Tag Archives: freedom

Bezos sells another $1.8 billion in Amazon stock

Capitalism in space? Jeff Bezos last night sold just under a million shares of his Amazon stock, earning in cash an estimated $1.8 billion.

Unlike a similar sale of stock by Bezos last April, there is no statement from Bezos about what he intends to use the money for. Then Bezos made it clear that he intended to periodically sell his stock to raise money for Blue Origin and its various space ventures. Today’s sale was the third since he said this, with total earnings from all three sales totaling about $4 billion, and all are likely aimed at funding that space company.

I might have increasing concerns about Blue Origin because of what appears to be a stalled rollout of New Shepard and New Glenn, but with deep pockets such as this, it would be surprising if the company fails to achieve its goals.

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Suborbital rocket company has launch failure

Capitalism in space: Gilmour Space Technologies, one of the numerous new rocket companies aimed at capturing the emerging smallsat market, experienced a launch failure on July 29 just prior to lift-off of its suborbital rocket.

At T-7 seconds to launch, the test rocket suffered an anomaly that resulted in the premature end of the mission. Initial investigations show that a pressure regulator in the oxidiser tank had failed to maintain the required pressure, and this caused the upper half of the rocket to be ejected as helium escaped.

On the positive side, there were no explosions due to the safe nature of hybrid rocket engines, and no observable damage to the engine. (The white plume seen here is steam.) Moreover, despite failure to launch, the team did successfully test Gilmour Space’s mobile launch platform and mission control centre, which had journeyed over 1,800 km to the test site.

It appears the failure was from a piece of equipment provided by an outside contractor.

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Democrats fire six people because they are white

The racist party: In order to hire more minorities (despite 13 of 27 of the staff already being minorities), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week fired six staffers, merely because they were white.

As the article at the link correctly notes,

This firing, and that’s what it is, not a free resignation, sends a message to everyone, and especially to young people of any race who are interested in politics. If an organization is actually willing to fire you from your job just because you’re white, do you really want to be involved with it?

Would you even want to vote for it?

The only criteria Democratic politicians use these days to determine their policy and opinions is skin color and ethnicity. Either you agree with them, or you are a racist.

For ordinary Democrats, this bigotry should cause great pause. Do you want to be associated with such bigotry?

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LightSail-2 successfully raises its orbit using sunlight

Capitalism in space: By raising its orbit by the use of sunlight only, LightSail-2 has confirmed what an earlier Japanese solar sail Ikaros had demonstrated, that it is possible to use solar sails to travel in space.

Since unfurling the spacecraft’s silver solar sail last week, mission managers have been optimizing the way the spacecraft orients itself during solar sailing. After a few tweaks, LightSail 2 began raising its orbit around the Earth. In the past 4 days, the spacecraft has raised its orbital high point, or apogee, by about 2 kilometers. The perigee, or low point of its orbit, has dropped by a similar amount, which is consistent with pre-flight expectations for the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. The mission team has confirmed the apogee increase can only be attributed to solar sailing, meaning LightSail 2 has successfully completed its primary goal of demonstrating flight by light for CubeSats. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted text notes a secondary but possibly more important engineering achievement here. LightSail-2 was launched as a cubesat. It has now proven that such a cubesat can include a solar sail and use it for purposes of transportation.

Moreover, that this engineering test was funded entirely by private funds proves again that the government is not necessary for great things to be achieved.

They will continue to raise the spacecraft’s apogee for the next month, until the lowering of the perigee causes the spacecraft to get pulled out of orbit by the drag from the atmosphere. That second process will still take about a year.

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Oberlin College posts $36 million bond, appeal to go forward

Oberlin College today posted a $36 million bond to cover the jury award to Gibson’s Bakery, thus allowing the college’s appeal of that verdict to go forward.

The judgement is now stayed about three weeks, until August 19, 2019, during which time Oberlin must submit its appeal. If it does so the stay will be extended another two weeks for responses, with a decision on September 9.

At that point expect further appeals, no matter how the judge rules.

