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 has released video of its Falcon 9 first stage splashing down vertically in the ocean.

SpaceX has released video of its Falcon 9 first stage splashing down vertically in the ocean.

The video is not very good, but at one point you can clearly see for a flash that the first stage is vertical and appears to be hovering above the water.

For decades engineers and managers in the aerospace industry have said that returning a first stage vertically made no sense. Elon Musk insisted that SpaceX try. It appears he and his company are now going to prove that everyone else was wrong about this.

Readers!
 

I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.


Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652
 

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.

8 comments

  • Kelly Starks

    >…For decades engineers and managers in the aerospace industry have said that returning a first stage vertically
    > made no sense. Elon Musk insisted that SpaceX try. It appears he and his company are now going to prove that
    > everyone else was wrong about this.

    ??
    What aerospace industry? How did Musk prove them wrong?

    No one ever said you couldn’t do it – though landing a tall thin booster on its tail is a pain due to stability issues. Its not clear how SpaceX will deal with that.

    Obviously rockets landing on their tails, most famously the LEM and DC-X were proposed and done.

    The big problem is your converting a booster config that’s not good for reusability. Its like trying to turn a race car into a truck. Definitely doing things the hard and expensive way.

  • Pzatchok

    Actually using a first stage rocket one time and only one time is like taking an F-1 race car and using it in an demolition derby.

    All that time, effort and expense put into building and launching a perfect vehicle is all just tossed out the window and thrown away in one spectacular event.

    At least this way there is a chance that it can be recovered and rebuilt at a lesser expense. And reusing 90% of the first stage hardware just once reduces the costs noticeably.

    The LEM was proposed and done. But sadly not reused. So again it was just thrown away.

    DC-X was never intended to actually make orbit or even space for that matter. It was only created to prove vertical take off and landing. Which it did just fine many times. But since it was not needed at the time and did not do everything people wanted, it was scrapped when the prototype crashed and burned.

  • Edward

    “when the prototype crashed and burned.”

    This event may have reinforced the opinion of those engineers and managers who weren’t keen on returning a first stage vertically. I hope that Musk is able to show that they could/should have been doing this for decades, saving money, lowering costs, and opening up space to more customers. How far behind are we in the development of space because NASA did not get to be as creative as it was in the 1960s and that creative space companies had such a difficult time competing with NASA?

    NASA and Grumman protected the astronauts, in that the LM’s legs had to deploy before the craft was committed to descent for landing on the surface; if a leg failed to deploy, no landing attempt. This assured that the LM would not suffer the same fate as the DC-X. It looks like they had enough imagination of what might go wrong to avoid some of it.

  • Dick Eagleson

    landing a tall thin booster on its tail is a pain due to stability issues. Its not clear how SpaceX will deal with that.

    Perhaps watching a few of the numerous Grasshopper videos available on-line will clear that little matter up for you.

  • Kelly Starks

    Why does Musk use different physics then the rest of the world?

  • Kelly Starks

    > .. DC-X was never intended to actually make orbit or even space for that matter. It was only created to prove vertical take off and landing. ..

    No actually, that was old hat and no one questioned it. The DC-X was built to verify the low cost serviceability of the design – which it did – and test all the basic systems in a subscale demonstrator.

  • Pzatchok

    One of the largest problems with a vertical landing craft back then was control.

    They just didn’t have the computers and machines to do it reliably enough.

    We have everything now. Fast enough computers, sensors, material and mechanics to get the job done cheaply and lightly.

    All of those past design prototypes suffered from pretty much the very same things. Almost all eventually failed and crashed because of control problems.

    We knew how to make a flying wing back in the 50’s but it took until the 80’s to perfect it all because of control problems.

    The same with lifting body craft. And the same with all the vertical landing craft. None had the control that the grasshopper tests are showing is possible.

    NASA could have been on the cutting edge of all this if it had not forgotten its past attempts and retried them with modern equipment. We as a nation could have been doing what Space X is doing now, 15 if not 20 years

  • Kelly Starks

    > One of the largest problems with a vertical landing craft back then was control.

    > They just didn’t have the computers and machines to do it reliably enough.

    No, that was never considered a issue – and several rocket and jet VTOL craft were built, some went operational. (LEM Harrier are famous ones.) I’ve even seen off the shelf craft like fighters to do it in shows (one directly over my head, which is NOT acceptable airshow protocol!!!).

    Its not a technical advance or milestone.

    > We knew how to make a flying wing back in the 50′s but it took until the 80′s to perfect it all because of control problems.

    True her. Flying wings have stability problems. You could build them Eiather way, and you could do flight control that would make them safe without modern electronics, but their a lot safer with them.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *