October 13, 2023 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay.


  • NASA’s inspector general agrees SLS is too costly and it will be impossible to reduce that cost
  • The report is available here [pdf]. Normally I’d highlight each new IG report that notes these plain facts, but I’ve grown bored with doing so. They (as well as I) have been saying the same thing time after time — going back to 2011 — but nothing ever changes. We keep pouring money into an SLS rocket that costs too much, can’t launch frequently, and in the end won’t accomplish much of anything, while other space projects of greater value (for much less) go by the wayside.

    And despite this report we shall continue to do so, because the federal government is broken utterly, from the White House down to the mail rooms in Congress and every agency in the executive branch. It has entirely abandoned its responsibilites to serve the American people. Instead its goal now is simply to funnel money to itself, even if that funnelling will bankrupt the country.

California creates segregated system that favors rescuing black children over whites

The Democratic Party's long held support of racial hate
Segregation: The Democratic Party’s long held #1 goal,
then and now.

“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” In a clear tribute to its long history of racism and bigotry, the Democratic Party that now controls California’s government from top to bottom has created a segregated system for rescuing missing children that favors blacks over everyone else.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 673 into law on Sunday, making California the first state to create an alert notification system — similar to an Amber Alert — to address the crisis of missing Black children and young women.

The law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will allow the California Highway Patrol to activate the alert upon request from local law enforcement when a Black youth goes missing in the area. The Ebony Alert will utilize electronic highway signs and encourage use of radio, TV, social media and other systems to spread information about the missing persons’ alert. The Ebony Alert will be used for missing Black people aged 12 to 25.
» Read more

Pushback: Naming the names of the leftist haters supporting Hamas in America

Nazi brown shirts destroying Jewish businesses on Kristallnacht
Nazi brown shirts destroying Jewish businesses on Kristallnacht

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Even though there really is little difference between the tactics used by Hamas in Israel now versus the tactics used by Antifa/BLM in the U.S. in 2020, the difference in the way the public is reacting is significant and must be noted.

The tactics themselves are straightforward. Set up a gang of thugs to commit violence and mayhem against anyone you disagree with. The Nazis used this approach with great success in its effort to demonize and destroy its enemies and the Jews in Germany. Antifa and BLM repeated that Nazi success in 2020, rioting, looting, and burning whole neighborhoods. The response from the public then was either downright fear and submissiveness, or an eager endorsement of these groups in the vague hope that saying nice things about them while sending them money might encourage them to go away.

In other words, just like in 1930s Germany, the general reaction was to kow-tow to these bullies, which only inspired them to commit more bullying. My blacklist column since 2020 illustrates that sad history.

With Hamas today however the response has been far far different. Not only is the public expressing outrage against Hamas’s brutality and genocidal behavior, it is also expressing anger and outrage against those who are trying to pander to it. The push back has been glorious to see.
» Read more

Real pushback: Student walkout in September forces school board to rescind queer bathroom policy

A little child shall lead them, by James Johnson
“A little child shall lead them,” painting by James L. Johnson.

Bring a gun to a knife fight: It appears that the complaints of parents don’t work with leftist Democratic Party and its minions in the education community, who see those parents as extremists and potential terrorists. Instead, it took a student walkout in September in Pennsylvania to finally force the Perkiomen Valley School District board to rescind its queer bathroom policy, which allowed cross-dressing boys to use the girls’ bathroom.

This is a followup of a September blacklist story. When the school board voted 4 to 3 to reject a policy that would prevent such behavior, defying the crowds of parents attending the school board meeting to demand this change, the students then organized a walk out on September 22, 2023, for reasons they themselves made clear:
» Read more

India’s government confirms its policy to transition to private enterprise in space

Capitalism in space: In a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku yesterday, one high official from India confirmed the Modi’s government’s new policy to shift is space industry from government-controlled to privately-run.

“A transition is happening in India. We are moving from ISRO [India’s space agency] being the sole player in the space sector to the private sector taking on a more meaningful role,” Pawan Goenka, chairman of the Indian National Space Promotion Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), said at a forum at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Oct. 5.

The Indian government approved the Indian Space Policy 2023 in April this year, which follows a number of developments in recent years. “What the Indian Space Policy did was take everything to do with space — satellite communication, remote sensing, space operations, transportation, navigation, everything — and put it into one comprehensive document only 12 pages long,” Goenka said. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words will sound very familiar to regular readers of this webpage. It describes what NASA has been doing for the past decade, and sums up precisely the recommendations put forth in my 2017 policy paper, Capitalism in Space.

IN-SPACe, the agency Goenka heads, has been tasked with fulfilling this task, and is thus in a direct turf war with ISRO, the space agency that has controlled all of India’s space effort for a half century. How that turf war will play out remains uncertain, though at present IN-SPACe and the Modi government appear to be winning.

It would likely help India’s private industry if the Modi government would make public that 12-page policy statement. So far it has either not released the text, or if it has it has made it impossible for me to find it.

