Burning the Superships


Image: Smithsonian

Though I am not a fan of Bob Zubrin or going to Mars I have to admit a chapter in his book “The Case for Mars” changed my worldview. The Chinese burning their exploration fleet of giant sailing ships was, for me, a very important lesson- though many of these history lessons I believe are so important seem to not impress others so much.


The Business Insider article tries to make a connection with Trump¬† and infers that if China had gone Neo-liberal back in the 15th century it would rule the world now…which I think is complete garbage. I thought I would preemptively address that view because I am not talking about how great commerce and money is: I am going the other way.

For the last ten years the “NewSpace Mob” has been waging a marketing campaign that invariably portrays NASA as a corrupt wasteful organization that is keeping private industry from expanding humankind into the solar system. This is a purely Orwellian horror story the public knows very little about. The reality is NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

The effect of this Ayn-Rand-in-space Neo-liberal con may likely end up being much like the Chinese burning their Superships. Only a state-sponsored public works project on the scale of the Panama Canal or the Hoover Dam is going to enable independent off-world colonies. The media has been completely hijacked and even public forums where critical views are supposedly allowed are now closed to any criticism of the flagship company or the NewSpace ideology. I know this well because I have been banned from almost all of these forums and the few that occasionally allow me to comment have recently stopped doing so.

If anyone reading this needs proof they need only read recent articles from sites that are essentially SpaceX infomercials.


Ars Technica has dozens of articles damning the Space Launch System https://arstechnica.com/search/?ie=UTF-8&q=SLS

There is a short list of popular space blogs and newsites of about a half dozen and ALL are in the business of damning NASA and promoting SpaceX. Some of them do this subtly and others are blatant, but they all are obviously promoting the NewSpace flagship company. Even a few that seemed neutral have recently joined the rest:

More SLS Overruns–This Time the Ground Segment

SLS: $17 Billion And Counting, with First Launch Still a Year Away

This has been going on for ten years and those who were in their early teens are now adults and completely programmed by these years of propaganda to readily agree that it would be best to dismantle the space agency and “hand it over to Musk.”



Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

8 thoughts on “Burning the Superships

  1. I support both SpaceX and NASA. Shutting down NASA and handing it all over to Musk makes no more sense than loathing SpaceX because they’re trying to build Starship. NASA has important talents and abilities that should be well-funded.


    1. It makes perfect sense to “loathe” spacex because their toxic fanboys and endless hijacking of all public forums will likely be the main reason NASA is shutdown. The decade long infomercial of the Musk cyberthugs has contaminated all public discourse. Strip mining Earth orbit to pay for shiny starships to Mars is….a bizarre and pernicious scam.


  2. Why would NASA be shut down? It’s had bipartisan support in Congress for decades, and they don’t seem inclined to listen to SpaceX no matter what they do. I wouldn’t be worried about any idiot fanboys who want the agency shut down.


    1. Listen Greg, if Musk buys influence, just like he did in 2008, and the government decides it can save money by reducing NASA to a shell of it’s former self by “handing it over to Musk”- then with public support (or indifference) it can happen. The process of NASA bashing by Ayn-Rand-in-space libertarians has been going on non-stop, full tilt, for a decade. You can deny it but I have watched it from the beginning. The damage done by NewSpace to public opinion is vastly underestimated. That the strip mining of Earth orbit with Starlink and that monstrosity the toxic dragon is happening is proof.


  3. This doesn’t seem to correlate. If Musk bought any influence, he failed miserably, given the establishment of the SLS program, and the inclusion of Orbital ATK in ComCargo, and Boeing in ComCrew. NASA is a huge entity with centers spread across multiple states – I don’t see Congress ever deciding to ‘hand it over to Musk’ given his well-known penchant for vertical integration. That doesn’t offer enough jobs to satisfy them. Sure, there are absolutely people bashing NASA and demanding it be shut down. They don’t have much power though.

    I don’t understand. How is Starlink strip mining Earth orbit any more than the tens of thousands of objects (including numerous spent rocket stages) already up there? Why is the Dragon toxic? The propellant configuration doesn’t count.


    1. In 2008 evidence for ice at the lunar poles should have pointed the space agency back at the Moon. Instead, due to campaign contributions, SpaceX going to the space station to nowhere was the focus. The Moon became verboten because the hobby rocket could not go there. Musk built spacex almost from the ground up by way of that campaign contribution. Starlink is a gamble that is going to fail but it will first likely place thousands of pieces of junk in orbit. And the toxic dragon…over a ton and a half of hypergolic propellants wrapped around the crew is a bad design. But when you have the power and influence nobody is going to throw the B.S. flag on your unwise schemes and poor design philosophy. The SLS was simply resistance to his attempts to take everything because of constituents. Politicians need votes…as well as campaign contributions. I am stating what is obviously true while you are just saying you don’t see and don’t understand. Try.


  4. You know, you can look up how much money Musk donated to Obama. It was on the order of $2,500. That’s hardly a rounding error compared to his big donors – the University of California, Goldman Sachs, Harvard, Microsoft, Google, and so on – all of which donated many hundreds of thousands. $2,500 doesn’t really buy you any influence at all. Plus, it certainly didn’t buy him any influence with the Augustine Commission, who were the ones to recommend shutting down Constellation. Your claim that F9 can’t send payloads to the Moon is patent nonsense, and even sillier because the SLS also can’t send payloads to the Moon. Because of NASA’s unwieldy mission design it will only deliver payloads to NRHO. NASA can do far better if the politicians would only allow it, and they can do far better without having to rely on SpaceX. You could do a manned lunar program with Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy, or soon Vulcan and New Glenn. Paul Spudis himself said a 40-60 tonne payload capacity (which New Glenn hits well) would be excellent for building up a real lunar surface base.

    Why is Starlink going to fail? That’s a big claim with no supporting evidence. As for hypergolics, those are well understood, and have been close enough to kill astronauts (if they failed) for decades. Dragon isn’t a big issue except to someone who simply loathes SpaceX.

    Why do you want NASA to be saddled with SLS when it could use New Glenn and Vulcan/ACES, and accomplish more for the same cost?


    1. Yeah, been through this before with spacex fanboys a hundred times. It is always the same. He gave a lot more than that and is subsidized to the tune of over 4 billion dollars- and you can look that up. F9 cannot send a lander to the Moon like Saturn V- you are the one babbling nonsense. The same NewSpace nonsense that anything NASA can do the private sector can do with hobby rockets that the Musk fanboys have regurgitated endlessly for years. NASA’s unwieldy mission design? Really.

      And you don’t need to be putting words in Paul Spudis’ mouth. You should not have done that. So, Goodbye Greg. You are not wasting any more of my time.


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