Tag Archives: freedom

SpaceX and NASA will reassess weather for launch in morning

Because of the 50-50 weather conditions for launching the first manned Dragon mission to ISS tomorrow at 3:22 pm (Eastern), managers at both SpaceX and NASA have decided to maintain the schedule but reassess whether they will proceed come morning.

Thus, it is possible they might scrub the launch attempt very early in the countdown, and instead focus on the Sunday, May 31st launch opportunity. We shall have to wait.

In the meantime the embed of the live stream will appear here at Behind the Black at around midnight (Eastern). If the launch proceeds, the feed begins officially at 11:00 am (Eastern) tomorrow.

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Explosion during test of 4th Starship prototype

Capitalism in space: SpaceX engineers experienced another explosion during testing of their fourth Starship prototype today, completely destroying the protoype.

They already have their fifth prototype almost complete, so I expect they will clean up the debris, analyze again what went wrong, and start testing again.

At a certain point however these explosions have got to end, or else the project will begin to be in trouble.

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More evidence masks are merely a symbolic gesture

A new study has found that both improvised and surgical masks are ineffective in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

They found that “neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients.” They also “found greater contamination on the outer than the inner mask surfaces,” suggesting that any contact with a mask worn for a long time will likely mean the mask increases the chance of spreading the virus.

Their conclusion?

[B]oth surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.

Granted the experiment only tested four individuals in a controlled situation, but what they found matches what many others have been saying. It also illustrates the uncertainty of the science. Considering that the World Health Organization (WHO) states now that healthy people should not wear masks, and that there are also health risks for those that do, it once again seems very inappropriate (I am using a very mild word here) for our leaders or anyone to now demand that we all wear them, all the time, in all situations, blindly.

If others wish to wear masks, all power to them. I however will not submit to something I consider irrational. And I suspect sadly that I am mostly alone in this, because I think that most who say they agree with me will still cooperate and put on a mask when told to do so. I will not. At the moment I am fighting with two doctors, who will not see me for regular doctors appointments unless I wear a mask. I have told them I will not, have cited the medical reasons why (I have asthma), and they so far have not bent.

If it means I no longer have any doctors to treat me, then fine. I would rather die than live in such a society. I was born free, I will die free. Or as Ronald Reagan once said at

I am no longer young. You might have suspected that. [Laughter] The house we hope to build is one that is not for my generation, but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you’re my age, you’ll be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom, we lived lives that were a statement, not an apology.

I intend to live my life as a statement, not an apology.

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The history of the U.S.’s giant off-road land trains

Link here. These massive and very impressive working trains designed as trucks that could travel across roadless terrain, in the Arctic, is quite fascinating. This paragraph about their designer and builder however illustrates the kind of nation that made the fast building of such things possible:

Born in 1888, Robert Gilmore LeTourneau was an inventor of heavy machinery. In WWII, 70 percent of the Allies’ earthmoving equipment was created by LeTourneau Technologies, Inc. Having very little formal education, LeTourneau began his working career as an ironmonger. By the time he died in 1969 he was tremendously wealthy and personally held nearly 300 patents. He is buried on the campus of the University he founded in his name, where his gravestone reads “MOVER OF MEN AND MOUNTAINS.” Just a little character development for you.

Our country can still such a place, where we are not afraid and allow anyone to do anything, if they have the courage and the brains and the commitment. It requires however that we be both free and brave. Wearing masks for symbolic reasons and out of fear is certainly not a path to such a nation.

Hat tip Tom Biggar.

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New Starship engine test; launch license issued

Capitalism in space: Yesterday SpaceX completed a new static fire engine test of its fourth Starship prototype while also obtaining a two-year launch license from the FAA for a future short up-and-down test hops

SpaceX briefly fired up the single Raptor engine of Starship SN4, the latest prototype of the company’s Mars-colonizing spaceship. The Raptor blazed for a few seconds while the SN4 remained tethered to the ground at SpaceX’s facilities near the South Texas village of Boca Chica. It was the fourth “static fire” test for the SN4, and the second with this particular Raptor engine. The previous static fire blazed a little hot, scorching the base of the spacecraft, but the flames seemed to behave themselves this time around.

