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 successfully launches four astronauts to ISS

At launch
Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral.

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to launch four astronauts to ISS on its new Endurance capsule.

SpaceX now has three capsules in its manned fleet, Endeavour, Resilience, and Endurance. This was the company’s fifth manned launch, and its fourth for NASA. The crew will dock with ISS tomorrow in the early evening.

The company also successfully landed its first stage, which was also making its second flight.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

41 China
24 SpaceX
18 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman
4 Europe (Arianespace)

China now leads the U.S. 41 to 37 in the national rankings.


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  • Cotour

    Just watched the launch, very impressive.

    Q: What happens to the second stage?

  • sippin_bourbon

    2nd stage comes down, disposed in the atmo.

    Right now it is the only part of the launch system that is disposed.

    The only part of the vessel that is disposed of is the trunk, just before re-entry.

    The costs (in terms of weight) to develop a re-usable 2nd stage have not made it worth it.


  • Cotour


    The entire second stage burns up and does not reach the surface?

    Or, most of the second stage burns up and some of it falls into the ocean?

  • Sayomara

    Seems like forever since we have had a starlink launch. Seems so quite comparied to the start of year with starlink every two seeks and all the starship activity. That said glad everything went well tonight for Spacex they are showing they can make this more normal than shuttle ever did.

  • Cotour: The entire 2nd stage reaches orbit. I think (but am not certain) that SpaceX specifically fires the engine to bring it down in a planned manner, over the ocean. Even if not, the orbit would decay eventually.

    No matter however. I am also pretty certain that it is small enough that it will entirely break up and burn up in the atmosphere. No danger to hit anything on the ground.

  • wayne

    Cotour–here we go…..
    lots of easily understood factoids and animation

    What Happens to SpaceX Second Stage?

  • wayne: Ah yes, I forgot that some of the 2nd stage’s internal components can survive re-entry. The video you linked confirms that SpaceX avoids this issue by firing the engine to bring the stage down in a controlled manner.

  • “No danger to hit anything on the ground.”

    Dang. I bet the Chinese people would pay real money if their Government would steal that tech.

  • Jeff Wright

    It isn’t tech as it being the nature of the beast. Long March 5’s core is a lot like Stage-and-a-half-to-orbit Atlas. Atlas-Score minus the thrust ring made it to orbit with a tape recording of Ike in place of a heavy warhead. The R-7 core of light Sputnik One is an even closer analog in that the core followed the payload to orbit. Our shuttle had to shove ETs down. SLS could be a wet workshop as per Space Island Group. Falcon’s second stage is tiny in comparison and isn’t worth fooling with.

  • wayne

    on a related note, “what happened to the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters?”

    This is an extremely well done video….

    “Riding the Booster: Up & Down in 400 seconds”
    NASA 2012
    (go full-screen, 720p, and turn up the volume)

    totally random Question–
    Can the crew hear any of those metal-creaking noises, or is that drowned out by the rocket engine noise?

  • Cotour

    Thanks to all for the info.

    I would think that is getting kind of unacceptably crowed up there and the second stage remaining in orbit for any amount of time would only add to that confusion and threat.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Way tangential: one of the usually sharp commentators on the Crew-3 broadcast yesterday was responding to a question about the meaning of the term “HAC” – Heading Alignment Circle. He correctly identified it as the approach-to-landing pattern used by the Space Shuttle to transition from the reentry heading to the final approach heading. Then he went too far and added “… like all gliders.”

    Nope. As I understand it it is used by high-sink-rate military experimental type planes such as the X-15 and lifting bodies, but real sailplanes use a standard light plane approach of a downwind, base, and final approach leg. I have many hundreds of glider flights under my belt, and every one of them ended that way – even the handful that due to bad planning/luck ended in a farmer’s field!

    Needless to say, I could not address this in the online chat, but maybe someone on the NSF crew will see it here.

  • William

    I think low orbit is a very large area. My town has more cell phone towers than all the satellites in orbit around the whole planet. The idea of removing space junk is great but the risk is overstated.

  • Mike Borgelt

    “but real sailplanes use a standard light plane approach of a downwind, base, and final approach leg. I have many hundreds of glider flights under my belt, and every one of them ended that way – even the handful that due to bad planning/luck ended in a farmer’s field!”

    Better is the 180 degree turn from downwind to the short final approach. As used by the US Navy and Air force. This was written up in EAA Sport Aviation a couple of years ago.
    I’ve been doing that in our BD-4 for the last few years and it works well.

  • Edward

    William stated: “I think low orbit is a very large area. My town has more cell phone towers than all the satellites in orbit around the whole planet. The idea of removing space junk is great but the risk is overstated.

    It is not really overstated. There have already been collisions (yes, multiple) in low Earth orbit. Even more, if you count small items, such as the titanium paint fleck that struck a Space Shuttle window. As more and more defunct satellites (and small items) orbit the Earth, the risk increases.

    Don Kessler understood this in the 1970s:

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