NASA reviewing a dozen commercial proposals for future government space stations

Capitalism in space: Rather than replace the aging International Space Station (ISS) with an entirely government-designed-and-built new station, NASA is now reviewing about a dozen commercial proposals from private companies.

NASA earlier this year unveiled the Commercial LEO Destinations project, with plans to award up to $400 million in total contracts to as many as four companies to begin development of private space stations. In response to NASA’s request, its director of commercial spaceflight, Phil McAlister, told CNBC that the agency “received roughly about a dozen proposals” from a variety of companies for contracts under the project.

…The ISS is more than 20 years old and costs NASA about $4 billion a year to operate. The space station is approved to operate through the end of 2024, with a likely lifespan extension to the end of 2028. But, moving forward, McAlister says NASA wants “to be just one of many users instead of the primary sponsor and infrastructure supporter” for stations in low Earth orbit.

Based on these initial proposals, NASA officials estimate that the agency’s cost for running this future privately-built station will be about $1 billion per year less than the cost for operating ISS.

The agency will also only pay a part of the development cost for the new station, expecting that since the private company or companies will be making money from it also they should front a significant portion of that development cost.

Essentially NASA is following precisely the recommendations I put forth in my 2017 policy paper, Capitalism in space. And as I also predicted, the result is more achievement faster for far less cost.

Today’s blacklisted American: Gun stores in Boston suburb banned

Browning Brothers gun shop, Ogden, Utah Territory, 1882. From left to right: Thomas Samuel Browning, George Emmett Browning, John Moses Browning, Matthew Sandefur Browning, Jonathan Edmund Browning, and Frank Rushton
Gun shops banned in Brookline, Massachusetts.

They’re coming for you next: The local government in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburban community outside of Boston, is attempting to impose new zoning regulations that would essentially ban gun stores.

Under the new zoning proposal submitted by town board members Petra Bignami, Janice Kahn, Alexandra Metral, and Sharon Schoffman, gun stores would only be allowed to operate by special permit. It also states buffer zones will be around residential properties, private and public K-12 schools, and childcare facilities, which would block firearm businesses from operating within a certain distance.

The proposal came after the City of Newton, one town over, approved new zoning rules for gun stores in June that restricted them to three locations. This action was in response to a new gun store attempting to open.

Since this very leftist community is routinely hostile to the second amendment and the right to bear arms, it would astonish me if any special permit would ever be approved. And even if one was, the buffer rules are likely so restrictive that there is probably no location in town where a gun store would be legal.

The illogic of gun control advocates always amazes me. » Read more

China launches unmanned Tianzhou freighter to its space station

The new colonial movement: In preparation for the arrival of its next three-person crew, China yesterday successfully used its Long March 7 rocket to launch an unmanned Tianzhou freighter to its new space station, docking there seven hours later.

The Long March 7 is a new rocket that launches from China’s Wenchang spaceport on the country’s southern coast. Thus, its expendable stages fall into the ocean, not within China. The rocket also does not use toxic hypergolic fuels, but kerosene and oxygen, so it is less environmental harmful.

The crew will launch to the station on October 13th and will likely spend six months at the station.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

32 China
23 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. still leads China 34 to 32 in the national rankings.

Today’s blacklisted American: Conservative teacher fired for being conservative and colorblind

Beth Reams horrible post

They’re coming for you next: Beth Reams, a math teacher at a Missouri prep school was fired when first some school alumni complained about her conservative politics that she posted on her private Facebook page and then the school administration discovered that she treated all her students equally and made no effort to find out their religion or race so as to promote the bigoted concepts of modern critical race theory.

The article at the link above tells her sad story in great detail, how the most progressive teachers and alumni from Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, started a campaign against her, with some accusing her of being anti-Semitic because in one Facebook post in August 2020 she published a meme — posted to the right — that made the entirely rational analogy between the Nazi death camps and the increasingly harsh COVID mandates being imposed by the state and federal governments.

It is absurd to accuse Reams of anti-Semitism for this meme. I am Jewish and lost relatives in the Nazi concentration camps, and I applaud Reams for posting it, because it expresses the very same ideas I myself have repeatedly expressed throughout 2020, that the harsh lockdowns and restrictions being imposed by governments were morally wrong, and could only lead to exactly the same kind of genocide as committed by the Nazis.

Reams’ firing however appears to have finally been prompted from something even more absurd and horrifying, revealed by the transcript of a Zoom meeting between Reams and Pembroke’s principal, Mike Hill, and its Director of Human Resources Vanessa Alpert. It appears the principal was upset because Reams made no effort to identify her students’ ethnicity or religion and make it their number one defining attribute. Instead, she focused entirely on teaching them all equally so they could learn math from her. The key portion of the transcript:
» Read more

FAA now taking public comments on the licensing of SpaceX to launch Starship/Superheavy from Boca Chica

Capitalism in space: The FAA today announced by email that it is now taking public comments on the “Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA)” it requires from SpaceX before it can issue a launch license at Boca Chica, Texas for Starship/Superheavy orbital launches.

