Capitalism in space: In what will likely be its last launch in 2021, SpaceX early this morning successfully launched a reused Dragon cargo capsule to ISS.
This was the company’s 31st launch in 2021, extending its record for the most launches in a single year by a private company. The launch’s big news however was that the company used a new first stage booster, only the second time in 2021 that it needed to do so (the first was in May). The first stage successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic, completing SpaceX’s 100th successful recovery.
The first such vertical landing had occurred in December 2015, and now six years later and after a hundred vertical landings, SpaceX remains the only orbital rocket entity in the world with such a capability. A very small handful of companies have performed tests with smaller scale prototypes, but that so much time has passed and no one has pushed forward to meet SpaceX’s challenge with even some full scale preliminary test flights does not reflect well on the innovative culture of the world’s rocket industry.
As for SpaceX’s yearly record, 31 launches actually exceeds the number of launches the entire U.S. rocket industry generally managed each year from 1970 through 2017. During much of that time the launch industry was run by NASA in a Soviet-style top-down system that stifled competition and innovation. Beginning in 2008, when SpaceX won its first contract with NASA, that system was abandoned by NASA, switching instead to capitalism and competition, whereby NASA was merely a customer buying its launches from the open market. The positive results from that change have been breath-taking, proving once again that freedom, competition, and private enterprise will win every single time over government programs and communist/socialist ideology.
The leaders in the 2021 launch race:
6 Europe (Arianespace)
5 Rocket Lab
The U.S. and China are now tied 48 to 48 in the national rankings. This was the 127th launch in 2021, tying it with 1976 for the second most successful year in rocketry in the history of space exploration. With five more announced launches on the schedule, there is a chance that this year could tie the record year, 132 in 1975.
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.
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.