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School fires teacher for praising western civilization

They’re coming for you next: A California private school, covering elementary through high school grades and catering to Hollywood celebrities, fired one of its teachers in May for praising western civilization.

On the 5th of May, the American Freedom Alliance convened a conference on leftist radicalism. Before David Horowitz stepped up to the podium to discuss the threat of leftist extremism, Dr. Karen Siegemund, the president of the AFA, welcomed the attendees by speaking to our common values. “Each of us here believes in the unparalleled force for good that is Western Civilization, that is our heritage, whether we were born here or not,” she said.

After Dr. Siegemund and Horowitz’s remarks, a panel discussed radicalism in the school system.

The day after this event, Dr. Siegemund was informed by Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, the school where she had taught mathematics for four years and where she had studied as a child, that her contract would not be renewed because she had praised western civilization.

The conference, which had addressed leftist radicalism in educational institutions, had struck home.

“On Monday, I was informed that my teaching contract won’t be renewed because of my ‘widely publicized views,’” Dr. Siegemund said. “You know, I’d always known I was vulnerable – of course. We on the right all know how vulnerable we are. But when it happens – when you actually become a victim, a casualty of this Long March, of the Left’s silencing tactics, it’s truly breathtaking.” [emphasis mine]

The key here is that the modern cultural left is not interested in other points of view. Either you agree with them, or you are evil and must be squashed. Or as Orwell said, speaking of the socialist/communist attitude toward power in 1984:

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Orwell’s book was supposed to a warning to the future. Instead, for the left it has become an instruction manual. As spoken by those in power in Orwell’s book,

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten…The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.

The demonizing of western civilization and American history is all part of a comparable effort to make that knowledge inaccessible to future generations. And it appears that too many modern Americans are too cowardly to fight that effort.

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Want to get off gmail? A possible Behind the Black option

On July 3rd I put out a feeler to see if there was sufficient interest among my readers for providing a private email service through Behind the Black. As I wrote then:

I am exploring the possibility of offering email services through my server for those who want to get off of gmail and google. However, before such a service can be offered, we need to know the amount of interest there might be. The demand will effect the cost, which means I can’t even give you an idea of what we might charge.

Regardless, if you are interested in having “your.name@behindtheblack.com” as your email address, please say so in the comments. There will be no obligations, by you or me or my server, but the response however will help us decide if we can do it.

And if we can do it, and many people sign on, we will then be taking the proper free enterprise approach for combating the corrupt business practices of giants like Google. Our federal government might still act to break Google up, but I think it would be far better if the free market did the job instead.

About a dozen people expressed interest at that time. In discussing this with my server, we both agreed that this is too small a number for us to begin this service. However, we are also both quite willing to do this, if the initial number of subscribers was higher.

I am therefore posting this feeler out again. If you expressed a desire to sign up as a comment in the previous post, then there is no need to comment again. However, if you did not comment previously, and think this service will be what you want, then post a comment here saying so.

It would also help me to get an idea what you would be willing to pay per month for this service. For this information I request everyone comment, including those who commented earlier.

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Europe completes 1st rollout of Ariane 6 mobile launch gantry

The mobile launch gantry that Europe will use for its new Ariane 6 rocket successfully completed its first rollout tests last week.

This gantry is the equivalent of NASA’s VAB building. Within this gantry they will assemble Ariane 6 vertically, then roll the gantry back for launch.

Assembling a rocket vertically I think is more costly, but it also makes it possible for the rocket to launch payloads that must be installed in this manner. Thus, Ariane 6 will have this selling point over rockets like the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, which are assembled horizontally.

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Private lunar landing company backs out of NASA contract

Capitalism in space: The commercial lunar landing company, OrbitBeyond, has told NASA that it cannot fulfill its $97 million contract, only two months after that contract was announced.

NASA announced July 29 that OrbitBeyond informed the agency that “internal corporate challenges” will prevent it from carrying out a task order that NASA awarded the company May 31 as part of its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The company asked to be released from that contract, and NASA agreed.

NASA didn’t elaborate on what specific issues caused OrbitBeyond to scrap its contract with NASA, and the company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. At the May 31 event where NASA announced the contracts, Siba Padhi, chief executive of OrbitBeyond, said the company was still in the process of closing a round of funding. The company has not subsequently announced a funding round.

