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.

Watching Starship #9’s flight

LabPadre's Starship 24/7 live feed, at 8:12 am (Central), January 28, 2021
LabPadre’s Starship 24/7 live feed, at 8:12 am (Central), January 28, 2021.
Click to go to it.

BUMPED AND UPDATED: It is now confirmed that the launch was scrubbed by the FAA’s refusal to approve the license. Though SpaceX seemed to go through a fueling and countdown procedure, they have since detanked the ship.

UPDATE: It appears from several live feeds that they have scrubbed today’s launch because of high winds, and will try again tomorrow. There are also rumors, not yet confirmed, that the launch was scrubbed because the FAA denied the launch license at the last minute.

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today will make an attempt to fly the ninth prototype of its Starship to a height of approximately 33,000 feet. As the company’s Starship website notes,

Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.

The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9’s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.

SpaceX will be providing a live stream, which I shall embed here at Behind the Black once it becomes available. In addition, there are these live streams available:

Without question the SpaceX live feed will provide the best visuals, but that will not go live until just before launch. Right now I think the Labpadre live feed is my preferred choice because it provides a quick checklist on the screen telling you the countdown status, which in turn gives you an idea how soon the launch might be. For example, when the sirens sound, it means they are approximately 10 minutes to launch.

Stay tuned. This flight, which will likely be as epic as the flight of prototype #8, could make today a fun day in the history of spaceflight.


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  • V-Man

    The live feeds are still going… and the tank farm is shrouded in mist (3:15PM EST).

  • V-Man: No mist on any live stream I list. Two feeds, Everyday Astronaut and NASASpaceFlight seem to think there is still a chance of a launch today, but it is being blocked not by winds by the FAA decision not to approve the launch.

  • David Eastman

    Feeds are back up, tank farm is in operation, and the rocket is venting. It appears they had some FAA permit issues, which got resolved before the window ended, so the test is back ON.

  • David Eastman: No, I don’t think things are that clear. Right now it appears they are depressurizing the ship’s tanks.

    I think they still have FAA issues, and simply decided to do a pressure and countdown rehearsal.

  • They still may launch today, but until I see SpaceX upload its own live feed, I will not expect it.

  • Jeff Wright

    I would like to see a payload-free Super-Heavy core launched into orbit to become a NSWR insertion stage-the Starship converted over to storable Zip propellants for years-long missions that could be automated. Those tanks would be concentric and onion-like to shield robotic payloads nestled safely within.

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