Musk has said he wants to take the SN4 out for a spin soon, on an uncrewed test flight to a target altitude of about 500 feet (150 meters). With four static fires now in the books, SN4 seems poised to take that leap. But the prototype won’t get off the ground before Demo-2 does. “I have redirected SpaceX’s priorities to be very focused on the crew launch,” Musk told Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Irene Klotz recently. “As a rough guess, I think we’re a few weeks away from a hop.”

SpaceX has its paperwork in order to take Starship prototypes pretty high up, by the way. Today [now yesterday], the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation issued the company a two-year license to launch suborbital flights from the Boca Chica site.

Note that whatever caused the fire that occurred in the previous static fire test has apparently been identified and quickly resolved.

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Rocket Lab to resume launches in June

Capitalism in space: With the New Zealand government finally lifting some of the Wuhan panic restrictions it imposed on its population, Rocket Lab has announced that it will resume launches in June.

The company announced May 28 it has rescheduled an Electron launch for June 11 local time from its launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. That launch was previously scheduled for March 30 but postponed because of a lockdown imposed by the New Zealand government in response to the pandemic.

The launch, called “Don’t Stop Me Now” by the company, has the same set of payloads as what the company originally announced in March. That includes three unidentified payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office, the ANDESITE (Ad-hoc Network Demonstration for Extended Satellite-based Inquiry and other Team Endeavors) cubesat built by students at Boston University and whose launch was arranged by NASA, and M2 Pathfinder built by the University of New South Wales Canberra.

I suspect that, because the launch business is normally filled with delays that can extend to two months, Rocket Lab has weathered this situation better than many others.

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Weather for Saturday’s SpaceX launch is presently poor

The weather for Saturday’s SpaceX launch presently gives only a 40% chance of launch.

Forecasters from the 45th Weather Squadron have issued a slightly more pessimistic outlook for the next two Crew Dragon launch opportunities Saturday and Sunday.

There’s now a 60 percent probability of weather conditions at the launch site violating one of the criteria for liftoff for launch opportunities at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT) Saturday and at 3:00 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) Sunday, according to the weather team.

The worst part is that the weather doesn’t look good for either day.

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SpaceX raises $346 million more in investment capital

Capitalism in space: According to Elon Musk, SpaceX has raised an additional $346 million more in investment capital.

According to the very short article at the link, this brings the total raised during this latest fund-raising round to $567 million. This is puzzling, as in March SpaceX announced that it had raised $500 million in this round. If the company has raised an additional $346, the total should be higher.

Either way, this brings the total raised by the company to close to $2 billion, almost all of which is being dedicated to building Starship & Super Heavy. Compared to what NASA spends on SLS/Orion — about $3 billion per year with a total about $50 billion when its first manned mission occurs finally in 2024 — this is chicken feed. However, for a private company fueled by competition and good management (unlike NASA), it is likely more than enough to get the job done.

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SpaceX’s first manned Dragon launch scrubbed due to weather

UPDATE: They were forced to scrub at T-16:54 because of weather. They will try again in three days on May 30th, at 3:22 pm (Eastern). I will post the live stream here on Behind the Black late Friday night.

Original post:
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I have embedded below SpaceX’s live stream of the first manned Dragon mission, set to launch at 4:33 pm (Eastern). The stream begins at about 12:15 pm (Eastern). Feel free to watch as the day unfolds. Sadly, it is being managed by NASA, not SpaceX, and thus is filled with a lot of the agency’s fake hype.

I have also set it to remain at the top of the page until after the launch, or if it is scrubbed.

On a side note, NASA is now aiming for an August 30 launch of SpaceX’s next manned Dragon mission, the first official operational flight.

Below the fold I am also posting images captured, with some commentary.


» Read more

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Justice Dept recommends Trump veto of FISA bill

The Justice Department yesterday recommended that President Trump veto of the new reauthorization bill of the FISA court presently working its way through Congress.