Considering its receipt of a $97 million NASA contract, it would be very puzzlingly for the company to be unable to obtain further investment capital. If anything, that contract should have encouraged funding. If the lack of funding is the cause of this termination then it also suggests the company had other problems.

This leaves NASA with two private lunar lander companies. I expect NASA will look to award the contract to a third company. The company Firefly and its team of Israeli Beresheet engineers comes immediately to mind.

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Japanese private smallsat rocket company launch failure

Capitlism in space: Interstellar Technologies, a Japanese private smallsat rocket company, experienced on July 27 its third suborbital launch failure in four attempts.

The vehicle only reached an altitude of 13 kilometers following the launch at 4:20 p.m., falling into the sea some 9 kilometers (about 5.5. miles) offshore from Taiki, Hokkaido, its test site, Interstellar Technologies said. The rocket is the same model as Momo-3, measuring about 10 meters long, 50 centimeters in diameter and weighing 1 ton.

After failed attempts in 2017 and 2018, the startup finally found success with its third launch in May, with the rocket reaching an altitude of around 113 km before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

The failure occurred when an onboard computer detected something wrong and shut the engine down.

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Starhopper has hopped

Capitalism in space: SpaceX last night successfully completed the first untethered flight of its Starship/Super Heavy prototype dubbed Starhopper.

This hop attempted and flew about 65 feet. They hope to do next flight, planned to be about ten times higher, in a week or two, according to a Musk tweet.

Below the fold is video of the hop. You can’t see much as the viewing angle is ground level, it is night, and the engine flames obscure things. Expect better footage from future hops.
» Read more

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Jim Radford – The Shores of Normandy

An evening pause: I know this is late for the anniversary of D-Day, but I think it actually expresses well the same determination that made it possible for Americans to go to the Moon. Those men at Normandy, as well as in Apollo, stood for freedom, to paraphrase John Kennedy. And they were willing to die to make sure their friends, families, and nation remained free.

What do you stand for?

Hat tip commodude.

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SpaceX launches used Dragon to ISS with used Falcon 9

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully used a Falcon 9 rocket to launch a Dragon freighter to ISS.

The Dragon is making its third flight to ISS. The first stage, which landed successfully, was making its second flight, and will likely be used on the next Dragon cargo mission.

Video of the launch and 1st stage landing is below the fold. The launch is at about 15 minutes. The first stage landing is one of the most spectacular yet.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

10 China
9 Russia
9 SpaceX
5 Europe (Arianespace)
4 India

The U.S. now leads China 15-10 in the national rankings.
» Read more

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Starhopper’s 1st test hop aborts

Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s first attempt to fly Starhopper untethered in a short vertical flight was aborted only a few seconds after engine ignition.

Video of the test is below the fold. The vehicle never leaves the ground, and there are flames visible near its top, something one should not see. Obviously this is a development program, so failures like this are to be expected. More significant is the speed in which the company is moving. It is only a week since their last StarHopper test, which also had issues. Rather than take years to move forward (like NASA), they are pushing forward aggressively.
» Read more

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Images confirm LightSail-2 deployment success

LightSail-2 sail deployed
Click for full resolution image.

Capitalism in space: The LightSail-2 engineering team has now confirmed, based on images from the cubesat, that its light sail has successfully deployed.

Flight controllers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California commanded the spacecraft to deploy its solar sails yesterday at about 11:47 PDT (18:47 UTC). Images captured during the deployment sequence and downloaded today show the 32-square-meter sail, which is about the size of a boxing ring, deploying as the spacecraft flew south of the continental United States.

Image caption: This image was taken during the LightSail 2 sail deployment sequence on 23 July 2019 at 11:48 PDT (18:48 UTC). Baja California and Mexico are visible in the background. LightSail 2’s dual 185-degree fisheye camera lenses can each capture more than half of the sail. This image has been de-distorted and color corrected.

To the right is a reduced version of this image. As they note, the sail is distorted because of the fisheye nature of the camera lens. Nonetheless, it looks like the sail is deployed, and will be able to do its job, testing how one maneuvers in space using only sunlight.

UPDATE: Rex Ridenoure from Ecliptic Enterprises emailed me to explain that the distortion is only seen in the image above, that the image at the link has been corrected for this (as noted in the caption above). If you compare the two, you will see that the Earth is round in the corrected image.

Since the sail is much closer to the lens, I remain unsure how much of what we see of its shape is real, or a function of the fisheye lens. Later thumbnails show the sail more flat and tightly stretched, suggesting that this image was taken during deployment.

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Northrop Grumman to build Gateway habitation module

The boondoggle never dies! NASA has decided it will give a sole source contract to Northrop Grumman to build the minimal habitation module of its Gateway lunar space station, based on that company’s Cygnus unmanned freighter.

NASA is also bypassing a traditional procurement process for the Minimal Habitation Module. Rather than requesting bids from industry, and then evaluating the responses, NASA plans to fast-track a contract with Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, an operating unit of Northrop Grumman formerly known as Orbital ATK.

The pressurized habitation compartment will be docked with the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element in a stable near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon. NASA announced in May that Maxar Technologies won a contract worth up to $375 million to build the Power and Propulsion Element, which will provide electricity and maneuvering capability for the Gateway station using high-power plasma thrusters, but does not include any pressurized section.

The Gateway is a mini-space station NASA plans to build in an orbit that swings as close as 2,000 miles from the moon about once per week. The Gateway will act as a stopover and safe haven for astronauts heading for the moon’s surface, NASA is designing the mini-station to accommodate myriad scientific experiments and engineering demonstrations required for more ambitious ventures deeper into the solar system, and eventually Mars.

The Trump administration wants to focus on a lunar landing by 2024, and so it forced NASA to reduce its Gateway boondoggle to the minimum necessary to make that lunar landing possible. This module, with the service module that Maxar is building, is that minimum Gateway.

And why do we even need this? Well, it appears that SLS and Orion and the not-yet-built or even designed lunar lander, by themselves, are not capable of getting astronauts to the Moon. A way station is somehow required.

Note also that the contract amount remains a secret, redacted from the NASA paperwork. Note also that NASA “still plans to add more elements to the Gateway, including contributions from international partners, after accomplishing the human landing on the moon.”

In other words, this is a typical Washington swamp buy-in, connived by the big space contractors and NASA to weasel this boondoggle into existence, even though the Trump administration is not interested. By keeping the cost secret at this point, they avoid some bad press and the possibility of political opposition. Their plan is to get the minimal Gateway funded and launched into space, and then demand more money to pay for the whole thing once the project exists.

This is what NASA does routinely, for all its projects. It lies about the initial cost, low balling it, so as to get the politicians to buy in. The result for the past two decades however is that NASA fails to build much of anything, while wasting gobs of taxpayer dollars on non-productive jobs here on Earth.

Do not be surprised if we see the same with Gateway. In fact, I would bet on it.

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LightSail-2 successfully deploys light sail

Capitalism in space: The LightSail-2 engineering team today successfully deployed its boxing ring-sized light sail from its cubesat.

All indications are that LightSail 2’s solar sail has deployed successfully. Flight controllers sent the deployment command at approximately 11:45 PDT (18:45 UTC). Telemetry showed the motor count increasing as expected, and the motor appeared to halt at the correct time. LightSail 2’s cameras also appeared to capture imagery as planned.

The mission team will now confirm successful deployment by downloading imagery during subsuquent ground station passes today.

Once checked out, they will begin tests to see how they can use sunlight to change the light sail’s orbit, literally sailing in space.

The wonders of freedom: This mission was privately paid for and built by the Planetary Society.

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Boris Johnson to be next British PM

Boris Johnson has won the Tory party election to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister.

In his victory speech, Mr Johnson promised he would “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”.

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: “We are going to energise the country. We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do. [emphasis mine]

Johnson has made it very clear that he intends to bluntly honor the will of the voters and be out of the European Union as quickly as possible. Do not expect him to spend any time negotiating a fake exit deal that tries to avoid that exit, as did his predecessor Theresa May.

