Make no mistake, Israel is about to begin the final defeat of Hamas in Gaza

Hamas vs Israel
Even the Arabs recognize these facts.
Courtesy of Doug Ross.

If anything should illustrate the bankrupt, mindless, stupid and out-of-touch mentality of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it has been the efforts recently of President Joe Biden and Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) to push for a major slow-down or even shut down of Israel’s war against the murderous Hamas leadership and its minions in Gaza.

Biden wants Israel to slow down and to limit its offensive and not move into the last Hamas stronghold in its southern city of Rafah. Schumer has called for new elections in Israel to remove Netanyahu, who Schumer called “an obstacle to peace.”

Both, along with many members of their party, are presently considering ways to punish Israel if it defies them and invades Rafah, including withholding military aid.

Both men are actually excellent examples of the majority of the modern Democratic Party, willing to excuse rape and murder of women and children, if it furthers their political agenda. Both want the American Muslim vote, and are willing to tolerate any evil by Islamic terrorists to get it. In fact, it is very likely that they are doing this because of a strong undercurrent of anti-Semitism and Jew-hate within their party ranks.

What these leaders of the Democratic Party do not understand at all is that Israel is no longer interested in compromising with them, with Hamas, or with any Islamic terrorists anywhere. As Netanyahu made clear in his response to these calls this past weekend, Israel is moving forward in this war, and nothing is going to stop it.
» Read more

What to expect on the next few Starship/Superheavy test launches

Superheavy/Starship lifting off on March 14, 2024
Superheavy/Starship lifting off on March 14, 2024

As noted last week by Eric Berger after the third orbital test launch of SpaceX’s Superheavy/Starship rocket on March 14, 2024, this rocket is presently only a few short steps to becoming an operational expendable rocket that can put 100 to 150 metric tons into orbit for about the cost of a Falcon Heavy launch.

To completely achieve this status SpaceX will still have to accomplish several additional engineering goals during the next few test flights, beyond what it has been done so far. This is what I predict therefore for the next test flight, number four:

Superheavy

SpaceX will once again attempt to softly bring Superheavy down over the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico, hovering the stage vertically over the surface for a few seconds to demonstrate it could do the same once it eventually comes down next to the launch tower so that the chopsticks can grab it. To do this the company will have to figure out what went wrong on last week’s flight, when the stage began to tumble as it dropped below 100 kilometers altitude. It also appeared to be unable to fire its engines as planned.

An even more important achievement on this third flight however will be a third straight successful hot fire stage separation, sending Starship on its way to orbit as planned. If Superheavy can do this for the third time, it will prove without doubt that the rocket stage is now capable of doing its number one job, launching payloads. Reusability can follow later.

Starship
» Read more

The DEI disaster now appears to be hitting American Airlines

American Airlines; Clowns in charge!

The continuing and almost daily airline incidents in recent weeks, with planes repeatedly being forced to make emergency landings because of mechanical failures, has too often been blamed by the media on Boeing and the airplanes it builds, when almost all of these mechanical problems have had nothing to do with that airplane manufacturer. Once Boeing sells a plane to an airline, it becomes the airline’s responsibility to maintain it and keep it airworthy. Boeing itself might have serious management and quality control problems making its new planes suspect, but when older planes fail it is not Boeing’s fault. For example, all of the recent failures at United were clearly due to failures of United’s own maintenance staff, failures quite likely instigated by that company’s decision since 2020 to make race and gender the primary qualifications for hiring, not skill, talent, or knowledge.

We are now seeing the same phenomenon at American Airlines (AA), which since December has experienced its own string of flight emergencies:
» Read more

Pushback: Judge rules again that awarding federal grants based on race is illegal

Modern segregation
Modern Democratic Party segregation

The only race or ethnic options offered by MBDA's Orlando office
The only race or ethnic options offered by
MBDA’s Orlando office

“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” On March 5, 2024, federal judge Mark Pittman for the Northern District of Texas reiterated an earlier decision from June 2023 and once again ruled that the race-based awards issued by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) violate numerous civil rights laws as well as the Constitution and are illegal.

Pittman then issued a permanent injunction that barred this federal agency from awarding any more benefits based on race. You can read his new ruling here [pdf].

Pittman had made an almost identical ruling in this case last year. At the time I noted that it appeared that at least one MBDA office in New Mexico was ignoring the ruling and continuing to give awards based on race. The graphic to the right, included in the judge’s ruling last week, shows a typical MBDA application form at the time. It literaly makes it impossible for a white person who is not Jewish or Hispanic from even applying.

One year later the New Mexico has changed the wording of its webpage to eliminate any mention of racial requirements. The application form [pdf] used by that office and others now includes an extra category, “Other (white),” so clearly whites can now apply.

