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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


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Will XCOR’s Lynx’s spaceplane be reborn as smallsat launcher taking off from California airport?

Capitalism in space: Wagner Star Industries, a startup that now owns the unfinished Lynx spaceplane that bankrupt XCOR had intended for suborbital tourists flights, has signed a agreement with Paso Robles Municipal Airport in California to launch from there.

Wagner’s plan is to reconfigure Lynx as an unmanned first stage that would launch smallsats into orbit. It would launch and land on a runway from Paso Robles.

Wagner Star is in the process of converting the first Lynx vehicle into a drone so it can begin tests, according to the company’s website. The work involves removing life-support systems that had been installed to support the pilot and passenger and installing equipment for remote controlled operation.

Quetzalcóatl would take off from a runway, release its payload in suborbital space, and then glide back to where it took off. The company said it would be able to launch satellites from any commercial airport runway for $5 million per flight. A suborbital flight without a satellite launch would cost $3 million.

A clever plan. I have doubts about the satellite launches, but using this plane to place drones into high altitude where they could then continue to fly for great distances will almost certainly appeal to the military.

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.


  • Cotour


    Need new blade design! Too damn loud! This thing has to be operating way over 110 decibels.

    I do however like the Surefly more traditional gas-powered generator system feeding the electric motors as the battery technology is better understood and nailed down.

    IMO the way to safety and certification for these new modes of transportation will be battery-based system with a light weight mini turbine powered generator backup / hybrid setup. (I would never buy a pure electric / battery powered auto)

    Joby appears to be the system that is ahead in this field:

    I like the overhead wing design, and the specially designed blades put out about 64 decibels during operation. These new systems if they are to be used in the manner as they are being proposed in the urban environment must be relatively quiet, safe and reliable.

    I await to see if the mini turbine generator back up hybrid system will be proposed and adapted to lock up the technology for the FAA and the business model.

  • Jeff Wright

    I took a look at the new Lynx:

    “Sanctuary…sanctuary…THE BELLS!”

    The designer is Semimodo-son of Quasimodo…brother of Paramodo.
    But stay away from that pervert- Bimodo!

  • john hare

    If the Lynx can launch an upper stage from Mach 3 at low dynamic pressure, mass ratio to orbit is on the order of 7-8 for kero/LOX. Under 5 for H2/O2. From Len Cormier a couple of decades back.

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