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Christopher Columbus Kraft, 1924-2019

R.I.P. Christopher Columbus Kraft, the flight director for all the Mercury missions and later head of the Johnson Space Center during the 1960s march to the Moon, passed away today at the age of 95.

The techniques pioneered by Kraft and young flight directors who followed in his footsteps, men like Gene “failure is not an option” Kranz, the urbane Glynn Lunney and more, saved the Apollo 13 crew from the brink of disaster in the aftermath of an explosion on the way to the moon that severely damaged the spacecraft.

Once comparing his complex work as a flight director to a conductor’s, Kraft said, ‘The conductor can’t play all the instruments, he may not even be able to play any one of them,’” Bridenstine said. “‘But, he knows when the first violin should be playing, and he knows when the trumpets should be loud or soft, and when the drummer should be drumming. He mixes all this up and out comes music. That’s what we do here.’”

Kraft was part of the post-World War II can-do generation, a far cry from today’s NASA of schedule delays, bad management, engineering errors, and gigantic budget overruns. Kraft and his generation had “intergrity,” as astronaut Frank Borman once said. They had been given a difficult job and short deadline (the end of the decade). Rather than manipulate Congress and the public to give them more time and money so their jobs would be endlessly safe, they rolled up their sleeves and made it happen as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

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Off to Grand Canyon again

Diane heading down in 2016

Diane and I are now on our way north to do an overnight hike to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, hiking down tomorrow. We were unable to go together to the Canyon last year for a number of reasons, so this trip will be an especially nice treat. And since we live in Arizona, we have the advantage of being able to simply jump in the car and go. It would be a mistake not to do it.

The photo to the right was taken by me during our 2016 trip. Diane, the tiny blue speak near the bottom of the image, is hiking ahead of me on the South Kaibad trail, the traditional route down for those doing an overnight down and up trip. We shall do the same this weekend.

I will likely do some posting today, while I remain above the rim. I have also scheduled a bunch of posts for the next few days, so the website will not go dark.

Posted heading north from Tucson.

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CNN panel of Republican women back Trump unequivocally

Pushback: A CNN panel of Republican women, when asked about Trump’s tweets attacking the Democratic congresswomen who have been pushing for communist policies, backed Trump unequivocally.

Furthermore, when the CNN reporter kept trying to slander Trump by claiming his tweets were “racist”, these women quickly challenged that false and slanderous description.

“Isn’t that what the president does with some of his own comments? His own racist comments?” the CNN reporter wondered.

“He didn’t say anything about color,” O’Briant responded.

“We know the president is not racist, he loves people from Hispanics, and black people, all across the board,” said Cami Dean, another of the eight women.

Video of this panel is below the fold. Watch it all. The panelists take the CNN reporter to task for claiming what Trump said was racist, quickly pointing out both the reporter’s bias and ignorance.

And just in case you have been living in a cave and missed it, this is what Trump tweeted:

So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.

Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. [emphasis mine]

There is nothing in this statement that has anything to do with race. What Trump is criticizing is the anti-American, bigoted, and communist agendas of congresswomen Omar (D-Minnesota), Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Pressley (D-Massachusetts), and Tlaib (D-Michigan).

Granted, Trump is crude. He also is wrong to suggest all of these women came from elsewhere (only one did). Nonetheless, he is bluntly noting that these congresswomen have expressed nothing but hate and hostility to America, and should be called out on it (something that the Democratic Party seems unwilling to do).

The CNN panel shows that, for at least these women, the effort by the Democrats and their agents in the mainstream press to slander Trump is not working. They can read what both Trump and these Democrats have said, and recognize who the real racists in this battle are.
» Read more

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Starhopper static engine test engulfs vehicle in flames

Capitalism in space: A Starhopper static engine test yesterday testing the newly installed Raptor engine resulted in the vehicle being engulfed in flames.

While the test itself appeared to fire for its full duration, events relating to this test appeared to cause some issues with Hopper, later seen when a secondary fire rose up to engulf the test vehicle. This is understood to have been related to two small fires – one on the vehicle and one on the pad.