I guarantee whites still won’t win any contracts, despite this ruling. As I predicted then,
» Read more

SpaceX’s Superheavy/Starship successfully launches

Superheavy/Starship lifting off today
Superheavy/Starship lifting off today

Early this morning SpaceX successfully launched its Superheavy/Starship heavy-lift rocket on its third orbital test flight.

The flight achieved almost all of its test goals, and far exceeded what was accomplished on the previous test launch in November.

First, Superheavy appeared to operate perfectly through launch, putting Starship into its correct near-orbit trajectory. The hot-fire stage separation, where Starship begins firing its engines before separation, worked as planned for the second straight time. Superheavy then refired some of its engines so as to target its correct landing zone in the Gulf of Mexico. As it approached the ocean surface, however, it started to tumble, and though some engines appeared to light for the landing burn, something went wrong and the stage was lost.

Next, Starship continued on its coast phase, during which engineers apparently tested opening and closing the payload doors as well as demonstrating a propellant transfer between two tanks. It also appeared that the engineering team was testing a variety of orientation modes for Starship. First it flew oriented stable to the Earth’s horizon. Then it appeared they placed the spacecraft in barbeque mode, where a spacecraft is placed in a steady roll in order to evenly distribute the heat on its surface.

For reasons not yet explained, the team cancelled the refire test in orbit of its Raptor engines. As the orbit chosen was low, the atmosphere still slowed the spacecraft down so that its de-orbit would still occur over the Indian Ocean.

As Starship started to descend it appeared its flaps were working successfully to control its orientation. It also appeared the heat shield tiles were working, as shown in the picture below. As Starship entered the thicker part of the atmosphere however, some tiles could be seen flying away from the ship and the spacecraft began to tumble. At an altitude of about 65 kilometers signal was lost.
» Read more

Defiance: Blacklisted Portland professor joins New College in Florida

Bruce Gilley of Portland State University, willing to fight
Bruce Gilley of Portland State University

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Bruce Gilley, the Portland State University political scientist professor who was vilified, blacklisted, and threatened with death after writing a paper arguing that western colonialism was not all evil, that it also brought benefits to third world nations, has now taken a job as a scholar in residence at New College in Florida.

Left-leaning scholars have shown active disdain for both Gilley and New College, the latter of which is in the process of being remade from a poorly ranked campus heavily focused on social justice and critical race theory into one that prioritizes a classical liberal education.

“What they are doing there is of global significance, because this is a public university, it’s where the clearest democratic fight is,” Gilley told The College Fix in a telephone interview Friday discussing his new post. In a piece for the American Conservative, Gilley explained further: “New College is the first Reconquista of a publicly-funded venue. …Taking back power from the academic mullahs who have turned higher education in the West into little more than a madrassa system of leftist thought depends on storming the public institutions, not fleeing from them.”

Gilley’s paper on colonialism had made this quite reasonable historical statement:
» Read more

The investors behind Space One, the Japanese commercial rocket company that had a launch failure yesterday

The explosion yesterday of the new Japanese-built Kairos-1 solid-fueded rocket shortly after lift-off immediately raised questions whether the new rocket company that built it, Space One, could survive that failure.

This story from CNBC suggests it will, based mainly on the nature of its principal investors.

Space One was set up in 2018 by a consortium of Japanese companies including Canon Electronics, IHI Aerospace and construction firm Shimizu, along with the government-owned Development Bank of Japan. Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial Group, two of Japan’s biggest banks, also own minority stakes in Space One.

The story is focused on the declines in the stock values of these companies, following the failure, with Canon’s stock falling the most, 12.7%.

My takeaways from the article however are different. First, these are not small investors. Space One is backed by some of Japan’s biggest corporations as well as indirectly by the Japanese government. One failure should not cause them to back out of the project.

Second, that the company was formed in 2018 by these Japanese heavy-hitters and only now was able to finally attempt a launch — that ended in failure — suggests Japan’s heavy-hitters continue to do things slowly and poorly. Not only have these big companies been working much too slow to build this relatively small rocket, Mitsubishi’s effort to build the much larger H3 rocket for Japan’s space agency JAXA has also been fraught with delays and problems, from engine cracks to launch failures. It appears Japan’s space industry is building things with the same lackadaisical attitude of America’s modern airline industry.

Third, that this “startup” was created by a team of old space large companies suggests Japan still doesn’t get the basics of capitalism. This new company isn’t creating any real competition. It was instead apparently formed to keep these heavy hitters in control of the Japanese launch market. This partnership reminds me of the many projects put together for decades by American consortiums of old space companies, such as Boeing teaming with Lockheed Martin to create ULA. All such partnerships were designed not to create new companies and new innovative products that would compete, but to maintain the control these old companies had on the industry.