Another lawsuit filed against SpaceX

They’re coming for you next: In what appears to be another example of lawfare by the left against Elon Musk, a female engineer has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, claiming it discriminated against her in pay.

The lawsuit is absurd, based on the suit itself.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by SpaceX engineer Ashley Foltz, who says she was hired at a salary of $92,000, even though men with similar or less experience were offered as much as $115,000. According to her LinkedIn, Ashley was hired in September 2022 as a propulsion engineer. She did not immediately respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

According to the complaint, Foltz learned about the salary discrepancies when a new California law went into effect requiring employers to include pay scale in their job postings. The salary range for her job was $95,000 to $115,000, so SpaceX gave her a raise — but only to the lowest end of the band.

In other words, Foltz didn’t negotiate a good salary when she was hired, and when the California law revealed how low it was, SpaceX immediately raised her salary to the bottom end of its pay scale, indicating also its opinion of her work. I suspect a full review of the salaries the company pays will reveal that women get a wide range of payment, depending on their worth. SpaceX certainly doesn’t discriminate against women, since its CEO is a woman and over the years women engineers have led many major projects.

The lawfare from the left against Elon Musk, one of the most successful Americans in decades, is becoming quite obvious. Besides this private suit, another group of environmentalists are suing SpaceX and the FAA to block future launches from Boca Chica. The Biden administration meanwhile is using numerous agencies to gang up on Musk: the Justice Department is suing it for not illegally hiring illegal immigrants, the FAA and Fish & Wildlife are blocking its Superheavy/Starship test launches, the EEOC is suing Tesla while Justice and the SEC investigate it, and the FTC and SEC are investigating Musk’s purchase of Twitter.

If you still think this full court press of government action is an accident, or entirely innocent, then you are naive beyond belief. Musk is now considered an opponent of the left, and so the left is going after him, and abusing the power of government to do it. It doesn’t care that Musk has produced tens of thousands of new jobs, revolutionized several major industries, and brought wealth to places that were previously poverty-stricken. To the left, the only thing that matters is its hold on power. Threaten that, and it will do whatever it can to destroy you, even if it means people will be starving in the street.

Texas medical college mandates ineffective COVID jab

Baylor College of Medicine: Where medicine is taught badly
Baylor College of Medicine: Where medicine
is intentionally taught badly

They’re coming for you next: In a demonstration that it almost certainly teaches its students bad medicine, the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has now reinstated its mandates requiring all students, faculty, and employees to get the utterly ineffective but potentially unhealthy COVID booster shots.

The statement issued by the college stated “Baylor faculty, staff, and students must get the COVID vaccine, or request a medical, religious, or personal exemption by Nov. 30.” In 2022-23 this college had more 1,600 students [pdf], so this mandate effects a lot of young people, who according to numerous recent studies (here, here, here, here, here, and here) are also at greater risk of getting myrocarditus from these boosters, resulting in serious heart damage and even death.

What makes this even worse is that the boosters are generally useless in preventing COVID, with other research suggesting strongly that if anything, the jab increases the chances you will get the virus.

Not that this matters, since anyone who has read any of the recent studies on the mutation of COVID over time will also know that all the recent strains are generally harmless, especially to the young, producing nothing more than a very mild cold. No one need do anything to avoid it. In fact, it might even be better to get one of these mild strains to strengthen your immune system.

That a medical college seems entirely unaware of this research data tells us that it must be teaching its medical students badly. » Read more

Satellite data shows this year’s ozone hole one of the biggest on record

The uncertainty of science: New data from Europe’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has determined that the ozone hole this year over the south pole was one of the biggest on record.

The hole, which is what scientists call an ‘ozone depleting area,’ reached a size of 26 million sq km on 16 September 2023. This is roughly three times the size of Brazil.

The size of the ozone hole fluctuates on a regular basis. From August to October, the ozone hole increases in size – reaching a maximum between mid-September and mid-October. When temperatures high up in the stratosphere start to rise in the southern hemisphere, the ozone depletion slows, the polar vortex weakens and finally breaks down, and by the end of December ozone levels return to normal.

Despite the claims of scientists that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were creating the hole, requiring their ban in refrigerators, air conditioning, and aerosol sprays in 1987, the arrival of the ozone hole each year is actually a normal seasonal occurance caused by the interaction of the Earth’s tilt and the impact of solar radiation on the upper atmosphere. More interaction, and oxygen molecules break-up into ozone. Less interaction, and there is less ozone.

Thus, despite the ban of these products now for almost forty years, the size of the ozone hole continues to fluctuate significantly from year to year, for reasons that are not yet understood entirely. Some scientists attribute this year’s large size to a volcanic eruption in 2022, but this is merely a theory, not yet proved.

It also must be noted that when the ban was imposed in 1987, we only had data of the ozone hole going back a decade or so. Environmentalists posited then that the hole hadn’t existed before CFCs, but they really hadn’t known that. It will likely take a century of research to really get a good idea of the hole’s normal behavior from year to year. We might find that there was no reason to ban CFCs, that the hole is a natural seasonal occurance like snow in winter and heat in summer.