From the email:

The FAA invites interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments on all aspects of the Draft PEA. Public comments are due on Monday, October 18, 2021. Comments or questions on the Draft PEA can be addressed to Ms. Stacey Zee, SpaceX PEA, c/o ICF, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031. Comments may also be submitted by email to SpaceXBocaChica@icf.com. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The FAA will also hold two public hearings on October 6th and 7th, though it provided no information yet on where those hearings will be held.

This announcement means that the Starship/Superheavy orbital test flight cannot occur any earlier than October 18, 2021, and will actually occur at least several weeks or months later, based on the schedule outlined on slide 32 of this FAA presentation [pdf]. Once the 30-day public comment period ends the FAA must then hold “an industry workshop” reviewing the comments and then issue an update of the PEA, or a rejection of it.

Though the chances of the FAA rejecting SpaceX’s permit are practically nil, I fully expect this process to be slow-walked by the FAA under orders of the Biden administration in order to do whatever it can to prevent this orbital flight occurring before SLS’s first launch, now expected in early ’22.

I hope I am wrong, and that the FAA surprises me. We can only wait and see.

Update: If you think I am crazy thinking that the politics of the Biden administration will cause a slowdown in the FAA’s process, just read this story about the FAA suddenly imposing flight restrictions at the southern border to block drone flights by media outlets that show the illegal immigrant crisis there.

“We’ve learned that the FAA just implemented a two week TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions) over the international bridge in Del Rio, TX, meaning we can no longer fly our FOX drone over it to show images of the thousands of migrants,” Fox News reporter Bill Melugin tweeted. “FAA says ‘special security reason.’”

Fox’s report resulted in a quick lifting of this flight restriction on their drone, but the action by the Biden administration shows that it is quite willing to interfere with normal aviation regulations for its own political reasons.

India signs deal with private rocket startup

Capitalism in space: India’s new Department of Space, dedicated to encouraging the growth of a private commercial and independent Indian space industry, has signed a deal with the private rocket startup, Agnikul Cosmos, to give it access to government space facilities as it develops its own smallsat rocket.

Indian startup Agnikul Cosmos signed a framework memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India’s Department of Space on Friday for access to ISRO facilities and expertise for the development of its two-stage small-satellite Agnibaan launch vehicle.

“The Framework MoU…will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers for testing and qualification of their single piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems. The MoU also enable Agnikul to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems,” ISRO said in a press release.

The company has raised more than $14.1 million in investment capital, and hopes to complete the first launch of its Agnibaan rocket by ’22.

China’s three astronauts land safely

The new colonial movement: China’s three astronauts safely returned to Earth today after spending 91 days in space and 90 days on China’s new space station.

During their stay they did two spacewalks preparing the station for additional modules and later missions.

China is expected to send the robotic Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft toward Tianhe around Sept. 20. And the next crewed mission to the module, the six-month-long Shenzhou 13, is apparently scheduled to launch in mid-October. (Exact target dates are hard to come by with Chinese missions, because the nation tends not to announce many details of its spaceflight plans in advance.)

China will also in the next year launch two more large modules to attach to the station, using its Long March 5B rocket. Assuming they have not redesigned that rocket, expect the very large upper stage on both launches to once again crash out-of-control somewhere on the Earth, possibly in habitable areas.

Today’s blacklisted Americans: Any tenant not vaccinated in Florida apartment complex

Coming to your town in America soon!
Rounding up the unclean unvaccinated: What the left nationwide wants.

They’re coming for you next: A Florida landlord is now demanding that any future tenant show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or they will be turned away, and any present unvaccinated tenant move when their lease expires.

If you’re not vaccinated for COVID-19, you can forget about moving into any of eight apartment complexes in Broward and Miami-Dade counties owned by Santiago A. Alvarez and his family.

And if you’re still unvaccinated when it comes time to renew your lease, you’ll have to find someplace else to live.

Alvarez, who controls 1,200 units in the two counties, is the first large-scale landlord known to national housing experts to impose a vaccine requirement not only for employees, but also for tenants. They’ll be required to produce documentation that they’ve received at least an initial vaccine dose.

The policy, which took effect Aug. 15, could set Alvarez’s company on a collision course with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ vaccine passport ban, which prohibits businesses from requiring that customers be vaccinated.

The story reports that already two tenants have contacted attorneys with plans to challenge this discriminatory policy in court. Note too that since the largest percentage of unvaccinated individuals comes from the black community, Alvarez is essentially discriminating against blacks with this policy. It seems that, for the left, the mantra “Housing is a right!” now only applies to those who agree with them. All others should be homeless.
» Read more

Chinese astronauts undock from space station in return to Earth

The new colonial movement: Three Chinese astronauts, having completed their 90 day mission on China’s new space station, early today boarded their Shenzhou capsule and undocked from the station, with the expectation that they will return to Earth sometime tomorrow.