A discharge of methane – during the safing of the vehicle, which involved a fire hose being directed at the small fires – ignited and caused a fireball to rise from the aft of the vehicle.

However, the vehicle survived and photos show it is suffering from no obvious damage from external views. This was backed up by a successful detanking and power down overnight.

I have embedded a slow motion video of the test below the fold, with that secondary fire occurring at about 50 seconds in, at about the moment it appears a stream of water hits a smaller fire.

Their plans had been to follow this static test with a 20 meter vertical flight of Starhopper, unattached. When this will occur is now unclear.
» Read more

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Apollo 11 in real time

Link here. I should have posted this link earlier. As I post this the Saturn 5 has just launched.

Pick your moment. They will be showing the mission in real time over the next week.

Hat tip Steve Golson for prompting me.

Correction: If you go to the link you can either choose to watch from one minute before launch, or click on the “Now” button to see the status at this moment fifty years ago.

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SpaceX pinpoints cause of Dragon explosion during test

SpaceX today revealed that it has pinpointed the cause of the explosion that destroyed a Dragon manned capsule during an engine test in April.

The company believes that the problem originated with the Crew Dragon’s emergency abort system, which consists of a series of small thrusters embedded within the capsule. If all goes well during a mission, these tiny thrusters are never really meant to be used. But if there is some kind of failure during a future launch, the thrusters can ignite and carry the Crew Dragon safely away from a disintegrating rocket.

SpaceX says that a leaky valve caused the propellant needed for these thrusters to cross into another system — one of really high pressure. When this contamination occurred, the high forces slammed the liquid around, causing valuable components to fail and leading to the ultimate loss of the capsule.

Koenigsman said that this contamination definitely was not anticipated, though the kind of valve that leaked has been known to have some internal leakage problem. Ultimately, he acknowledged that, to some extent, this was a design issue. “It’s something that the components should not have done,” Koenigsman said. “But at the same time, we learned a very valuable lesson on something going forward, one that makes the Crew Dragon a safer vehicle.”
““it was a huge gift for us.” ”

SpaceX will replace all of these types of valves with another component known as a burst disk, which is supposed to be much more reliable, according to Koenigsman.

The company is still hoping to fly before the end of the year, but admits that this may not be possible. Right now they have a tentative launch date in November.

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Two new science papers strongly question theory of man-made global warming

The uncertainty of science: Two new science papers, from researchers in Finland and Japan respectively, both strongly question the theory that human activity and the increase of carbon dioxide are causing global warming.

From the Finnish paper’s [pdf] conclusion:

We have proven that the [climate]-models used in IPCC report AR5 cannot compute correctly the natural component included in the observed global temperature. The reason is that the models fail to derive the influences of low cloud cover fraction on the global temperature. A too small natural component results in a too large portion for the contribution of the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. That is why 6 J. KAUPPINEN AND P. MALMI IPCC represents the climate sensitivity more than one order of magnitude larger than our sensitivity 0.24°C. Because the anthropogenic portion in the increased CO2 is less than 10 %, we have practically no anthropogenic climate change. The low clouds control mainly the global temperature. [emphasis mine]

From the Japanese paper:

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has discussed the impact of cloud cover on climate in their evaluations, but this phenomenon has never been considered in climate predictions due to the insufficient physical understanding of it,” comments Professor Hyodo. “This study provides an opportunity to rethink the impact of clouds on climate. When galactic cosmic rays increase, so do low clouds, and when cosmic rays decrease clouds do as well, so climate warming may be caused by an opposite-umbrella effect. The umbrella effect caused by galactic cosmic rays is important when thinking about current global warming as well as the warm period of the medieval era.”

Essentially, both criticize the climate models for not considering changes in cloud cover and how those effect the global climate. The first paper looks back at the known climate data and compares it with known changes in cloud cover, and finds that cloud cover is a major factor in temperature changes.

The second paper looks at the causes for some of the changes in cloud cover, noting how the increase in galactic cosmic rays during the solar minimum can be tied to an increase in cloud cover, and thus colder temperatures.