Today’s blacklisted American: Man’s life ruined because a black man slandered him for profit

The North Face: promoting bigotry and discrimination worldwide
The North Face: eagerly promoting bigotry
and discrimination worldwide

They’re coming for you next: Mountain-climber John Talbot lost his job and his career as a projessional climber for the sports apparel company Outdoor Research because black mountain-climber, Manoah Ainuu, sponsored by a different sport gear company The North Face, used his Instagram account to slander and defame Talbot, accusing Talbot falsely of being a racist while threatening Ainuu with violence.

Worse, there was no evidence that Talbot ever did any such thing, a fact that Ainuu himself later admitted.

Talbot is now suing both Ainuu and North Face. You can read the lawsuit here [pdf], summarized as follows in the press release from the non-profit legal firm, America First Legal, that is representing Talbot.

As alleged in the complaint, Ainuu, a paid climber and brand ambassador for The North Face, used his large Instagram audience to communicate defamatory claims that Mr. Talbot had made racist comments to Ainuu and tried to assault him, all because Ainuu wanted to increase his fame and advance The North Face’s social justice mission, even if it meant maliciously destroying the reputation and career of Mr. Talbot, a man Ainuu had just met.

As further alleged, Ainuu communicated his defamatory claim repeatedly online and solicited others to republish them. Moreover, Ainuu repeatedly directed the defamatory statements to Mr. Talbot’s employer, a competitor of The North Face – actions which North Face’s Global Senior Athlete Coordinator endorsed.

Talbot alleges that as a result of Ainuu’s actions, done with the approval and for the benefit of The North Face, Mr. Talbot was fired from his job, even after Ainuu later admitted to Mr. Talbot’s employer that he did not say anything racist or offensive. Meanwhile, Ainuu has continued to operate as a paid climber and brand ambassador for The North Face.

Talbot remains unemployed. He is suing Ainuu and North Face for damages not less than $75,000, plus punitive damages and attorney’s costs.

It is important to note that this slanderous behavior by Ainuu is apparently not unique, and in fact has been his modus operandi for years, according to people who know him personally.
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Anti-religion group insists college football coaches have no 1st amendment rights

Freedom from Religion Foundation: hostile to freedom

They’re coming for you next: To get an idea the level of intolerance that now pervades America, one need only review the effort of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) to deny all first amendment religious rights to anyone who happens to work for a public university or institution.

Repeatedly FFRF takes legal action to gag any religious expression by public employees, regardless of whether they do it at work or on their own personal time. In the past, there might have been some valid arguments or situations where it was inappropriate for a public employee to push his or her religious beliefs, but nowadays organizations like FFRF define any religious activity by such employees, at any time, to be illegal and a violation of the so-called “separation of church and state” claimed by them to be the purpose behind the first amendment, when its real purpose has always been to make sure all citizens will be free to express their opinions and personal religion without government intervention.

In January, FFRF attempted to silence Deon Sanders, the football coach at the University of Colorado, because he repeatedly expressed his Christian faith in public, and asked his players to participate. According to its January letter to the University of Colorado [pdf], the University must gag Sanders.
» Read more

The Netherlands says it will sign Artemis Accords

According to a press release from the government of the Netherlands yesterday, it plans to sign the Artemis Accords, becoming the thirtieth nation to join the American alliance to explore and settle the solar system.

The full list of signatories to the Artemis Accords is now as follows: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the Ukraine, and the United States.

Increasingly the entire western world is signing on, leaving China, Russia, and their few communist allies isolated on the other side.

Though this sounds good, we must remember that the west no longer stands as firmly for freedom and individual rights as it did during the Cold War. Instead, we increasingly see two alliances that are both more interested in promoting the power of the people who run each, rather than furthering the rights and dreams of their citizens. As I concluded in Conscious Choice:

It is therefore likely that the first few centuries of colonization throughout the solar system will not proceed peacefully or justly, as wished for by the good intentions of the Outer Space Treaty. Instead, the initial exploration will be a brutal legal nightmare for all involved.

Governments will scramble to grab as much as they can. And for private enterprise to succeed in space, the treaty’s restrictions on property rights will force those operations, very expensive, time consuming and extremely risky, to focus on maximizing profits so as to at least minimize the legal risks. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens will have few legal rights, because the rights citizens enjoy on Earth will not exist legally for them.

We are certainly going to explore and settle the solar system in the coming centuries. It is also likely that the citizens living there will have a terrible battle to obtain the same rights we on Earth have since the Enlightenment taken for granted.

FAA issues new revised regulations for private commercial manned space

The FAA on September 28, 2023 issued new revised safety regulations for the emerging private commercial manned space industry, updating the regulations first put forth in 2014.

The recommendations, which are the first since 2014, cover the gamut across design, manufacturing, and operations, and are based on lessons learned during the NASA Commercial Crew program, as well as recent commercial space fights, the FAA said Friday. “AST [the FAA office that handles commercial space] is issuing Version 2 of this document because significant progress has been made in the commercial human space flight industry since 2014, the year Version 1 was issued.”