The astronauts have already set China’s record for the most time spent in space. After launching on June 17, mission commander Nie and astronauts Liu and Tang went on two spacewalks, deployed a 10-meter (33-foot) mechanical arm, and had a video call with Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.

Following their safe return, China will launch another unmanned cargo freighter to the station, followed by the launch of three more astronauts for another 90 day mission, continuing the station’s assembly construction. In addition to several more manned flights, in the next two years two more large modules will added.

NOTE: The New York Times actually did some good [and increasingly rare] journalism today to point out that the number of people presently in space, 14, is a record, beating the 13 that were on ISS in 2009. The difference now is that those spacefarers are on three different and very independent projects, ISS, the Chinese space program, and the first entirely private space mission launched by SpaceX.

NASA awards small design lunar lander contracts to five companies

In what appears to be an effort by NASA to placate the losers in the bidding for the manned lunar lander contract, won by SpaceX’s Starship, the agency this week awarded small design contracts related to future lunar lander construction to five different companies, totaling $ 146 million and with the large bulk of the cash going to those losers.

The contracts were as follows:

  • Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, $40.8 million.
  • Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, $35.2 million.
  • Northrop Grumman of Dulles, Virginia, $34.8 million.
  • Blue Origin Federation of Kent, Washington, $25.6 million.
  • SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $9.4 million.

From the press release:

The selected companies will develop lander design concepts, evaluating their performance, design, construction standards, mission assurance requirements, interfaces, safety, crew health accommodations, and medical capabilities. The companies will also mitigate lunar lander risks by conducting critical component tests and advancing the maturity of key technologies.

While the distribution of the money suggests NASA wishes to provide the most support to the companies that lost the bid, it also gives us a hint of what the agency presently thinks of those losers. Of the losers, Blue Origin received the least, suggesting that NASA remains skeptical of that company’s effort. It also might be NASA’s signal to Blue Origin that endless lawsuits and protests — rather than actual construction — is not a good way to make friends and influence people. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that Dynetics received the most cash, even though like Blue Origin it has yet to launch anything into orbit.

This distribution of money is also part of the typical pattern of DC crony capitalism, designed almost like pay offs to capture these companies and make them partners in the Washington swamp.

One big space company, Boeing, however received nothing. The company might not have submitted a proposal, but I suspect that if it did, NASA dismissed it outright based on the agency’s decision last year to eliminate Boeing from such contract considerations because of the incredible weakness of its recent bids. I think that Boeing will remain on the outs until it finally gets Starliner flying and operational.

Astronaut’s mission on ISS will be extended to almost a year

As expected because the Russian’s have taken his return seat in October to bring home two commercial passengers (a film director and his star actress), the mission of astronaut Mark Vande Hei has been extended to March for a total of 353 days in space, just short of a year.

This time will exceed the previous American record for the longest spaceflight, set by Scott Kelly during his 340 day mission in 2015. It remains below about four Russian flights that lasted a full year or more, including the longest flight so far by Valeri Polyakov of 438 days in 1993 and 1994.

Meanwhile, there is no word on the state of the pinched nerve that forced NASA to replace Vande Hei on an upcoming spacewalk. It is likely that weightlessness is probably helping it heal, but NASA and Vande Hei are presently keeping this personal medical information private.

The real human exploration of the solar system began on September 15, 2021

Falcon 9 at T+13 seconds

Capitalism in space: First the news: On September 15, 2021 SpaceX successfully placed four civilians into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.

Thus began the first private manned orbital mission in space, planned to last three days and reach an altitude of 595 kilometers or 370 miles, the highest any person has flown in space in decades.

The first stage, on its third flight, successfully landed for reuse. The Dragon capsule, Resilience, was on its second manned flight. The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
23 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. now leads China 34 to 31 in the national rankings.

Now the significance: There was one moment about five minutes after lift off that revealed the fundamental difference between this real flight into space and the short suborbital hops that Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic did in July.

The three most critical moments of any launch had just been completed. The first stage engines had cut off, the first stage had separated successfully, and the single upper stage engine had ignited. It was now lifting the capsule towards orbit, with the only major technical task left were its engine cut off and the separation of the Dragon capsule.

At that moment John Insprucker, principal integretion engineer for SpaceX and frequent host during its launch live streams, made a quick comment that was clearly meant to illustrate the vast difference in achievement between this flight and those two July suborbital flights. He said,
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Father whose 16-year-old healthy son died right after getting COVID vaccine banned from social media

The new dark age of silencing: A father has been banned by GoFundMe and Twitter when he tried to raise money to make the public aware that the COVID vaccine carried its own risks, and might even have killed his healthy 16-year-old son, who died from an enlarged heart only days after getting the shot.

GoFundMe banned Ernest Ramirez for sharing “prohibited conduct” on the crowdfunding platform. His so-called unacceptable behavior was fundraising for his late son, Ernesto Jr., who died from the Pfizer vaccine on April 25.