Do these papers disprove man-made global warming caused by the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Of course not. They just demonstrate again that the science here is very unsettled, that there are many large gaps in our knowledge, and that it would be foolish now to abandon western civilization and replace it with socialist totalitarian rule in order to prevent a disaster that either might not be happening, or if it is we may have no power to control.

I want to also point out that this post talks about scientists challenging the theory of man-made global warming. Attention must be paid to their conclusions. As for the ignorant opinions of politicians on this subject, who cares?

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Satire website bluntly but correctly summarizes Democratic Party policy

That website is the Babylon Bee, and the satirical article that does this is headlined: “California Governor Clarifies That Free Healthcare Only Offered To Illegal Immigrants Who’ve Made It Safely Out Of The Womb.”

The article opens with this quote:

California is offering free healthcare to illegal immigrants, once again becoming the first state in the nation to enact a wacky proposal that sounds like the right’s satire of the left and not an actual policy.

While satire, the article then goes on to describe quite accurately, though with an over-the-top bluntness, actual policy decisions in California that clearly represent modern Democratic policy, whereby the party puts first priority on giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants, people who broke the law to enter the country but are not U.S. citizens, while telling legal U.S. citizens that they will have to wait.

At the same time, the Democratic Party has become so radicalized on the issue of abortion that it now supports killing anything that is in the womb, right up until birth, and has also even advocated murder just after birth, which means, as noted by this satirical but accurate article, that illegal immigrants only get treated with compassion by Democrats after they are born.

The insanity and lack of intelligent thought illustrated here by the modern politicians of the Democratic Party should make every normal and sane registered Democrat rethink their support for this party. It has very much lost its way, and is now traveling down a very dangerous and evil path. A house-cleaning is desperately needed, so that it can maybe right itself and provide a reasonable alternative to the Republican Party.

The responsibility for that house-cleaning lies with the voters, especially Democrats. The question is whether they will do it. I pray that they will. I unfortunately do not see much solid evidence yet of that happening.

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Virgin Orbit successfully completes rocket drop from 747

Capitalism in space: Virgin Orbit today successfully completed a drop of a dummy rocket from the fuselage of its 747.

Although the rocket was “fully loaded,” as the company put it, its engines never fired—nor were they meant to. Instead, the rocket fell freely to Earth so the company could see how it performed during its first few seconds of freefall. This was the last major test for Virgin Orbit’s air-launch system, which will launch rockets from a gutted jumbo jet, known as Cosmic Girl, to boost small satellites into orbit. It’s a complicated maneuver, but it could significantly reduce the costs of getting to space.

The article says they plan their first orbital test flight in the fall. Whether today’s success and that launch can get the company back on track after OneWeb cancelled the bulk of its contract remains to be seen. If they succeed in launching to orbit this year that will make them the only operational competitor to Rocket Lab in the smallsat market, with a system that might be cheaper.

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Battle over ownership of dinosaur fossils could upend paleontology research

A dispute over the land rights on a property where several significant and valuable dinosaur fossils have been discovered could completely change how future fossil digs are run.

The fight is between the ranchers who own the surface rights to the property in question, and the owners who possess the mineral rights. The latter are claiming, and have won in federal court, that fossils are minerals and thus belong to them.

That court decision however upturned more than a century of practice, where fossils were always considered part of the surface rights only.

The ruling sent shock waves through the paleontology world, threatening to upend the way fossil hunters have operated for decades.

It would make searching for fossils extremely complicated, said David Polly, a former president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, based in Bethesda, Maryland, because paleontologists would need to navigate both surface ownership—to get to the dig location—and mineral ownership of a parcel. Often, mineral rights are hard to find and frequently change hands between large corporations.

The article says this decision could threaten previous finds, but I think that is hyperbole. On issues like this the statue of limitations would apply, and would make almost all challenges on earlier fossil finds moot.

Nonetheless, the issue is still before the courts. The federal court has decided to vacate its decision and has instead let the case shift to the state supreme court in Montana, which is expected to take up the case later this year.

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