These new recommendations were worked out by a committee that included many of the private companies that now fly space passengers, such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and Boeing. Thus, the changes likely make some sense.

At the same time, it seems the effort to regulate has accelerated since Joe Biden became president. Under Trump there was a concerted effort to limit the impact of new regulations on this new space industry. Under Biden, it appears new regulations arrive almost weekly, and as a result there appears to be a significant slow down in development by new space companies.

FCC fines Dish for failing to put a geosynchronous satellite in its proper graveyard orbit

The FCC on October 2, 2023 announced it is fining Dish Network $150K for failing to raise the orbit of one of its dying geosynchronous satellites so that it was in a proper graveyard orbit and out of the way.

The settlement includes an admission of liability from Dish for leaving EchoStar-7 at 122 kilometers above its operational geostationary arc, less than halfway to where the satellite broadcaster had agreed. EchoStar-7 could pose orbital debris concerns at this lower altitude, the FCC warned.

The regulator said it approved a plan from Dish in 2012 to move the satellite at the end of its mission 300 kilometers above geostationary orbit, which is about 35,786 kilometers above the Earth. Dish had estimated it would need to start moving the satellite in May 2022 to ensure it had enough fuel for the trip after two decades in orbit — but just three months ahead of the planned move the company found insufficient propellant remaining.

It is routine for satellite companies to raise the orbits of their geosynchonous satellites when their lifespan is over in order to make room for future satellites. This higher orbit, long dubbed a graveyard orbit, is presently filled with many past satellites no longer in use (though the refueling and reusing of some is now taking place).

What makes this story different is the fine. The FCC has claimed it has the right to regulate the de-orbiting plans for all satellites, even though its statutory authority does not include that right. This fine is the first since the agency made that claim. That Dish settled rather than fight was likely a decision by managment to choose the lesser evil. Even though the courts would likely cancel the fine, the fight would cost as much as the fine, and there is a chance Dish would lose. As the saying goes, better to pay the two dollars than end up in jail.

As a result, this government agency has now established a precedent whereby it can regulate and even fine private companies for not doing what it dictates when it comes to decommissioning satellites, even though no law was ever passed giving it that power. And the FCC agrees.

“This is a breakthrough settlement,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal said in a statement, “making very clear the FCC has strong enforcement authority and capability to enforce its vitally important space debris rules.”

The unelected administrative state continues its unstoppable growth in power.

Pushback: Gestapo police chief who raided Kansas newspaper in August suspended

Police Chief Gideon Cody, proud to emulate Nazi tactics
Police Chief Gideon Cody, proud to emulate
Nazi tactics

They’re coming for you next: For his part of a Gestapo-like raid in August of the town’s newspaper, the police chief of the town of Marion in Kansas, Gideon Cody, was suspended from his job on September 30, 2023 by the town’s mayor, Dave Mayfield.

Cody’s suspension is a reversal for the mayor, who previously said he would wait for results from a state police investigation before taking action. Vice-Mayor Ruth Herbel, whose home was also raided Aug. 11, praised Cody’s suspension as “the best thing that can happen to Marion right now” as the central Kansas town of about 1,900 people struggles to move forward under the national spotlight.

At the moment is not clear whether Cody’s suspension is with or without pay.

This is a followup on a previous blacklist column, posted in August when that raid occurred. The raid, which not only included the newspaper’s offices but the homes the town’s vice mayor, the newspaper’s 98-year-old owner, Joan Meyer (resulting in her death the next day from a heart attack), and one reporter.

As noted then, the raid was uncalled for on numerous levels. » Read more

Stopgap budget bill includes three-month extension of regulatory “learning-period”

The stopgap 45-day continuing resolution passed by Congress on September 30, 2023 also included a three-month extension of regulatory “learning-period” first established in 2004 and extended several times since then.

Among the provisions in that FAA reauthorization was a three-month extension of the existing restrictions on the FAA’s ability to regulate safety for commercial spaceflight participants. That restriction, often called a “learning period” by the industry, was set to expire Oct. 1 but now runs until Jan. 1.

It must be noted that this so-called limitation on FAA regulation of commercial spaceflight really does not exist any longer, no matter what law Congress passes. The administrative state really runs the show now, and both the FAA and Fish & Wildlife have decided heavy regulations are required, and are imposing such controls over SpaceX’s Superheavy/Starshp test program, while the FAA by itself is imposing strict regulation on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spacecraft. The result is a slowdown in launches for both, extending months to a year.

It also appears that this heavy regulation is squelching launches of new rockets. Last year four new rocket startups attempted new launches (Astra, ABL, Firefly, Relativity), some making multiple attempts. This year, such test flights have essentially ceased, with only Firefly completing one launch for the military. Worse, two of those companies (Astra and Relativity) have abandoned their rockets entirely, claiming they are building new bigger versions, but one must now wonder.

The long term historical significance of these facts extends far beyond the space industry. Increasingly the unelected bureaucracy in Washington is taking on powers it is not supposed to have, while Congress (which is delegated those powers) increasingly is irrelevant. The shift in power signals a major reshaping of American governance, in a direction that is not good for freedom or the fundamental concepts that established the country and made it a success.