The father used the page to explain how his only 16 year-old son was in good health, and regularly played baseball since he was 7 years-old. Advertising claimed the vaccine is safe for adolescents, and convinced him to book-in Ernesto Jr. for the jab on April 19. Five days later the teenager died from a dilated heart. “My son received the vaccine and he died a few days later, and the only explanation that was given to me was an enlarged heart,” Ramirez said according to Life Site News. “I love the hell out of my country but I do not trust my government anymore.”

Many people started donating to the grieving Texan. However, the father became outraged to learn GoFundMe had shut down the page and returned all proceeds back to donors. [emphasis mine]

The point is not that the various vaccines might be dangerous (that is not yet proved, though the evidence is beginning to strongly suggest they carry risks especially for young men). The point is that this poor man was blacklisted merely because he was saying things GoFundMe and Twitter did not like. Who gave them the final say on what we discuss about these vaccines? Where was it written that only their opinions are allowed?

If anything, the more discussion on this subject, the better. If the anecdotal evidence that suggests there are risks gets seen by enough people, the outcry might force some real research that will tell us for certain if those risks are real or not. Silencing the discussion only causes more distrust (as illustrated by the highlighted words above), and might even permit the use of unsafe drugs for longer than necessary.

Yet, silencing now is our leftist elitist class’s standard operating procedure, to the point of not allowing a grieving father to raise some important questions about the medicine that might have killed his son.

Our bankrupt “betters” cannot allow such questions. They are not interested in open debate. They only want everyone to kow-tow to their dictatorial demands, and will do whatever is necessary to silence dissent.

I say, do not shut up. Do not comply. Make them sweat. Make them scream. The left’s inability to debate rationally and with intelligence only leaves them open for defeat, if only people are willing to challenge them. And now is the time to challenge them. Later will be too late.

Russia launches another set of OneWeb satellites

Using its Soyuz-2 rocket Russia today successfully launched another 34 OneWeb satellites, launching from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

At the time of publication about half the satellites have successfully deployed. The rest should be released within the next hour or so.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
22 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

With this launch Russia has now matched its total launches from last year, with three months still to go and a number of launches in ’21 on its manifest. For Russia’s launch industry, 2021 looks like it will be a good year.

The U.S. continues to lead China 33 to 31 in the national rankings.

Today’s blacklisted American: Professor who uncovered academic incompetence has been forced to resign from Portland State University

Liberty and freedom banned
No liberty at Portland State University. Photo credit: William Zhang

The new dark age of silencing: Peter Boghossian, one of three professors who revealed the incompetence and bad scholarship that now permeates academic culture by writing and getting published a fake paper in 2017 that claimed the penis was merely a “social construct,” has finally been forced to resign from his position at Portland State University in Oregon because of the never-ending harassment and slanders that he has been subjected to by both faculty and staff there.

“Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State filed formal charges against me,” Boghossian wrote in his statement. ”Their accusation? ‘Research misconduct’ based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who accepted our intentionally deranged articles were ‘human subjects.’ I was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human subjects.”

The school subsequently barred Boghossian from conducting research.

But according to Boghossian, he suffered far more abuse on campus than merely being sanctioned for his prank. “I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit on and threatened by passersby while walking to class,” he wrote. “I was informed by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes. And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation.”

…He also noted he was once the subject of a baseless investigation that tarred him as someone who commits violence against women. “My accuser, a white male, made a slew of baseless accusations against me, which university confidentiality rules unfortunately prohibit me from discussing further,” Boghossian wrote. “What I can share is that students of mine who were interviewed during the process told me the Title IX investigator asked them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.”

Boghossian apparently had had enough. However, he is not running away, but instead leaving to form a new organization to specifically fight the close-minded and oppressive culture that now dominates most universities like Portland State.
» Read more

Make concrete on Mars using human blood?

What could possibly go wrong? Scientists at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have developed a new formulation that can use material known to exist on Mars, combined with the addition of astronaut blood, to produce useful concrete.

Working with simulated lunar and Martian soils, the team experimented with using human blood and waste products as binding material, and turned up some interesting results.

The work showed that a common protein in the blood called serum albumin could be used as a binder to produce a concrete-like material with compressive strength comparable to ordinary concrete. In investigating the mechanisms at play, the team found the blood proteins “curdle” to form “beta sheets” that extend outward to hold the material together.

Even more interestingly, the team found that urea, a waste product found in urine, sweat and tears, could be incorporated to increase this compressive strength by more than 300 percent. That is to say, the key to cosmic concrete stronger than what we have here on Earth might be found in our blood, sweat and tears (and urine).

This work was inspired by ancient building techniques, which often used pig blood in concrete for similar reasons.

Though a lot of this makes sense, especially the utilization of waste products like urine, the idea that future colonies will tap the blood of their citizens for construction purposes raises so many moral questions I can’t list them all here.

For example, let me throw out one possibility should no one think about this too much on Mars. Why not use this need for blood as a method of criminal punishment? Do something the ruling powers think is wrong and we will suck your blood from you to build the colony!