Space One will likely fly again, but until we begin to see completely new companies from Japan, backed by independent new investors, this country is going to continue to lag behind everyone else.

Another United airplane makes an emergency landing

United Airlines: Run by bigoted clowns
United Airlines: Run by bigoted clowns

As more proof that the United Airlines policies for hiring and promotion — focused solely on skin color, ethnicity, and sex more than talent, knowledge, and skills — is making flying on that airline downright dangerous, another United flight today had to make an emergency landing when immediately after take-off fluid began pouring from the plane.

Just 10 seconds after flight 830 from Sydney to San Francisco took the air, video by plane spotter New York Aviation got clear images of fluid spewing from the plane — it looks like it was coming from the rear right landing gear.

The crew of the Boeing 777-300 jet continued over the ocean for a while before turning around. Video from a passenger shows the crew dumping fuel before landing. The plane landed safely back at the airport in Sydney, with no injuries, but a lot of questions.

This was the fifth such incident of a United flight in just over a week, including four emergency landings and a failure after landing.

Though this was a Boeing jet, the fault here lies entirely with United, its pilots, and its maintenance department. Though pilots should be able to rely on their maintenance departments to keep the plane airworthy, they are also supposed to check their airplanes carefully before take-off. That neither the pilots of this plane or the maintenance staff detected anything before take-off suggests that no one is really doing their job right.

No matter. United is determined to make sure that half its employees are blacks or minorities or women, no matter how little those new hires know about maintaining an airplane. So what if planes fall from the sky and people die? United will have achieved diversity, equity, and inclusion!

The “news” outlet that slandered a 9-year-old football fan is no more

Holden Armenta on his way to the Superbowl
Holden Armenta in face-paint and headdress,
on his way to the Superbowl. Click for video.

Bring a gun to a knife fight: The “news” outlet Deadspin, that slandered a 9-year-old football fan for no reason other than outright hate of America, is no more, its owner G/O Media selling it to another company that immediately shut it down.

In the past few months the struggles of G/O have been well publicized, from their being forced to shutter (and later sell the rights to) Jezebel to facing down a lawsuit from the family of a Kansas City Chiefs fan who was smeared as ‘racist’ for wearing what they called ‘blackface’ to a game by Deadspin.

Well, apparently Deadspin has proved to be more trouble than it’s worth to the suits at G/O, because today it was announced that they’d sold the property to European firm ‘Lineup Publishing’… who have no interest in retaining any of the current Deadspin staff.

» Read more

FAA lists possible launch windows for Starship/Superheavy launch

Though it as yet not issued a launch permit, the FAA has now released an advisory to the public, listing the possible launch windows for the next Starship/Superheavy launch, beginning on March 14, 2024 and including windows on each day through March 18th.

The advisory lists a primary date of Thursday, March 14, with the time 12:00Z-14:13Z (7 a.m. to 9:13 a.m. central). The plan also includes backup dates for the following four days, with the window closing at 8:01 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday before increasing to 9:13 a.m. again on Monday.

It is very possible this advisory is premature. It does strongly suggest however that the FAA is about to issue the launch licence. Based on past actions, expect that license to be announced as close to the launch date as reasonably possible, in order to make difficult or impossible any legal action to stop it by the various independent activist groups that have been suing both SpaceX and the FAA. (While the FAA has clearly been ordered by higher-ups in the Biden administration to slow-walk SpaceX’s effort, its people generally want SpaceX to succeed.)

If the first launch attempt will be on March 14th, two days hence, that license licence must be issued soon.

United Airlines diversity quotas finally begin paying off in disaster

United Airlines: Run by fascist clowns
United Airlines: Run by fascist clowns

In the past week there have been four serious airplane incidents involving United Airlines. Though most of the media focus has been aimed at Boeing — which clearly has demonstrated significant management and design issues with almost all its new products in the past few years — the real culprit of these recent failures is not Boeing. All of the following potentially deadly incidents occurred on United flights, and all suggest major problems within its maintenance and hiring departments.