Sadly, Justice’s reasons for this recommendations is that they reject House amendments to the bill by Democrats that would weaken its ability to spy on Americans.

The bill reauthorizes three surveillance programs and makes some changes to the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But the Senate, when it took up the bill earlier this month, added language to create new legal protections for some FISA warrant applications, a change that garnered pushback from the Justice Department.

[Assistant Attorney General Stephen] Boyd said on Wednesday that the Justice Department had offered “specific fixes to the most significant problems” stemming from the changes made by the Senate but signaled that they had been ignored by House lawmakers.

Instead, the House will vote on an additional amendment to the legislation as part of its debate on Wednesday that would tighten the limits on the FBI’s ability to access Americans’ web browsing history.

Boyd warned that the Justice Department believes the proposed change from the House would “weaken national security tools while doing nothing to address the abuses identified by the DOJ Inspector General.”

The good news here is that this recommendation, as odious as its goals are, will give Trump ammunition for vetoing the bill, which in the end will end this corrupt court. And that goal should be the goal of every freedom-loving American.

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SpaceX’s first Starship tourist customer accused of tax evasion

Capitalism in space: Yusaku Maezawa, the first person to buy a ticket to fly on SpaceX’s Starship around the Moon, has now been accused in the Japanese press to have evaded $4.6 million in taxes.

The reports, which first appeared in the Yomiuri newspaper, suggested that Mr Maezawa had failed to fully declare the personal use of a corporate jet owned by his asset management firm over a three-year period.

Japan’s national tax agency declined to comment.

Maezawa has vigorously denied the allegations on Twitter.

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Virgin Orbit provides update on LauncherOne failure

Capitalism in space: Virgin Orbit has posted a detailed update on the failure of its LauncherOne rocket on its first launch on May 25.

About 9 seconds after drop, something malfunctioned, causing the booster stage engine to extinguish, which in turn ended the mission. We cannot yet say conclusively what the malfunction was or what caused it, but we feel confident we have sufficient data to determine that as we continue through the rigorous investigation we’ve already begun. With the engine extinguished, the vehicle was no longer able to maintain controlled flight — but the rocket did not explode. It stayed within the predicted downrange corridors of our projections and our Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launch license as the vehicle fell to the ocean, posing no risk to public safety, no danger our aircrew or aircraft, and no significant environmental impact.

They note that the rocket’s release and engine ignition went as planned, which is for them positive news. They say they their next rocket is being prepared for launch, but do not say when.

I have embedded their video report of the flight below the fold. It does include video of the rocket’s release, ignition, and shut down, but cuts off at that point.
» Read more

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OneWeb requests FCC approval for 48,000 satellite constellation

Capitalism in space: Despite declaring bankruptcy in March, the satellite communications company OneWeb has applied for an FCC license to launch as many as 48,000 satellites in its planned constellation to provide global internet access.

This suggests the company fully expects to continue operations after exiting bankruptcy procedures.

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Weather improves for tomorrow’s manned Dragon launch

Capitalism in space: The weather outlook has brightened tomorrow, increasing the chances that the SpaceX’s manned Dragon capsule will launch as scheduled.

No major technical issues of any significance were under discussion Monday, but the weather could be a factor. Forecasters initially predicted a 60% chance of a weather-related launch rule violation, but Mike McAleenan, launch weather officer with the 45th Weather Squadron, said conditions appeared to be improving somewhat. “If I was to issue the forecast today, right now we would probably be down to 40% chance of violation,” he said. “We have a bit more rain to go here and maybe another round of afternoon thunderstorms tomorrow, but … it looks like much less (cloud) coverage. So we have some hope for launch day.”

But McAleenan’s forecast does not include downrange conditions in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon’s trajectory where Hurley and Behnken could be forced to ditch in the unlikely event of a catastrophic booster failure during the climb to space.

SpaceX managers will assess a complicated mix of weather models, high-altitude balloon data and actual wind, rain and wave data from multiple buoys along the ground track to determine whether conditions, on average, are acceptable for launch.

The launch is set for 4:33 pm. I will embed SpaceX’s live stream here on Behind the Black tomorrow earlier in the day, when things begin..