The moral consequences of our actions require long careful thought. Unfortunately, long careful thought simply no longer exists among today’s intellectual and political classes. Instead, they make almost all their decisions off the cuff, based on what “feels” right to them. You merely have to watch the many interviews of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year to see what I mean. Nothing he says about masks or mandates is really based on new research or data. He merely throws out an opinion that feels right, at the moment. Thus, he contradicts himself repeatedly, and most of his advice has been worse than useless, resulting in so many unexpected negative consequences they almost cannot be counted.

Try to imagine the horrors that could take place in a colony on Mars, where resources are in short supply, should construction require the use of human blood and the leadership there approaches its problems with the same cavalier attitude toward moral consequences? I can, and it chills my own blood to the core (no pun intended).

Today’s blacklisted American: Man demoted, essentially fired, for simply requesting religious exemption from COVID vaccination

They’re coming for you next: The superintendent of the Cartwright school district in Arizona, Dr. Lee-Ann Aguilar-Lawlor, immediately demoted William Bishop from his job as director for buildings and operations to that of a substitute teacher, essentially firing him from regular employment, because he had simply requested religious exemption from getting the COVID vaccination.

When he made his request the school district never even responded to it. Instead, they demoted him.

Bishop is being represented by First Liberty, the same legal firm defending the two Alaska Airline flight attendants fired for daring to ask questions. From their letter to Aguilar-Lawlor:

Cartwright’s actions are particularly indefensible because: (1) it already granted at least one nonreligious exemption from the mandate; (2) its demotion of Mr. Bishop will bring him into far more contact with students and other staff, thus contradicting the district’s presumed rationale for refusing to grant his accommodation request; (3) it chose not to impose its mandate on teachers, those most in contact with students and staff; (4) 21 percent of district employees remain unvaccinated; and (5) Mr. Bishop has natural immunity and his doctor advises against receiving the vaccine.

In other words, Bishop’s demotion was arbitrary and capricious, a clear case of blacklisting by Aguilar-Lawlor. She was punishing Bishop because he wasn’t meekly bowing to her will.

What really should happen is that Aguilar-Lawlor should be fired, because she has now demonstrated a bias and incompetence that makes her unqualified for her job. She clearly is bigoted against the religious, and is willing to take petty but very harmful action to hurt such people.

Rick, stating the truth in Casablanca
Still asleep, and tragically, they refuse to wake up.

This unfortunately is almost certainly not what will happen. People like Aguilar-Lawlor are now in power, and they will do everything possible to maintain that position, including smashing their fist into the face of anyone who questions them.

Worst of all, they will get the enthusiastic support of too many people, all of whom are willing to treat others as scum because they live in fear of a virus with a survival rate exceeding 99%, even if you aren’t vaccinated against it! And their power will be further enhanced by the millions who have decided this isn’t their problem, and will simply look the other way. “Someone else will help that poor woman being raped.”

DC swamp moving to cancel Trump effort to cut red tape at FAA?

The inspector general of the Department of Transportation has instigated an investigation into the FAA’s recent effort, inaugurated during the Trump administration, to reduce the air space shuttered during launch operations in order to allow more launches with less interference with commercial air traffic.

“Over the past 5 years, FAA has gone from licensing about one commercial space launch per month to now licensing more than one launch every week,” Matthew Hampton, the assistant inspector general for aviation audits, said Wednesday in a memo announcing the probe.

The audit was requested by the ranking members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation, Hampton said in the memo. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words are important. The “ranking members” in the House are Republicans. It appears members of the party supposedly in favor of free enterprise have decided to panic after the relatively minor flight deviation due to high winds that occurred during the Virgin Galactic suborbital flight in July, and are now working to shut down the FAA’s effort to launch more rockets while keeping commercial aviation functioning.

The recent decision to begin shrinking the restricted air space around launches results from the increasing sophistication of rockets. Though new rockets — such as the recent launch failures of Astra’s Rocket-3 and Firefly’s Alpha — do fail and require self-destruction during launch, the launch and flight termination technology today works quite well in better controlling the rocket. When something went wrong during both of these recent launches, the rockets compensated so that they were able to continue to fly to a much higher altitude, where the range officer could more safely destroy them. In the past, failing rockets such as these would have gone out of control, threatening a larger area both in the air and on the ground.

Thus, there now is less need to restrict as much space, unless you have the fantasy that you must rig things so that nothing can ever go wrong.

This fantasy has fueled the entire Wuhan flu panic. It rules the minds of many Washington bureaucrats and politicians, from both parties, who repeatedly declare that “If we can save one life, we must!” Meanwhile this vain effort fails in its main task, since things still go wrong, and the overwrought effort to overly protect people ends up doing more harm than good by squelching all achievement.

It now appears there are Republicans on both the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation who believe in this fantasy. No wonder the Democrats always win in legislative battles. They have many hidden Republican allies.

Door-to-door canvas of voters in Arizona finds extensive evidence of vote tampering

A door-to-door canvas of voters in Maricopa County in Arizona, conducted by an organization independent of the audit being done by the state legislature, found extensive evidence of vote tampering in the count of mail-in ballots..

An estimated 173,104 “missing or lost” votes were reported by canvassers who went door-to-door verifying registration and voting information for thousands of residents.

According to the report: “These are American citizens living in Maricopa County who cast a vote, primarily by mail, in the election and yet there is no record of their vote with the county and it was not counted in the reported vote totals for the election. Additionally an estimated 96,389 mail-in votes were cast under the names of registered voters who were either unknown to the residents of the registration address or who were verified as having moved away prior to October 2020.”

A large percentage of in person voters also had “mail-in” ballots counted in the election, the canvas found.

The canvas visited about 12,000 voters in Maricopa county, so the estimates above are extrapolations of the data actually obtained. You can read the actual report here [pdf] .

In going door-to-door, however, the canvas appears to have compared what was actually recorded by the board of elections with what the voters themselves now claim. While it is possible that when asked months later how they voted voters could misremember whether they voted by mail, in person, or even at all, it is unlikely that so many would get it wrong. The numbers thus strongly suggest that something fishy was going on in the county election board in tabulating these mail-in ballots, either because of incompetence or downright dishonesty.

That the county’s board of elections has stonewalled all investigations adds considerable weight to this conclusion.

The report’s main conclusion however is the most important. We should ban mail-in voting, as it puts one’s vote in the hands of additional third parties, at the post office and at the election boad, any one of whom can take actions to negate or change your vote.

Vote in person. Throw away that mail-in ballot. Stop making it easy for crooks to cheat.

Today’s blacklisted American: Two flight attendants fired by Alaska Airlines for asking questions

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: not applicable to Alaska Airlines
The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Apparently Alaska Airlines thinks
it doesn’t apply to them.

Lacey Smith, a former flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, found herself fired from her job when she did exactly what Alaska Airlines had requested, joining the company’s online discussion group debating its decision to publicly support a leftist bill in Congress that religious people have concerns about.

What horrible thing did Lacey Smith do in that discussion group? She simply asked a question.

Alaska Airlines issued a statement on the employees’ message board declaring support for the “Equality” Act—the deceptively named legislation that’s currently stalling in the Senate. As First Liberty [the legal firm defending Lacey] has explained, this bill poses a serious threat to religious freedom if it becomes law.

As a Christian, Lacey has concerns about the ramifications of the “Equality” Act—as do millions of Americans.

So, when Alaska Airlines invited employees to comment and ask questions about the company’s support for the “Equality” Act, Lacey took the opportunity to respond on the company message board.

She asked, “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”

This was all she did, ask this one simple question, doing exactly what the company requested. The result? According to the video at the link,
» Read more

Facebook and Ray-Ban selling sunglasses able to take pictures also

Your privacy belongs to us! Facebook and Ray-Ban have teamed up to create sunglasses that the wearer can use to discreetly to take pictures of their surroundings.

The Ray-Ban Stories eyewear features two 5-MP front-facing cameras for 2,592 x 1,944-pixel photos or 1,184 x 1,184-pixel videos at 30 frames per second.

A capture button is pushed to snap photo memories of what you see on your stroll through the city on a hot and sunny day, or record 30-second video clips to post online to such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok via a new Facebook View app for iOS and Android. The app also allows content to be edited or enhanced before upload, and saved to the phone’s memory, though the smart glasses do have enough built-in storage for more than 500 photos or 30 video clips. Or users can opt to for hands-free operation via Facebook Assistant voice commands.

The article describes several features that supposedly address the questions of privacy, such as led lights that glow when a picture is taken, but in the end these glasses are essentially a voyeur’s dream.

Without question such products have their legitimate uses, such as by undercover journalists or criminal investigators. To market them to the general public however means that both Facebook and Ray-Ban are willing to ignore concerns of right and wrong and the likelihood that their product will be badly misused for entire immoral reasons. All they care about is profit.

Or maybe the two companies are really developing this product to sell a more secretive version to their allies in the government. One does wonder.

Rocket Lab negatively impacted by New Zealand’s Wuhan panic lockdowns

Capitalism in space? Rocket Lab reported this week that not only has its income been slashed because of New Zealand’s draconian lockdowns in fear of COVID-19, the company has had to cut its planned launches for the fourth quarter of 2021 by more than half.

“Operations have experienced disruptions due to some of the most restrictive COVID-19 measures globally, including current stay-at-home orders which prevent launch operations from taking place,” said Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, of New Zealand’s current restrictions. “Indications are that the current lockdown restrictions may ease by the end of September with the delta cases dropping in New Zealand, but this, of course, is subject to change.”

Those restrictions have delayed plans by Rocket Lab to perform three dedicated Electron launches of BlackSky satellites that had been scheduled to begin in late August. It could also affect the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE lunar cubesat, which had been scheduled for no earlier than late October on another Electron from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Adam Spice, chief financial officer, said that the company has five Electron launches manifested for the fourth quarter of the year, but is assuming only two launches in its financial projections. While those five launches would produce more than $40 million in revenue, the company is forecasting only $17-20 million in revenue for the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the company has not been able to launch from its new launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia because NASA — after almost two years! — has apparently still not approved the company’s flight termination system, used to destroy a rocket that has gone out of control. NASA’s refusal to approve this system is very puzzling and very suspicious, especially because Rocket Lab has launched 21 times with it from New Zealand, and even used it several times to successfully destroy failing rockets.