  • March 4: A United Boeing 737 had to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off when a fire started in one of its engines. One news report claimed the fire was caused when some bubble wrap was pulled into the engine, an explanation that seems exceedingly unconvincing, especially because no investigation has yet been completed.
  • March 7: While taking off in San Francisco, one wheel on a United Boeing 777-200 airplane fell off, crushing several cars in an airport employee parking lot, with the plane making an emergency landing in Los Angeles. United had purchased the airplane 22 years previously, so the problem had to come from within United’s maintenance department.
  • March 8: A United Boeing 737-Max ended up on the grass while taxiing off the runway after landing when its left main landing gear collapsed. One passenger reported the incident occurred due to bad driving by the pilot, who mistakenly steered the plane onto the grass, causing the gear to collapse.
  • March 8: A United Airbus A320 had to make an emergency landing in Los Angeles when it experienced “complete hydraulic failure” in one of the airplane’s three hydraulic systems.

In 2020, shortly after George Floyd’s death, United officials made a very public commitment to instituting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) quotas in hiring, from maintenance to pilots. For example, it announced it would favor training and hiring pilots based on skin color and sex, regardless of qualification.
» Read more

A No Labels third party 2024 presidential ticket will give Americans a chance to replace the failed Democratic Party

The Democratic Party: Fostering election tampering everywhere
This party has got to be replaced

With the announcement today that the No Labels third party, made up of disaffected moderates from both parties (with the majority from the Democratic Party side), will field a 2024 presidential ticket in November, most news reports are doing what this AP report does, focus on the impact that candidacy will have on the Trump-Biden match-up.

Biden supporters worry No Labels will pull votes away from the president in battleground states and are critical of how the group won’t disclose its donors or much of its decision-making.

The executive director of the group MoveOn, which is aligned with Democrats, said a No Labels ticket would help Trump win. “Any candidates who join the No Labels presidential ticket will be complicit in making it easier for Donald Trump and MAGA extremists to win a second term in the White House,” Executive Director Rahna Epting said in a written statement.

Third Way, another group that is aligned with Democrats and opposes a No Labels ticket, noted No Labels was moving forward without having first found a candidate.

Americans need to look at this a different way. » Read more

Two Democrats in Congress go after SpaceX for the alleged Russian theft of Starlink terminals

Two of the more radical Democrats in Congress, Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and Robert Garcia (D-California), have issued a public letter [pdf] to SpaceX, accusing the company of not having the “appropriate guardrails and policies in place to ensure your technology is neither acquired nor used illegally by Russia.”

The letter then demands SpaceX answer a number of detailed questions, such as the number of thefts SpaceX has detected, what does the company do to prevent such thefts, and how the company is acting to adhere to the present federal sanctions against Russia. It demands answers by March 20, 2024.

SpaceX has made it very clear it is doing what it can to prevent the use of stolen Starlink terminals, not only in the war situation in the Ukraine but elsewhere. It is not in the company’s interest to allow such thefts.

This letter therefore is just another effort by the Democrats to harass Elon Musk, because Musk has also made it clear he personally no longer supports the agenda of today’s Democratic Party. These two politicians likely intend to use whatever answer they get from SpaceX to further attack the company, and even institute sanctions against it.

Welcome to the new America, where politicians can routinely abuse their power to harass any private citizen who disagrees with them.

Budget bill includes very short extension of commercial space “learning period”

The budget bill that Congress has just passed and awaits signature by the president included a very short extension of commercial space “learning period” that supposedly prevents heavy safety regulation by the FAA of the new commercial space industry.

That learning period was first established in 2004, and has been extended several times since. This new bill extends that period until May 11, 2024, only two months, supposedly to allow Congress time to pass a new commercial space act.

The truth is that, at present, the Biden administration has long since abandoned that learning period exemption, and has been applying a much stricter safety regulatory framework from space companies than required by law, as best illustrated by its treatment of SpaceX’s Superheavy/Starship launches. The FAA now expects all launches to function perfectly, even if testing a prototype, and should anything not go perfectly it treats the failure the same as an airplane mishap that requres any investigation to get full government approval before further launches can resume.

Unless there is a change in leadership in Washington, it is very likely we shall see few new American rocket companies from here on out. The existing companies with lots of money and power will survive, but under this heavy regulatory atmosphere it will be hard if not impossible for new companies to get established.

Hamas anti-Semitic bullies shut down physics class because the professor was Israeli

The seal of UNLV. The motto means
The seal of UNLV. The motto means “All
things for god’s country,” a motto UNLV
no longer follows.

Last month a group of Hamas anti-Semitic bullies invaded a classroom at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) and shut down the lecture about black holes by a physics professor, simply because that professor, Asaf Peer, happened to be Israeli.

Peer, from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, actually invited the activists to remain to learn about black holes and then discuss “unrelated issues” after his lecture. But the demonstrators continued their antics, leading to the UNLV police to be called in.

When the police arrived, they refused to remove or silence the protesters so the lecture could continue. Instead, they decided that the First Amendment gave this mob the right to silence whomever they wanted. The police further decided that for Peer’s “safety,” his lecture must end and they would “escort” him off campus.