Today’s blacklisted American: Coach fired by Vermont school for simply expressing some facts during a civil conversation

Vermont: Where you are only allowed to say things that support the queer agenda
Vermont: Where the only speech allowed must
support the queer agenda

They’re coming for you next: Despite founding the snowboarding program at Woodstock Union High School in Vermont in 2011 and heading it for its entire history, David Bloch was immediately fired without due process by his school the day after he had a very civil private conversation with his students about males claiming to be female and competing against women.

This is what he did, according to his non-profit legal firm, the Alliance Defending Freedom:

In February [2023], Bloch and his team were waiting in the lodge for a competition to start. That day, Bloch’s team was set to compete against a team that had a male snowboarder who identifies as a female and competes against females. During downtime in the lodge, Bloch overheard a conversation between two of his athletes about that male competing against females. Bloch joined the conversation to comment that people express themselves differently and that there can be masculine women and feminine men. He also affirmed that as a matter of biology, males and females have different DNA, which causes males to develop differently from females and have different physical characteristics, and that those biological differences give males an advantage in athletic competitions.

The conversation was respectful among all parties and lasted no more than three minutes. It took place entirely outside the presence of the male snowboarder who identifies as female, and Bloch’s team and the other team went on to compete without incident. After the competition, the two teams and their coaches, including Bloch, shared a bus home.

The very next day the superintendent of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union, Sherry Sousa, called Bloch into her office to tell him he was fired, even though the investigation against him was incomplete.
» Read more

California school district blacklists Christian club from elementary school

Hayward Unified School District: hostile to religion

They’re coming for you next: Despite allowing the Good News Clubs of the Child Evangelism Fellowship to meet in its Fairview Elementary School for years prior to the COVID lockdowns, the Hayward Unified School District has since blocked further meetings with no explanation, even as it has allowed many other similar but secular clubs to return.

As a result, the non-profit legal firm Liberty Council has sent a demand letter [pdf] to Hayward, threatening it with legal action if it does not immediately allow the Good News Clubs meeting space. As the letter notes,

California law and District policies do not permit the District to deny the use of facilities to
the GNC [Good News Club], particularly where such are made available to Scouts and GOTR [Girls on the Run]. District practice has been to make facilities freely available to these and other groups similarly situated to the GNC, immediately after school. Moreover, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to the States (and the District) by the Fourteenth Amendment, also prohibits discriminatory denials of facilities use based on unbridled administrator discretion, or based upon religious viewpoint.

» Read more

SpaceX’s military version of Starlink wins $70 million Space Force contract

Capitalism in space: The Space Force yesterday awarded SpaceX a $70 million contract to provide it communications and broadband capabilities though the military version of Starlink, dubbed Starshield.

A Space Force spokesperson confirmed that SpaceX on Sept. 1 was awarded a one-year contract for Starshield with a maximum value of $70 million. The award came alongside 18 other companies through a program run by the Space Force’s commercial satellite communications office.

“The SpaceX contract provides for Starshield end-to-end service (via the Starlink constellation), user terminals, ancillary equipment, network management and other related services,” Space Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNBC.

Though this contract is for satellite services, it will increase SpaceX’s need to launch and complete its Starlink constellation. Though it has successfully launched a lot of satellites using the Falcon 9 rocket, it has always said it needs Starship/Superheavy to properly build and maintain the constellation.

Thus, NASA is no longer the only government agency with a strong motive to get Starship/Superheavy launched. Expect both NASA and the Pentagon to apply pressure on the White House to ease up on SpaceX. Expect that pressure to have little influence, unless the public joins in loudly.

More than a year after the New Shepard accident, the FAA finally closes its investigation

It appears that Elon Musk and SpaceX is not the only space company being stymied by the new heavy-handed regulation coming from the federal bureaucracy since Joe Biden took power. In a statement issued yesterday, the FAA announced that is had finally closed its own investigation into the New Shepard accident that occurred on September 12, 2022, more than a year after it occurred. More significantly, the FAA also said that despite completing its investigation, it is still denying Blue Origin a launch license to resume suborbital flights.

The FAA required Blue Origin implement 21 corrective actions to prevent mishap reoccurrence, including redesign of engine and nozzle components to improve structural performance during operation as well as organizational changes. … The closure of the mishap investigation does not signal an immediate resumption of New Shepard launches. Blue Origin must implement all corrective actions that impact public safety and receive a license modification from the FAA that addresses all safety and other applicable regulatory requirements prior to the next New Shepard launch.

It once again must be stated that there is no one at the FAA truly qualified to make such recommendations. These are paper-pushers, even if they have some engineering background. The FAA must rely on Blue Origin’s own engineers to determine these issues, as well figure out what must be done to fix them.

While Blue Origin’s own corporate culture — terribly slow at accomplishing anything — is certainly at major factor in these delays, it appears the FAA has not been helping. Blue Origin had announced the completion of its own investigation in March, six months ago, with the same conclusions as the FAA investigation completed now. Why did it take the FAA six more months to close its own investigation?

Moreover, the FAA’s statement makes it clear that Blue Origin has not yet satisfied the government’s demands, even though the investigation is closed. For Blue Origin to have still not implemented the corrections is to be expected, considering its slow methods of operation, but this statement — similar to the statement issued in connection with closing its investigation of the SpaceX’s Superheavy/Starship test flight — suggests a new and unprecedented policy at the FAA, treating all space-related incidents as if the rockets and spacecraft are no different than airplanes. First it will take its time issuing its own investigation, then it will take its time approving the corrections any company implements, just to make sure all the “i”s are dotted and the “t”‘s are crossed.

It is also possible that the FAA has been ordered to implement this new heavy-handed policy by higher ups in the White House on all companies, in order to hide the political motivations that have been targeting SpaceX and Elon Musk.

Regardless, this new strict regulation likely means we should expect a serious slowdown in the rebirth of commercial space. The renaissance of achievement by private enterprise in the past decade in space could be ending.

Today’s blacklisted American: Hollywood’s new racist discrimination employment policies which blacklist whites

Hollywood: eager to discriminate based on race

They’re coming for you next: According to a lawsuit filled by the non-profit legal firm First Liberty on behalf of James Harker, a white film electrician, the film industry has set up a racially segregated apprentice program that specifically excludes whites and is designed only for minorities.

When Harker complained about the bigoted nature of this program, he was then blacklisted, and has no longer been able to get any freelance jobs, despite 27 years of experience in the industry.

You can read the lawsuit here [pdf]. The program itself is called “Double the Line” (DTL). Its purpose is to force film companies to hire one minority to match every crew person it hires normally. That minority will be paid a full if not higher salary, regardless of his or her experience or training, and will later receive favored treatment in hiring, in order “to push forward a demographic shift,” as noted on the Equity and Inclusion website of the Association of Independent Producers (AICP), one of the defendents in this case.

In other words, the program specifically favors minorities in hiring and training, and specifically excludes whites because of their race.

The lawsuit was triggered when Harker discovered this program on a job. » Read more

Iran launches spy satellite

Iranian officials today confirmed the successful launch of its Qased rocket, placing a classifed Noor spy satellite into orbit.

The Space Force confirmed this announcement, tracking two objects (one likely the satellite and the other the upper stage) in a 442 by 456 kilometer orbit with a 60.0 degree inclination. That steep inclination will allow the satellite to cross over two thirds of the Earth’s surface.

This was Iran’s first launch in 2023, and third launch of this type spy satellite and rocket since 2020. The leaders in the 2023 launch race remain the same:

68 SpaceX
44 China
13 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
7 India

Small group of astronomers call for renaming the Magellanic Clouds, accusing Magellan of racism

They’re coming for you next: A new group of about fifty astronomers are now demanding that the Magellanic Clouds in the southern hemisphere be renamed because they don’t like it that Magellan was both a man of his time and also a white European explorer.

Magellan’s name is not fitting, astronomer Mia de los Reyes and colleagues argue. The leader of the first expedition to successfully circle the globe, Magellan enslaved and killed Indigenous people encountered on the voyage, which set out from Spain in 1519.

“Because we’re naming things in the night sky, which belongs to everyone, we think that it’s important to have names that reflect all of humanity,” says de los Reyes, of Amherst College in Massachusetts. She calls for the name change in an opinion piece published September 12 in Physics. Magellan’s voyage helped pave the way for Spanish colonialism in South America, Guam and the Philippines, says de los Reyes, who is Filipino American. “Many people see Magellan as a villain in the Philippines.”

No matter that Magellan was a great explorer who sacrificed his life to finally prove without doubt that the Earth was a sphere. No matter that he was the first person to document the existence of the Magellanic Clouds, which is why they are named for him. He was white and a European, and thus his place in history must be cancelled forever.

It also should not matter that the claims against Magellan are partly true, though magnified greatly into a slander by the use of Marxist terms. His prime mission was one of exploration, and the natives he kidnapped were taken not for purposes of slavery but to provide further documentation of what he had discovered.

No human being is perfect, and if we accept these demands to measure the past by these perfect standards we will have to cancel all history forever.

Which by the way is the real point. These radicals aren’t really interested in honoring the right people and taking honor away from the wrong people. What they want to do is to discredit all past Western history, and replace it with a Marxist fantasy that makes believe the achievements of European and Western Civilization never happened.

Giant Magellan Telescope begins fabricating its seventh mirror

The fabrication of the seventh and last mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has begun, with its completion and installation expected before the end of the decade.

In the project’s latest development, the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at another founding project partner, the University of Arizona, closed the lid on nearly 20 tons of the purest optical glass inside a one-of-a-kind oven housed beneath the stands of the university’s football stadium. The spinning oven will heat the glass to 1,165 degrees Celsius, so that as it melts, it is forced outward to form the mirror’s curved paraboloid surface. Measuring 8.4-meters in diameter—about two stories tall when standing on edge—the mirror will cool over the next three months before moving into the polishing stage.