Smoke and fire alarms in Russian ISS module Zvezda

In the middle of the night prior to a successful spacewalk by two Russian astronauts to begin the outfitting of the new Nauka module on ISS, fire alarms sounded in the Zvezda module, and both astronauts smelled smoke.

The incident, which the Russian space agency Roscosmos said happened at 1:55 a.m. GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday) ahead of a scheduled spacewalk, is the latest in a string of problems to spur safety concerns over conditions on the Russian segment. “A smoke detector was triggered in the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station during automatic battery charging, and an alarm went off,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said “the smell of burning plastic or electronic equipment” wafted to the US segment of the station, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a NASA broadcast.

The Russian crew turned on a filter and, after the air was cleaned up, the astronauts went back to sleep, Roscosmos said.

It appears that because all the systems on the Russia portion of ISS continued to function normally, the Russians did no investigation. Or if they did, they have not revealed what they found. Nor has NASA provided any information.

In their history the Russians have experienced a number of fires on their various space stations. Some burned out without consequence (as it appears this recent one did). Others required aggressive action to bring them under control, as occurred on Mir several times. This history has apparently made the Russians somewhat nonchalant about such things.

That the issue was in Zvezda, however, which has a serious structural stress fracture problem in its hull, should be cause for a greater concern. Is this burn event related to the stress fractures? If I was an astronaut on board ISS I would surely want to know.

Launches by China and Russia

Both Russia and China successfully completed launches yesterday. Russia launched a military reconnaissance satellite using its Soyuz-2 rocket. China in turn launched a communications satellite using its Long March 3B rocket.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
21 SpaceX
14 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. still leads China 32 to 31 in the national rankings.

List of lawyers for fighting mask and vaccine mandates

A new website has been established listing all the law firms available for fighting the Biden administration’s new Nazi vaccine mandates. As stated at the site:

[M]ost people (i.e. the people who just do what they are told by their employer, the government, or the narrative) do not know the law, so they believe that vaccine and mask mandates can be enforced. However, this is not true. This is when you will have to push back and contact an attorney to get advice.

I hope this helps you because now is the time to stand up to this kind of injustice and draconian medical tyranny. [emphasis mine]

The site not only lists a number of national legal organizations for filing lawsuits, it lists law firms, by state, that have said they will take these cases. It also adds this:

If you are Part of a Law Firm that would like to be added to The List, please email us at contact@fightthemandates.info.

As the website states, now is the time to stand up and fight. No more nice guy. Challenge these thugs, led by Democrat Joe Biden, in every way possible. Do not submit. Do not agree. Make them sweat.

I have never worn a mask, and continue to refuse to. Though this has denied me healthcare (no eye surgeon who does cataract surgeries nor will any lung doctor see me), I will not bow to this idiocy. I am now finding that some doctors will back down if I push hard enough.

Make them back down. Make them aware that their mask policies and new vaccine requirements are evil and you will not comply. You might not win, but if you do not fight you will have lost before the battle has even begun.

Today’s blacklisted American: Unvaccinated Americans should be denied health care, according to television show host Jimmy Kimmel

Coming to your town in America soon!
Rounding up the unclean unvaccinated: What Jimmy Kimmel wants.

Genocide is coming: According to television show host Jimmy Kimmel, people who have not gotten the Wuhan flu shots, whether by choice or medical necessity, should be denied access to health care in hospitals.

“It was not a fun Labor Day weekend COVID-wise,” Kimmel said in his post-holiday monologue. “Dr. Fauci said if hospitals get any more overcrowded they’re going to have to make some very tough choices about who gets an ICU bed.”

He added, “That choice doesn’t seem so tough to me. ‘Vaccinated person having a heart attack? Yes, come right in, we’ll take care of you. Unvaccinated guy who gobbled horse goo? Rest in peace, wheezy.‘” [emphasis mine]

So much for the left’s endless mantra, “Healthcare is a right!” Kimmel is a typical leftist who deep inside is really “a totalitarian screaming to get out.” He now thinks it is okay to treat some humans as subhuman, because they happen to have made some decisions in life he disagrees with.
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NASA now targets December 18, 2021 for launch of Webb

NASA today announced that it and the European Space Agency have scheduled the Ariane 5 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope from French Guiana for December 18, 2021.

The agency set the new target launch date in coordination with Arianespace after Webb recently and successfully completed its rigorous testing regimen – a major turning point for the mission. The new date also follows Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The July launch was the first for an Ariane 5 since August 2020.

Launching before the end of ’21 will allow NASA to claim that Webb is only be ten years behind schedule, not eleven. The cost overruns however remain astronomical (no pun intended). Initially budgeted at $500 million, Webb is now estimated to have cost $10 billion.