This led Professor Asaf Peer … to ask “What about my freedom of speech?”

How naive of Peer. Doesn’t he know that in today’s America, the First Amendment only guarantees the left the right to speak and shout and harass and riot and even kill? It also gives the left, and only the left, the right to silence and blacklist and ban any other speech, and if that doesn’t work it gives the left to right to use force and violence to shut up any dissent.

Or to put it more simply, their violence is speech, your speech is violence.

At the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, it is very clear this is how university officials and the police interpret the Bill of Rights.
» Read more

Another woman sues SpaceX for sexual discrimination and retaliation

On March 5, 2024 Michelle Dopak filed a lawsuit against SpaceX for sexual discrimination and retaliation, claiming the company paid her less than male workers, refused to promote her, and ignored her complaints about sexual abuse by her married manager that eventually led to a pregnancy.

Dopak said in the suit that in 2020, her manager offered her $100,000 to have an abortion, which she declined. She is suing the company for an unspecified amount of damages. Reuters was first to report the existence of the lawsuit. Dopak accused SpaceX of colluding with her former manager by allowing him to transfer $3.7 million in SpaceX stock out of his name to evade child support payments, according to the lawsuit obtained by Business Insider.

This suit is one now of several discrimination suits against the company. Unlike the others, however, if Dopak’s accusations prove true it would be the most damaging of all, since she claims the company itself took action against her to protect this manager. The other suits appear more frivolous on their face, issued by individuals claiming to have been fired by SpaceX for their opinions, when the facts strongly suggest they were more interested in causing trouble at the company then doing their job, and thus deserved to be fired.

NJ man arrested for trafficking 675 Starlink terminals illegally

A New Jersey man was arrested on December 4, 2023 while driving a vehicle carrying more than two hundred Starlink terminals, and later charged with trafficking 675 Starlink terminals that he obtained illegally using “stolen credit card accounts or hacked Starlink billing accounts.”

The man, 35-year-old Kelvin Rodriguez-Moya, was stopped by police Dec. 4 while driving 223 Starlink terminals in a pickup truck and trailer after leaving a residence in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, a criminal complaint said. The terminals had shipping labels addressed to multiple different names at the same address.

Lawrence Township police had been tipped off about a suspiciously large number of Starlink terminals being shipped to that home, the complaint said. Detectives then witnessed Rodriguez-Moya loading a FedEx shipment of terminals onto the truck and trailer.

SpaceX is working with the police to determine how Rodriguez-Moya obtained so many terminals. I suspect it was because so much of Starlink operations are automated. The computer programs that issue terminals to new customers aren’t smart enough to notice such things.

This case might also help explain the stories in both Russia and Botswana of unauthorized terminals being sold.

UK government to invest £10 million in Saxavord spaceport

Proposed spaceports surrounding Norwegian Sea
Proposed spaceports surrounding Norwegian Sea.

The government of the United Kingdom announced yesterday that it will directly invest £10 million in the Saxavord spaceport being built on one of the Shetland Islands, as shown on the map to the right.

Coming in addition to around £40 million of private investment, the government funding will allow SaxaVord to accelerate its capital works programme to ensure it is ready to support the first orbital launch.

That capital works program was forced to shut down last year when red tape at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) delayed the licensing of Saxavord. It could be this grant has been issued partly to repay the losses the spaceport company experienced due to those bureaucratic delays. The timing kind of reinforces this speculation, as only yesterday Saxavord got its spaceport license approved, though other approvals remain pending.

All this news suggests strongly that the first test flight at Saxavord by the German rocket startup Rocket Factory Augsburg will occur later this year, as promised.

Meanwhile, the other spaceport in Sutherland must be wondering if it can get similar government aid, or if the government is now playing favorites.

SpaceX: We want to fly next Starship/Superheavy test launch on March 14, 2024

In a tweet yesterday SpaceX announced an update on its Starship webpage, outlining its plans for the third orbital test launch of its heavy-lift Starship/Superheavy rocket, with March 14, 2024 listed as the hoped-for launch date.

The update began with these cautionary words, “pending regulatory approval,” and then went on to describe details of the test flight:

The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety.

I suspect the change in the splashdown location, from northeast of the main island of Hawaii, was instigated by the FAA for those “public safety reasons”. From SpaceX’s perspective, this is an easy give, as a slightly shorter flight makes little difference for this test, and it allows the company to test that Raptor engine by firing that de-orbit burn.

Will the flight occur on March 14th? The odds are high, partly because this SpaceX announcement is designed to put pressure on the bureaucrats at the FAA to finish their paperwork already. At the same time, bureaucrats sometimes love to stick it to private citizens, just for fun. We shall see.

If Trump wins in November, expect a real insurrection from Democrats

The Democratic Party: Fostering election tampering everywhere
The Democratic Party

The reaction by Democratic Party politicians and pundits to the Supreme Court ruling on March 4, 2024 — voiding the effort by Colorado to throw Donald Trump off its ballot — reveals some very fundamental realities that must be faced by all Americans. To put it bluntly: These Democrats have no intention of accepting a victory by Donald Trump in the upcoming election, even if he should win by a majority so vast that no amount of election rigging can disguise it.

The first reaction to that decision was a major tell. Jean Griswold is the secretary of state of Colorado who had taken Trump off the ballot, claiming he was an insurrectionist even though that was merely her opinion as Trump has not only never been convicted of that crime, he has not even been charged with it. Immediately after the court rejected her actions unanimously, she tweeted the following:

I am disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision stripping states of the authority to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment for federal candidates. Colorado should be able to bar oath-breaking insurrections from our ballot.

Spurred by her blind hatred of Trump, Griswold’s refusal to deal with reality here is disturbing, to say the least. First, the court made it very clear, unanimously, that the states don’t have this authority when it comes to federal elections. That she as a lawyer could not recognize the plain legal arguments here that were agreed to by even the most radical leftists on the court indicates how blind she has become to reasonable disagreement.

Second, Griswold clearly thinks she by herself, based on nothing but her opinion, has the right to determine who is or is not an insurrectionist. In a country where by law and a very long tradition all people are innocent until proven guilty, by what law does she think she has that right?

The bottom line is that Griswold reveals the mindset of the Democrat Party. They are mentally unprepared to accept a Trump election victory, no matter what, and will do anything to block his victory.

This mindset is further revealed by this CNN article published today, attempting to figure out other ways in which the Democrats can block a victory by Trump.
» Read more

Is the Saxavord spaceport in the UK about to finally get approved for launches?

Proposed spaceports surrounding Norwegian Sea
Proposed spaceports surrounding Norwegian Sea.

According to the head of the Saxavord spaceport in the UK, it is finally poised to get all the necessary approvals from the government of the United Kingdom that will allow the first launches before the end of this year.

Following on from the CAA licence being granted just before Christmas, management at SaxaVord Spaceport is confident it will receive its ‘range licence’ later this month to finally become a “fully-fledged spaceport”. This second licence, also issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), allows rockets launched from SaxaVord to use the airspace.

Sounds great, eh? Except that the spaceport is still waiting approval from a local commission of its plan for allowing spectators to watch launches. In addition, no launch license has yet been issued to any rocket company. The German company Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) is planning to take over one specific launchpad at Saxavord where it hopes to do as many as ten launches per year, with the first test launch later this year. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has not yet issued that license.

Another rocket startup, ABL, is also waiting CAA approvals. Its first test launch (which failed in January 2023) was conducted in Alaska, with a second launch planned there in the next month or so. If successful the company hopes to launch regularly from Saxavord, assuming the CAA gives it approval.

Saxavord submitted its license applications to the CAA in November 2022, with the hope launches could begin in 2023. It took the CAA however more than a year to issue the spaceport license, and it still has not issued the range license, nor has it issued RFA any launch licenses yet. For these companies to prosper the government approval process has got to be streamlined.

Amazingly Justice actually charges two leftist activists with felonies for defacing the display case holding the Constitution

Security guards watch as vandals of the Constitution preach their message
Rotunda security guards do nothing so that these
vandals of the Constitution can preach their message.
Click for video.

In a move that is astonishing considering the political favorism of the left by the Biden administration’s Justice Department, that agency has now charged the two leftist activists who defaced the display case holding the Constitution with felonies.

On Friday, the Department of Justice charged Donald Zepeda of Maryland and Jackson Green of Utah with felony destruction of government property, according to Fox News. Zepeda and Green have been accused of dumping red powder on the case that displayed the historic document. The incident occurred on Feb 14 and the DOJ said their stunt caused more than $50,000 worth of damages.

It is not clear what penalities these two thugs face should they be convicted. For all we know, Justice is merely prosecuting them now for effect, and will allow them to skip with light charges when the case comes to court.

Nor should be we surprised if these vandals end up walking free. » Read more

SpaceX almost completes dress rehearsal countdown of Starship/Superheavy

According to a tweet from SpaceX, the company yesterday conduceted a dress rehearsal countdown of Starship/Superheavy, ending the rehearsal at T-10 seconds so that no static fire test of Superheavy’s engines occurred.

Starship completed its rehearsal for launch, loading more than 10 million pounds of propellant on Starship and Super Heavy and taking the flight-like countdown to T-10 seconds.

Prior to all its launches SpaceX routinely does this kind of rehearsal, but always ends them at T-0 and a short engine burst. That it did not do so here suggests either some issue prevented it, or the company was doing tests of its propellant loading procedures. Either way, it is likely another dress rehearsal countdown will be required before the actual test flight can occur.

I also suspect the FAA is involved in this in some way, demanding certain actions by SpaceX before the agency issues the launch license. At the moment there is no word when that license will be issued, though Elon Musk keeps saying on X that it is coming “soon.”

Australian rocket startup gets government approval for its spaceport

Proposed Australian commercial spaceports

The Australian rocket startup Gilmour Space has now received a spaceport licence from the Australian government, allowing launches to occur from its Bowen spaceport on the northeast coast of Australia, as shown on the map to the right.

The company describes the approval from [Ed Husic Federal Minister for Industry and Science], who is also the minister in charge of the Australian Space Agency, as a vote of confidence in Gilmour’s technical capability, paving the way for the launch of Australia’s first sovereign-made rockets, ‘bridging Country to Sky’. Gilmour Space has also secured approval from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, enabling the operation of the spaceport at Abbot Point.

Not all is unicorns and rainbows however. First, it appears Gilmour began negotiating for this approval two years ago, so the government took a looong time to say yes. The other spaceport on the map has been awaiting for a launch license for about the same length of time, and has still not gotten it.

Gilmour also wants to do its first test launch of its Eris rocket in the next few months, but it is still awaiting its launch license from the Australian Space Agency. We are therefore about to find out whether Australia’s government can issue that permit in the next few months, or will instead emulate Great Britain, and bog things down with endless red tape.

Texas approves SpaceX land swap

Despite a concerted effort by a small group of activists to stop it, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission yesterday approved a proposed land swap that would give SpaceX 43 acres of state park land in exchange for receiving 477 acres in a nearby wildlife refuge.

The commission said that the land swap “would create a tenfold return,” allowing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to begin planning for a new state park that would give the public access to fishing, kayaking, hiking and other outdoor activities.

…The 43 acres it would give to SpaceX are “noncontiguous,” with the commission noting that most of the acres “do not connect to each other or to areas offering public access at Boca Chica State Park.”

“These smaller, noncontiguous tracts do not provide beach access and are dotted among private properties or immediately adjacent to SpaceX’s facilities, meaning they aren’t readily available for public use and provide less cohesive wildlife habitat than offered by a connected and consistently managed tract of conservation land,” the announcement reads.

The opposition came from the same activist groups that have been attempting by lawfare in every way to shut SpaceX down. They claim in the article at the link that “SpaceX has a history of being a bad neighbor, wreaking havoc on the communities and habitat nearby,” but there is zero evidence of this. Even Fish & Wildlife was forced in its own environmental report to admit that there was no reason to block Starship/Superheavy launches at Boca Chica. And the general community is enthused about the presence of SpaceX because of the billions of dollars of new investment and tens of thousands of new jobs it has brought to the Brownsville region.

These activist groups are simply another visible expression of the irrational hatred the left now holds for Elon Musk, because he has dared defy the left in a number of ways. Sadly, these groups routinely get strong help from every media source (also part of that left), always getting quoted and always getting treated as if they are a major political force in the region, when only a tiny minority in south Texas is on their side.

Real pushback: Faced with a legal requirement to end its DEI programs, University of Florida shuts them down

Martin Luther King Jr
A real victory for Martin Luther King Jr

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In the past year there have been a variety of bills in state legislatures attempting to rein in or eliminate the racist Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and departments at state universities. Some have been relatively weak feel-good, failure theater efforts, such as those that merely “ban” the teaching of these ideas, something that the leftist academics in charge easily get around by simply renaming the programs.

Other states imposed stronger legislation, threatening to cut the budgets of these colleges if they didn’t eliminate the programs. A few states have actually followed through.

Florida however took the strongest action under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and its Republican controlled state legislature. It passed legislation that not only banned the teaching of these programs, it cut their budgets as well. No threats of budget cuts, the budgets of DEI programs were cut, right off the bat.

The University of Florida on March 1, 2024 demonstrated the effectiveness of this strong action.
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Watch video from Varda’s return capsule as its comes back to Earth

I have embedded below video taken from inside the capsule of the commercial startup Varda from its release from the Rocket Lab service module throughout its descent back to Earth.

The capsule had been launched in June 2023, carrying equipment to manufacture HIV drugs in space and then return them to Earth for sale. Even though the company had begun negotiations with the FAA and the Air Force two years prior for landing that capsule in the Air Force’s test range in Utah, those agencies blocked its planned return in the September of 2023, and was only able to do it last month. This mission is demo flight, with three others now scheduled.