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In space exploration, freedom wins again

Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, with Falcon 9 in background
Dragon astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken
with their Falcon 9/Dragon in the background

This week we shall once again see a demonstration of the power of freedom, and it will not be a demonstration by protesters in Hong Kong or Michigan or New York against the petty dictators who rule them.

No, it will simply be the launch of an American rocket, owned by an American company, putting two Americans in space. While most reports of the manned Dragon launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will properly focus on the new engineering and the specific achievement — the first American manned space mission in almost a decade — few will recognize how it is freedom, that forgotten word, that more than anything made it possible.

And it has always been this way, since the very beginnings of the space age. As John Kennedy expounded in his 1961 speech committing the U.S. to a lunar landing, that commitment was to demonstrate that a free people and nation could do it better:
» Read more

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Russia says it will oppose Artemis Accords

My heart be still: Roscosmos head Dmitri Rogozin declared today that Russia “will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon.”

“It is illegal, it runs counter to international law,” Rogozin pointed out.

The Roscosmos CEO emphasized that Russia would begin the implementation of a lunar program in 2021 by launching the Luna-25 spacecraft to the Moon. Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna-26 spacecraft in 2024. After that, the Luna-27 lander will be sent to the Moon to dig up regolith and carry out research on the lunar surface.

Rogozin is doing the equivalent of a 2-year-old’s temper tantrum. Being a top-down authoritarian culture that likes to centralize power with those in charge, Russia doesn’t like Trump’s effort to regularize private enterprise and private property in space, including the administration’s new requirement that any international partner in its Artemis Moon program must agree to that effort.

Russia would rather we maintain the status quo as defined by the Outer Space Treaty, with no private property in space and everything controlled by UN bureaucrats and regulations, who are in turn controlled by the leaders from authoritarian places like Russia.

If Russia wants into Artemis, however, it looks like they will have to bend to the Trump accords. Or they will have to build their own independent space effort, competing with ours. Their problem is that their own program has been incredibly lame for the past twenty years, unable to get any new spacecraft or interplanetary mission off the ground.

Maybe the competition will help Russia, as it did in space in the 1960s. Or maybe they will simply help Biden get elected, and then all will be well! That brainless puppet will be glad to do the bidding of Russia and China, and will almost certainly dismantle Trump’s policies in favor of private enterprise.

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More good news on the Wuhan flu front

Two stories today suggest again that there is no reason to fear COVID-19, especially if you are healthy and young.

The first story suggests that social distancing, masks, and the incessant cleaning of surfaces are ridiculous over-reactions and likely unnecessary. Nor am I surprised. We have always had similar expectations from all other flu-like illnesses, and have never required these paranoid requirements in the past. It is time for them to stop.

The second story provides more evidence that the epidemic is dying, as predicted and like all similar flu-like epidemics.

The team has recruited 10,000 people to test the vaccine, some of whom will be given the vaccine and others a placebo. But as it is unethical to purposely infect people in the trial with COVID-19, participants will be asked to go about their normal routine in the expectation that some will be exposed to it naturally. However, that is unlikely to happen if the virus is not spreading, meaning that no conclusions can be drawn one way or the other about the vaccine’s efficacy.

Hill expects that fewer than 50 people in the test population will catch the virus, but if less than 20 test positive the results may be useless “It is a race, yes. But it’s not a race against the other guys,” he said. “It’s a race against the virus disappearing – and against time. We said earlier in the year that there was an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September. But at the moment, there’s a 50% chance that we get no result at all.

Let me repeat this: They have 10,000 volunteers, and expect fewer than 50 of those to get infected with the Wuhan flu. In other words, this seasonal epidemic is going away, as such things do. It might return in the fall, but expect that return to be smaller, and hopefully if some government officials get their brains out of their behinds and focus on protecting the sick elderly, it will have little impact.

In any case, the evidence continues to point to the end of the epidemic, and in the process the discovery that the virus is relatively harmless to almost everyone. People have got to relax and stop being so afraid. It is not the bogey-man the press and the politicians have claimed it to be.

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Court rules fossils belong to landowners

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that any fossils found on private land belong to exclusively to the landowners, and that no rights accrue to any owners of the land’s mineral rights.

The Montana Supreme Court this week ruled that fossils are not legally the same as minerals such as gold or copper. Therefore, Montana fossils, including a dramatic specimen of two dinosaurs buried together, belong to people who own the land where they are found, rather than to the owners of the minerals underneath that land.

The 4-3 decision upholds the way U.S. scientists have long approached questions of fossil ownership. It appears to defuse a potentially explosive 2018 ruling by the federal 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that fossils went to the owners of mineral rights.

The outcome is a win for scientists who had warned that tying fossils to mineral rights could make it harder to get permission to excavate and could throw into doubt who owns fossils already on display, says David Polly, an Indiana University paleontologist and past president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Because the earlier 2018 federal court decision was later appealed and the court then referred the case to Montana’s Supreme Court, this decision settles the dispute nationally as well.

That absurd 2018 9th Court of Appeals decision illustrates how insane that specific federal court had become, packed with many radical leftist and partisan Democratic judges. In the past three years however the balance of that court has been significantly changed, so expect fewer such crazy rulings.

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CDC confirms COVID-19 tiny death rate, comparable to flu

Are you enraged yet? The CDC has confirmed that the death rate for the Wuhan flu is probably less than 0.4%, slightly higher than the flu’s 0.1%, but when all factors are considered, including the data that shows it is almost completely harmless to everyone but the elderly who are chronically sick, the disease is essentially just another new flu epidemic, requiring no extreme measures other than acting to protect the vulnerable.

Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR [infection fatality rate] is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.

More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes.

There’s more. Read it all.

What infuriates me the most is that the early data (not the fake models) all pointed in this direction, quite clearly, as noted in detail in this March 17 post, just when panicked state governors were beginning to impose totalitarian rule by edict. Even then it was clear that lock downs made no sense, and would only worsen the situation.

I repeat: Any disease like this requires a rational aggressive and focused response. We can’t ignore it. People need to voluntarily self-quarantine if they feel sick, or if they have older and sick relatives living with them. We should also wash our hands regularly, and avoid unnecessary physical contact with many other individuals.

At the same time, we mustn’t waste our energies doing things that are unnecessary, foolish, or downright counter-productive, such as releasing entire prison populations into the general population.

We also should be outraged by politicians who are using this situation not to deal with it but to impose their pet totalitarian rule over the population, such as passing entirely irrelevant gun bans and shutting down businesses willy-nilly and imprisoning everyone in their homes.

These actions will do little to ease the epidemic. Instead, they might worsen the situation by causing panic (as they have apparently done). Panic is not what this situation warrants. Instead it needs a calm rational response, something that only civilized rational people can give it.

Are we that? Watching what is happening I must sadly say I have my doubts.

In retrospect, it appears if many of our leaders have any rationality, they apply it exclusively to creating schemes for increasing their power and ability to oppress everyone else. Serving the nation and its citizenry appears the last thing on their mind.

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SpaceX successfully completes static fire dress rehearsal of manned Dragon Falcon 9

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully completed its standard static fire dress rehearsal prior to launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that will place the first manned Dragon capsule, carrying two astronauts, into space on May 27th.

Today NASA also gave its final okay for the launch. It is now set to happen.

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The only opposition that will matter to today’s lock down fascism will be opposition expressed in the ballot box

In the past week or so there have been numerous stories in the press suggesting that Americans have finally lost patience with the unreasonable Wuhan flu lock downs that have been arbitrarily imposed in the past two months by elected officials, sometimes indefinitely, for no justifiably rational reasons.

In Michigan there were armed protests, and then barbers began publicly defying the lock down orders of their fascist governor.

In New Jersey a health club defied the order of that state’s fascist governor and reopened to cheers from its customers.

In Baltimore a pastor stood at the pulpit and ripped apart the shut down order by that city’s health department.

In Minnesota the Catholic church announced it was reopening for church services, in direct defiance of the orders of that state’s governor.

