEO: Starship could launch as early as June

Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s CEO and president Gwynne Shotwell revealed today that Starship could be ready for its orbital test flight from Boca Chica as early as June, though government regulatory obstacles make that launch more likely three to six months from now.

It appears that the delays in getting FAA approval for launch have not been the only issues that have delayed that first launch attempt. Though SpaceX would have likely tried a launch months ago with earlier prototypes had the approval arrived as originally promised, that launch would have likely failed based on ground tests the company has been doing during the delay.

When Musk tweeted his “hopefully May” estimate, SpaceX was nowhere close to finishing the Starship – Ship 24 – that is believed to have been assigned to the orbital launch debut. However, SpaceX finally accelerated Ship 24 assembly within the last few weeks and ultimately finished stacking the upgraded Starship on May 8th. A great deal of work remains to truly complete Ship 24, but SpaceX should be ready to send it to a test stand within a week or two. Even though the testing Ship 24 will need to complete has been done before by Ship 20, making its path forward less risky than Booster 7’s, Ship 24 will debut a number of major design changes and likely needs at least two months of testing to reach a basic level of flight readiness.

A more likely launch date is probably late July at the earliest, though of course that will also depend on the government’s approval, something that presently appears difficult to get.


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  • geoffc

    The concerning part was that on Booster 7, they collapsed the transfer tube from the upper tank to the engines, due to some mistake in procedure during detanking. (Current theory). Like a straw, when you block one end and pull air out, it collapsed, stainless steel just being a bit stiffer than plastic, it took more of apressure drop.

    But they seem to have fixed it, which is impressive, since b7 was back on the launch stand for further tests. Within days. That is impressive.

    But Booster 7s current state is a potential issue. B8 is coming along quickly though…

  • geoffc

    Good article on the problem and the seeming fix.

    Has pics of the collapsed tube.

  • Col Beausabre

    Here’s a video of a railroad tank car imploding when suction was applied to the tank outlet without the manway’s valve also being open

  • Edward

    A very interesting article. The tweet from Michael Baylor tells us that despite SpaceX expressing interest in April of 2021 that they would like to launch as early as July, the bureaucracy waited until 25 June to begin the permitting process. My recollection is that before the October meeting for public input for the environmental review, the FAA thought that they would have their final report at the end of November, and that after the public input they extended that timeline to the end of December. As the release date approached, they began a month for month slip in their expected release date. Their current schedule is for the end of this month, but history suggests that this will continue to slip. SpaceX seems to be operating as though they will finally start getting their permissions to launch from Texas.

    Would the spotted owl — er rather the plower piper-cub bird — no, it’s the piping plover — become extinct if Starship-Super Heavy blew up on or near the Boca Chica pad? Obviously the bureaucracy thinks so, and maybe they think that it will happen just by roaring into space. Fortunately the humans in the same regions throughout the gulf coast and up half the Eastern Seaboard are deemed, by these same bureaucrats, relatively safe. A close shave for humanity.

    How many months does it take for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add in a requirement that someone, such as SpaceX, keep tabs on the local piping plover population to determine the effect of Starship launches? Oh, wait, we have a partial answer: at least five! It takes five months for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to write one sentence. Ah, the intelligence of the bureaucrats. One would think that they had never worked on an environmental report before.

    Super Heavy-Starship weighs-in at about 11 million pounds (almost twice the Saturn V-Apollo weight). Taking 100 tons (200,000 lbs) of payload to orbit means it delivers 2% of its initial weight, half of the percentage of a Saturn V (but at much, much less cost per ton). Single stage to orbit is supposed to be 1% or less, but can that be done for less cost per ton than a Starship?

    From the article:

    Ultimately, Shotwell’s June goal is almost certainly unachievable.

    A difference between NASA’s SLS project and SpaceX’s Starship project is that SpaceX sets challenge goals. Not impossible but difficult to accomplish. Slips in schedule are common in aerospace development, but SpaceX tries to make progress despite those slips. Right now those slips are not due to technical issues but due to outside issues, in this case political issues.

  • Jeff Wright

    I think a couple of Raptor 2s blew up recently. Test to destruction. More honest than cover-ups.
    Fail often
    Fail fast
    Fail forward

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