Once assembled, all seven mirrors will work in concert as one monolithic 25.4-meter mirror—a diameter equal to the length of a full-grown blue whale—resulting in up to 200 times the sensitivity and four times the image resolution of today’s most advanced space telescopes.

A decade ago it was expected that this telescope in Chile would follow the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), while also working in parallel with it, with TMT covering the northern hemisphere and GMT covering the southern hemisphere. Now GMT is likely to forever work alone, as TMT remains blocked in Hawaii by the government and anti-western, anti-white protesters, and will likely never be built.

Pushback: Federal court rules against ban of Christian student group by San Jose Unified School District

San Jose Unified School District:
San Jose Unified School District: Where Satan
worshipers are welcomed and Christians banned.

They’re coming for you next: On September 13, 2023 the Federal Ninth Circuit Court overturned a ban of the student group, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), by San Jose Unified School District, stating that the district cannot allow some groups it agrees with to meet on campus but ban religious groups it dislikes.

The history:

In April 2019, controversy erupted at the San Jose Unified School District’s Pioneer High School in California over a Fellowship of Christian Athletes requirement that student leaders comply with the group’s Statement of Faith and its Sexual Purity Statement. The former requires student leaders of the group to hew to the tenets of traditional Christian theology and the belief that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman,” while the latter affirms that “the appropriate place for sexual expression is in the context of a marriage relationship.” After a teacher complained about FCA’s faith requirements to the school principal and later presented his concerns to a school leadership “Climate Committee” composed of several school department chairs and administrators, the school revoked FCA’s official recognition as a school student club.

For the 2019-20 school year, FCA applied for recognition again and, predictably, was denied. Yet as the Ninth Circuit notes, the Satanic Temple Club, which even the complaining teacher believed was formed to mock FCA, was approved despite having its own set of non-religious “tenets” similar to FCA’s faith requirements.

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Pushback: Pennsylvania HS students stage walk-out protesting rule allowing boys inside girls’ bathrooms

A little child shall lead them, by James Johnson
“A little child shall lead them,” painting by James L. Johnson.

Bring a gun to a knife fight: On September 22, 2023 hundreds of students attending high school in Pennsylvania’s Perkiomen Valley School District walked out of classes in protest when the local school board refused to pass a new rule that would forbid boys from using the girls’ bathroom.

The school board had voted against the rule earlier in the week. According to superintendent Dr Barbara Russell it rejected the rule because of its own “anti-discrimination code which states gender identity is a protected class.”

To put it in plain English, the law now allows transvestites or cross-dressing boys to leer at young girls while they go to the bathroom, and no one can do anything about it.

The students in these high schools however did not agree, and made that disagreement quite clear in their protest. I strongly suspect that even when they return to class, there is going to be an organized effort to protect the girls from such perversion. Note this quote:
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Pushback: California county sued for using cellphones to track movements of church-goers

Santa Clara seal

They’re coming for you next: Santa Clara county in California is now being sued by Calvary Chapel San Jose and its pastor Mike McClure for using without warrant the GPS data from the cellphones of the church’s members to track their movements without their knowledge.

On August 22, 2023, a lawsuit was filed by Advocates for Faith and Freedom on behalf of Calvary Chapel San Jose against Santa Clara County, California, for utilizing geofencing methods to spy on church members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, Santa Clara County imposed a $1.2 million fine against the church for not abiding by the State’s and County’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Santa Clara County utilized an investigative method known as geofencing. Geofencing is a technological tool the government uses to track people relative to their location and likely locations. This tool is typically used in police investigations of criminal activity and, in these instances, requires a warrant– which is not always granted.

The lawsuit complaint can be read here [pdf]. As it notes:
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House speaker Kevin McCarthy proposes bill to extend “learning period” for rocketry

The speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R- California) today introduced what he calls the STAR act, which would extend the learning period that exempts the new human commercial space industry from heavy regulation from its impended expiration this year for eight more years, to 2031. From his statement:

The STAR Act would extend the learning period by 8 years to provide sufficient time for the FAA and commercial space industry to develop consensus standards for human safety in space flight. The bill’s proposed 8-year extension corresponds with the lengths of the original learning period — from 2004 to 2012—and the extension by Rep. McCarthy’s SPACE Act (P.L. 114-90) — from 2015 to 2023.

More information here. That McCarthy has introduced this bill suggests its chances of passage are high, assuming a very divided and partisan Congress can manage to pass anything in the coming weeks.

Independent review: NASA’s Mars sample return mission is in big trouble

Perseverance's first set of core samples, placed on the floor of Jezero Crater
Perseverance’s first set of core samples,
placed on the floor of Jezero Crater

An independent review of NASA’s Mars sample return mission (MSR) to pick up the core samples being collected by the rover Perseverance has concluded that the project has serious fundamental problems that will likely cause it to be years late and billions over-budget, assuming it ever flies at all.