I could cite many other examples, across the country, in both conservative and liberal states.

Are these push backs necessary? Certainly. These fascist governors and mayors, most of whom have been Democrats, have imposed unreasonable and blatantly illegal arbitrary restrictions on the freedoms of Americans, which must be resisted at all costs.

Are these push backs real? Forgive me if I must sadly remain skeptical. For fifty years I have watched as politicians, mostly from the Democratic Party but with more than ample support from large numbers of Republican Party hacks, have slowly but steadily worked to erode the freedoms of Americans.
» Read more

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A call for India to exit the Moon Treaty

The new colonial movement: An op-ed in India today called for that nation to exit the anti-capitalist 1979 Moon Treaty, different than the 1967 Outer Space Treaty in that it specifically outlaws all private ownership in space and was thus only signed by a very small handful of nations.

India has signed but never ratified the Moon Treaty. The U.S., Russia, and China never did.

India must formally exit this agreement, says Dr Chaitanya Giri, a Gateway House Fellow of Space and Ocean Studies Programme, who was earlier affiliated to the Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institution for Science.

The problem with the Moon Agreement, Dr Giri told BusinessLine, lies in the Article 4.1, which says that “the exploration and use of the Moon shall be the province of all mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic and scientific development.”

This can be interpreted to mean that if you are a signatory to the agreement, you shall share the fruits of your efforts on the Moon with everybody, whereas if you are not a signatory you won’t have to do so.

The article also notes that, under Trump’s Artemis Accords and executive order allowing for private ownership of any resources extracted in space, India will not be able to partner with the U.S. as long as it remains a signatory to the 1979 Moon Treaty.

That there are now demands in India to leave the Moon Treaty so it can work with the U.S. under Trump’s Artemis Accords also means that those accords are working to convince nations to abandon the Outer Space Treaty’s restrictions on owning land and claiming sovereignty. And they are doing so very quickly.

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British company completes 1st rocket test in the UK in 50 years

Capitalism in space: A British private company has successfully completed the first static fire test of a rocket in Great Britain in a half century.

Skyrora effectively made the UK ready for launching rockets into space after a team successfully built a mobile launch complex and completed a full static fire test with the Skylark L rocket on it – in only five days. Skyrora’s combined achievement also signifies the first vertical static fire test of this magnitude in the UK since the Black Arrow Programme, 50 years ago. The Skylark L rocket could be ready to launch from a British spaceport as early as spring 2021 and the inaugural launch of the low Earth orbital (LEO) Skyrora XL rocket by 2023.

The Skylark L is intended as a suborbital rocket. The XL will the the first orbital rocket. The company’s goal here is to create a rocket with a very inexpensive mobile ground infrastructure, that needs only a concrete pad to launch. Several smallsat American companies have been working towards this goal. The Chinese, using military equipment, have apparently achieved it. They all now have competition from Great Britain.

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First Ariane 6 launch likely delayed to 2021

Because of delays caused by the Wuhan flu panic, the European Space Agency (ESA) and ArianeGroup now expect that the first launch of their new rocket, the Ariane 6, will likely be delayed from late in 2020 to 2021.

The loss of the flight’s payload is also a problem.

Finally, megaconstellation startup OneWeb had booked 30 small broadband satellites on the Ariane 6 maiden flight, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, putting the mission in question. Luinaud said if Arianespace can’t find another customer for the Ariane 6 maiden flight this year, it may wait until 2021 to find a payload and avoid flying the rocket empty.

Overall Ariane 6 has been having trouble getting customers. Though it is less expensive that the Ariane 5, it it is entirely expendable and thus remains much more expensive than SpaceX’s Falcon 9. And with the Russians slashing the price of their Russia Proton rocket satellite companies have ample other options. It is for this reason I do not expect Ariane 6 to stick around long. ESA will be quickly forced to replace it with something less expensive and probably reusable.

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Almost lost: The flag that SpaceX astronauts will claim on ISS

The American flag that flew on the first and last shuttle mission and was left on ISS for the next crew flown on an American spacecraft to claim apparently went missing during the decade since the last American shuttle flight, and took several weeks of searching in 2018 for astronauts to find it.

