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U.S. military adds Blue Origin to its point-to-point space cargo development program

Capitalism in space: The U.S. military on December 17th signed an agreement with Blue Origin to add it to its point-to-point space cargo development program.

The command last year signed similar agreements with SpaceX and with Exploration Architecture Corp. (XArc). Blue Origin is the third company to ink a CRADA [as these development contracts are called] for the rocket cargo program.

Under CRADAs, companies agree to share information about their products and capabilities but the government does not commit to buying anything. U.S. TRANSCOM’s analysis of industry data will inform the newly created “rocket cargo” program led by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Space Force. The Air Force in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 is seeking $47.9 million to conduct studies and rocket cargo demonstrations. [emphasis mine]

I highlight the total budget of this program to show that this is a very small government program. The cash it provides these three companies is nice, but it is chicken feed when compared with the total cost of development. It certainly will not result in a faster pace at Blue Origin in developing its New Glenn rocket, which is presently two years behind schedule with further delays almost certain because its BE-4 rocket engine is not yet ready for mass production.

Whether the program itself is a good thing, or merely another example of government crony capitalism, is open to question. The practicality of using either Starship or New Glenn for cargo transport remains very unproven, especially for New Glenn, which was not designed with such a purpose in mind and cannot land its upper stage on Earth as Starship can.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

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.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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