Once launched the telescope will take about six months to slowly move to its Lagrange point location about a million miles from the Earth, in the Earth’s shadow. During that time it will also be steadily deploying its many segmented mirror for infrared observations (an important detail as Webb is not a replacement for Hubble, which does most of its observations in the optical wavelengths).

Should deployment and placement go as planned, Webb will undoubtedly do ground-breaking astronomy, especially in the field of deep space cosmology. If anything should go wrong, any repair mission will take at a minimum five years to mount, if ever.

Keep those fingers and toes crossed!

Report: NASA’s bad management of infrastructure projects routinely leads to cost overruns and delays

A report released today [pdf] by NASA’s inspector general has found that NASA’s management of its infrastructure projects — designed to replace or upgrade existing facilities — is badly organized and routinely leads to cost overruns and delays.

According to the report, NASA has been spending about $359 million per year on its infrastructure for the past five years, about $1.8 billion. And what have we gotten from this spending? This quote from the report sums it up nicely:

Of the 20 [Construction of Facilities] projects we reviewed, 6 incurred significant cost overruns ranging from $2.2 million to $36.6 million and 16 of the projects are 3 months to more than 3 years behind their initial schedules. Costs increased primarily because requirements were not fully developed by the Agency before construction began, requirements were not fully understood by contractors, and contract prices were higher than originally estimated. Delays occurred because projects faced postponed start times and changing requirements, among other reasons. Finally, NASA did not provide effective oversight to determine whether the Agency’s portfolio of [Construction of Facilities] projects met cost, schedule, and performance goals. [Facilities and Real Estate Division] has failed to consistently keep up with oversight requirements of approved and funded projects and current oversight guidance does not align with Agency facility goals. [emphasis mine]

But don’t worry. Congress is about to pour several more billion dollars into NASA’s coffers for infrastructure work. I am sure the agency will figure out ways to go overbudget and behind schedule with this money as well.

For more than twenty years I have seen government-run projects fail miserably, across the board, Whether it be big rockets, high speed trains, military actions in foreign countries, foreign intelligence, or health policies in response to new viruses, our government routinely fails, its effort quickly falling far behind schedule while costing many times its initial budget. Worst of all, the final product is often useless or completely unable to achieve its initial stated goals.

And yet, Americans don’t seem to notice. We still turn first to government for everything. Too many of us depend on the CDC for our health advice, though its advice has been repeatedly mistaken, inconsistent, or just plain wrong for years. Others think NASA is the only one who can build and launch a manned space mission, though almost all of its in-house manned projects have been disasters for decades.

And above all, we must use our military to shape and reshape nations worldwide, though our military has done poorly in almost every war it has fought since World War II.

There are exceptions to all this, but the overall pattern is clear. As Tucker Carlson said recently, “We are led by buffoons.”
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Today’s blacklisted American: Head of software game company forced out because he expressed a pro-life opinion

The Bill of Rights cancelled at Tripwire
No freedom of speech allowed in the software
and gaming industries.

They’re coming for you next: John Gipson, the co-founder and president of the software game company Tripwire, has been forced to step down because he had the nerve to issue a single tweet expressing support for Texas’s new anti-abortion law.

The tweet quickly generated intense controversy. Many individual gamers called for a boycott of Tripwire’s games, sharing tips on how to hide listings for its products in Steam’s online game store or making donations to women’s charities in Mr Gibson’s name.

Supporters of the Texas law also responded, with the original tweet clocking up nearly 13,000 replies.

But Shipwright Studios, a “work-for-hire” studio that contributed to some of Tripwire’s games, wrote it was ending a three-year relationship because of Mr Gibson’s comments. “While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse you entangle all of those working for and with you,” Shipwright Studios said. “We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership… [and] will begin the cancellation of our existing contracts”.

Tom Banner studios, the creator of one of the games that Tripwire publishes (Chivalry 2), also came out condemning Gibson, as did several of his partners at Tripwire.

So what evil thing did Gibson say? Here is the entire content of his tweet:
» Read more

Update on status of first orbital Starship/Superheavy

Capitalism in space: The first planned orbital Superheavy booster, prototype #4, has been moved back to the orbital launch site, this time with all of its 29 engines fully installed.

It appears SpaceX engineers are about to begin an extensive test campaign of this booster and its engines. They need to test the fueling of all 29 engines. They need to test fire the engines as a unit. And they need to do a full static fire of them all to see if they will work together as planned.

All these tests, which based on SpaceX’s past pace, will likely take about three to four weeks, which means that the orbital test flight cannot occurr before the end of September, as previously guessed. More likely they will not be ready to fly before the end of October, at the soonest.

That schedule is also impacted by the FAA’s bureaucracy, which still needs to approve the environmental assessment required before any Starship orbital flight. That approval process has been ongoing, but could still take several more months, especially if the effort by some fearful environmentalists to stop the flight gains political momentum.

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