For the video, Varda included a window looking up outside the capsule, and a camera to film everything that occurred outside that window during descent, release of parachutes, and impact on the ground. It is quite fascinating, as you can see that the capsule initially tumbles, then as the atmosphere thickens its aerodynamic shape causes it to stablize with its heat shield at its bottom.
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German rocket startup ships suborbital test rocket to Australia for launch

The German rocket startup Hyimpulse has now packed its SR75 test rocket for shipment to Australia for a suborbital test flight taking off from Koonibba Test Range on that nation’s southern coast.

The launch at Koonibba will also assist HyImpulse as they continue development of their SL1 Orbital Launcher. The SL1 Orbital Launcher will use ten of the SR75 rocket motors to lift payloads of up to 600kg to low earth orbit and could be launched from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex [part of Koonibba] in the future.

The launch campaign is scheduled to begin from mid-April with both companies targeting a launch at the end of April through to early May subject to regulatory approval. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted phrase immediately raises concerns, as Australia is part of the British Commonwealth, with laws based on Great Britain’s. In Great Britain the red tape from those laws has acted to stymie all launches, destroying one company (Virgin Orbit) and threatening the viability of two spaceports. In Australia there have been indications that such red tape is doing the same to new spaceports on the northern coast. We shall see if that April launch happens. If it is delayed because of “pending regulatory approvals” it will confirm that the Australian government is as much a problem as Great Britain’s.

Hyimpulse is one of three German rocket startups, with Rocket Factory Augburg and Isar Aerospace the other two. It however has been very quiet in the past few years, with the other two companies garnering the most publicity as they prepare for their own first test launches. This story suggests however it might actually be the first to fly, despite the lack of news reports about it.

NASA shuts down Goddard $2 billion demo refueling program

After more than a decade of work and more than $1 billion spent, NASA yesterday shut down a Goddard Space Flight Center program, dubbed On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1), that would have attempted to refuel a defunct the Landsat-7 satellite.

This Space News article details the program’s long history:

OSAM-1 started about a decade ago as Restore-L, with the goal of launching as soon as 2020 to refuel Landsat 7. The mission was renamed OSAM-1 in 2020 with the addition of payloads to perform in-space assembly and manufacturing activities.

The mission, though, suffered significant cost overruns and delays. As of April 2022, the mission’s total cost, once projected to be between $626 million and $753 million, had grown to $2.05 billion and its launch delayed to December 2026. NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), in an October 2023 report, concluded the project would likely suffer additional overruns, with an estimated cost at completion as high as $2.17 billion and a launch of between March and June 2027.

The program was originally conceived by Frank “Cepi” Cepollina, who had run the program in the 1980s to use the shuttle and standard parts on satellites to successfully repair the Solar Max satellite, and then headed the program at Goddard that ran all the repair missions to the Hubble Space Telescope. It was his correct contention that designing satellites and spacecraft with standard modular parts would not only allow for replacement and repair, it would reduce the cost of getting into space while increasing increasing profit margins.

The problem was that Cepi’s operation was a government program, divorced from cost controls and profit. Unlike the many private orbital tug companies that are now building and flying the same technology, developed quickly and for relatively little, the Goddard program experienced endless delays and cost overruns. In the end, private enterprise has overtaken the government, and made this program superfluous. Kudos to NASA’s management for making the hard decision to shut it down finally.

Local county now in full support of SpaceX land swap

According to a local Cameron county judge, who had previously expressed opposition, county officials including himself are now in full support of the proposed land swap, giving SpaceX 43 acres of Boca Chica State Park land in exchange for 477 acres at a national wildlife area about 10 miles away.

A special meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to vote on this land swap is now scheduled for March 5, 2024 in Austin, and it appears it is ready to approve. That meeting however should be entertaining, because it also appears that the small minority of leftist activists organizations in the area that oppose everything SpaceX is achieving are organizing carpools to attend the meeting. Expect them to perform the typical shennigans of the left, screaming and shouting and attempting to take over the venue to prevent the vote.

What these activists of course refuse to recognize, or simply don’t care, is that the change of opinion by local officials is because the local community and in fact the majority of Texans support what SpaceX is doing. It has revitalized the Brownsville area, bringing billions of new investment capital and tens of thousands of new jobs to the region. It has also demonstrated repeatedly it is being a good steward to the environment at Boca Chica, and will do much as a launch site to help preserve the coastal wildlife there, just as NASA has done at Cape Canaveral for three quarters of a century.

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