You can read the report here [pdf]. After thirteen pages touting the wonders and importance of the mission to get those samples back to Earth, the report finally gets to its main point:

However, MSR was established with unrealistic budget and schedule expectations from the beginning. MSR was also organized under an unwieldy structure. As a result, there is currently no credible, congruent technical, nor properly margined schedule, cost, and technical baseline that can be accomplished with the likely available funding.

Technical issues, risks, and performance-to-date indicate a near zero probability of [the European Mars orbiter intended to bring the sample back to Earth] or [the Earth sample facility] or [the Mars ascent vehicle] meeting the 2027/2028 Launch Readiness Dates (LRDs). Potential LRDs exist in 2030, given adequate funding and timely resolution of issues.

• The projected overall budget for MSR in the FY24 President’s Budget Request is not adequate to accomplish the current program of record.

• A 2030 LRD for both [the sample return lander] and [the Mars orbiter] is estimated to require ~$8.0-9.6B, with funding in excess of $1B per year to be required for three or more years starting in 2025.

Based on this report, a mission launch in 2030 is only “potentially” possible, but only wild-eyed dreamers would believe that. It also indicates that the budget for each component listed above requires several billion dollars, suggesting the total amount needed to achieve this mission could easily exceed in the $30 to $40 billion, far more than the initial proposed total budget for the U.S. of $3 billion.

None of this is really a surprise. Since 2022 I have been reporting the confused, haphazard, and ever changing design of the mission as well as its ballooning budgets. This report underlines the problems, and also suggests, if one reads between the lines, that the mission won’t happen, at least as presently designed.

The report does suggest NASA consider “alternate architectures in combination with later [launch readiness dates].” Can you guess what might be an alternate architecture? I can, and its called Starship. Unlike the proposed helicopters and ascent rocket and Mars Orbiter, all of which are only in their initial design phases, Starship is already doing flight tests (or would be if the government would get out of the way). It is designed with Mars in mind, and can be adapted relatively quickly for getting those Perservance core samples back.

Otherwise, expect nothing to happen for years, even decades. In February 2022 I predicted this mission would be delayed from five to ten years from its then proposed ’26 launch date. A more realistic prediction, based on this new report, is ten to twenty years, unless NASA takes drastic action, and the Biden administration stops blocking Starship testing.

Pushback: Professor blacklisted by North Texas U wins in Federal court

North Texas University: where censorship and blacklisting is celebrated

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Today’s blacklist story follows up on the case of professor Timothy Jackson, who was dismissed in 2021 by the University of North Texas (UNT) as the editor of a history of music journal he had founded because he and his student editors had organized an issue dedicated to disproving the anti-white and racist accusations of a different professor against a well known musical figure.

From his lawyer’s most recent press release:

The Journal of Schenkerian Studies is dedicated to a late 19th/early 20th-century Austrian-Jewish music theorist, Heinrich Schenker, and his systematic, graphic methods of music analysis. In July 2020, Timothy Jackson defended Schenker in the pages of the Journal from an attack by Hunter College Professor Philip Ewell. Professor Ewell labeled Schenker a “racist” and, indeed, the entire tradition of Western classical music as “systemically racist.” This dispute would have remained a typical academic tempest in a teapot, but the University of North Texas swiftly condemned Jackson’s defense of Schenker and classical music. At UNT, defending classical music and its theory against charges of “racism” is a “thought crime.”

Graduate students quickly condemned Professor Jackson for “racist actions” and various other derelictions that they claimed hurt their feelings. Calls for Professor Jackson to be fired quickly escalated, and the vast majority of Jackson’s fellow faculty members jumped on the bandwagon. Sixteen of them signed a graduate student petition calling for his ouster and for censorship of the Journal. Discovery revealed that at least one did so without even reading or understanding what the petition said.

Officials at the university subsequently removed Jackson as editor of the journal, apparently because he had freely expressed his first amendment rights to dissent publicly from Ewell’s false accusations against Schenker. As I noted in 2021,
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FAA and FCC now competing for the honor of regulating commercial space more

Two stories today illustrate again the growing appetite of federal alphabet agencies to grab more power, even if that power is not included in their statutory authority.

First, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed new rules governing the de-orbiting of the upper stages of rockets by commercial launch companies.

The FAA is proposing a new rule requiring commercial space companies to dispose of their rocket upper stages to limit the creation of more space debris. Five disposal methods are allowed: a controlled or uncontrolled deorbit within certain time limits, putting the stage into a less congested orbit or sending it into an Earth-escape orbit, or retrieving it. A 90-day public comment period will begin once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Though this “appears to implement the updated U.S. Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices issued in 2019,” it upgrades it from a “practice” that the government requests companies to follow to a “rule” they must follow. It also expands the power of the FAA to regulate commercial rocket companies, setting a new precedent of control that I guarantee with time will expand further.

Not to be outdone in this power grab, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added its own new satellite rules to the satellite licenses of two constellations run by the companies Iceye and Planet. The rules however have nothing to do with regulating the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the FCC’s sole purpose according to the law that created it:
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