“We looked and looked and looked,” said Tingle. “I talked to my fellow astronauts that were on board the ISS and everybody had a little bit of a different memory on where it could be or where it might be. So we spent probably three or four weeks just kind of scouring in our spare time, trying to find it.”

They did find it, and now it awaits the arrival of the two-person crew of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, set to launch on May 27th, the first Americans to launch from American soil on an American rocket in an American spacecraft in almost a decade.

More important: This will be the first flight of any Americans on a private rocket and spacecraft, built and owned by a private commercial company instead of the government. For the capitalistic and free United States, it marks the end of a half century of a government-run Soviet-style space program and a return to capitalism and freedom.

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LauncherOne first launch set for May 24

Capitalism in space: Virgin Orbit has announced that it will attempt the first orbital launch of its LauncherOne rocket this coming Sunday, May 24.

The company is targeting Sunday (May 24) for its Launch Demo mission, with a backup opportunity on Monday (May 25). The four-hour window will open each day at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), Virgin Orbit representatives announced today (May 20).

Launch Demo will be a huge milestone for Virgin Orbit, which has been developing its air-launch system for five years. That system involves a modified Boeing 747 jet called Cosmic Girl and a 70-foot-long (21 meters) rocket known as LauncherOne, which is capable of delivering about 1,100 lbs. (500 kilograms) to a variety of destinations in low Earth orbit.

If the launch succeeds, than Virgin Orbit will stand ready to begin commercial launches later this year.

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Voters throw out all Democrats in city council in Virgina

A sign of things to come, at last? The voters in Staunton, Virginia, yesterday tossed from office three Democrat incumbent city council members, making that city council now all Republican.

All three had been on the council for years, since 08, 10, and 12, so these were not new faces. They had been well established, and are now gone,

This in a city that voted twice for Barack Obama, once for Hillary Clinton, and also for black-face-loving, gun-control loving Democratic Governor Ralph Northram. Moreover, the defeated Democrats actually got twice as many votes as during the last election, but were still soundly defeated by a much larger opposition.

In addition, another nearby city, Waynesboro, Republicans gained two seats on the city council, giving the Republicans a council majority.

I wonder what events recently might have raised the ire of the voters? Can anyone make a guess?

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Judge declares Oregon governor’s Wuhan flu edicts “null and void”; Overridden by state supreme court

UPDATE: Oregon’s state supreme court has blocked the local judge’s order and reinstated the lock downs.

Not surprisingly, the state’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, celebrated her new found fascist power:

“Following swift action by the Oregon Supreme Court, my emergency orders to protect the health and safety of Oregonians will remain in effect statewide while the court hears arguments in this lawsuit.”

She claims “the science is clear,” but that is the type of brainless claim made by every politician when they grab power.

Regardless, I am not surprised. Oregon wants its fascism. It is why they have allowed the Democrats to control the state.

The original post:
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An Oregon state judge has invalidated all of Governor Kate Brown’s lock down edicts, stating she had exceeded her authority under law.

Brown has exceeded her authority by restricting activities, including church services and businesses, for longer than the 28 days the governor is authorized under a state law related to public health emergencies, [the judge] Shirtcliff said.

The judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement each of the more than 10 executive orders the governor has issued since March 8.

Shirtcliff’s decision applies to the entire state. He ruled on the motions because the lawsuit challenging the duration of the governor’s legal authority was filed May 6 in Baker County Circuit Court. Elkhorn Baptist Church of Baker City is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed by Salem attorney Ray Hacke of the Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit that defends religious liberty.

Expect more such victories in court. Most of the worst abuses have been cases where governors have completely ignored the law, and ruled by edict, as if they had that power.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a gym reopened in defiance of the shut down imposed by that state’s fascist Democratic governor, Phil Murphy. The police arrived, discovered themselves surrounded by a crowd of defiant customers, and told the owners they were in violation, but then left without doing anything else.

We need more such defiance.

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