Adventure capitalism

Unlike VSS Unity, the local blat goes into orbit.

Christ, what a bunch of homers.

How is “rich guy does something you can’t” in any way “historic?”* That’s what I call “business as usual.” Just another limo ride for Sir Richard Branson.

Back In the Day®, working people rode the lightning to heaven. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a lap around the planet in April 1961. The next month, American astronaut Alan Shepard became the second man in space, a quick suborbital trip up and down.

Soon, North American X-15s were being carried aloft by B-52s, set free to fly to the edge of space and beyond, then return to earth. Thirteen missions met the Air Force criterion for space flight, and eight pilots scored astronaut wings.

Moon landings, shuttle flights, space stations all followed. We were on the edge of great things, and then we stepped back.

If we hadn’t been so busy croaking each other down here on terra firma we might all have condos on Mars by now, and we could tell Elon Musk to piss off when he came calling. Private property, bub. Try Venus, I hear it’s a fixer-upper.

So don’t talk to me about “historic.” If you overlook the non-essential personnel, this trip would have seemed very familiar to the Mercury astronauts and X-15 pilots.

The only thing I find remarkable was that somebody managed to drive a vehicle out of New Mexico and back again without getting pulled over by la migra. But then it was a white guy driving, so no worries.

* Sheeyit. NPR also called this wankfest “historic.” I may have hysterics.

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55 Responses to “Adventure capitalism”

  1. SAO' Says:

    The name “Unity” really cracks me up. Like, we’re all in this together? That ain’t passing the sniff test.

  2. SAO' Says:

    Fun fact: Branson and Mark Knopfler were knighted on the same day. Although, only one of them made the world a better place.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Not to mention, Patrick, that all the working class stiffs in this state are subsidizing that so-called spaceport so that billionaires and their minions can have playtime in space. Talk about trickle down economics. We get whatever the playboys flying off in their rockets piss down their legs.

    Rob from the poor to give to the rich. I thought that was the GOP mandate, and here we are living in a blue state.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My dear fellow, this is the Invisible Hand of the Free Market at work for you and me. Why, soon, for the low low price of just 250,000 fish you too can take a 15-minute ride into Sir Dick’s private Disney World.

      Of course, if flying Unity is anything like flying United, I’ll give it a miss, thanks all the same.

      When pigs fly ... to space.

    • khal spencer Says:

      The NASA moon program heavily funded SUNY Stony Brook’s geoscience program when I was a grad student there; some of my support came via grants from NASA. Not to mention, you can probably imagine the thrill we grad students got out of of analyzing and experimenting on moon rocks and their synthetic analogs to discover the geological evolution of the moon.

      That was far more excitement than anything these billionaires provide me.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I was nuts for the space program when I was a kid, as I’ve said a thousand times before. Launched Estes model rockets, had non-flying models of the various space capsules, X-15s, and whatnot. Autographed pix from astronauts.

        My brother-in-law got some of his grants from NASA too. His work got a whole lot tougher when that money started drying up.

        It just drives me witless that we keep taking the same baby steps, over and over again. It’s cool to send smarter and smarter bots out there, but still, damn. Where’s my second home on the moon? I know a lot of people want me to have one.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      Government incentives. You know, giving tax money to rich people and corporations in exchange for an IOU written on a worn out NFL T shirt. The people in T&C are probably saying, “we should have bought a Tesla battery factory.”

  4. Pat O’Brien Says:

    The live stream was a 90 minute commercial to owners of barrier island megabuck condos.

  5. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    As long as we’re being critical of the local media, have a squint at this here. Actual news one can use proves elusive in the avalanche of buzzwords, jargon, and hype.

    To quote George Carlin: “There’s enough bullshit in the media for Texas to open a branch office. And you’d still have enough left over to start two law firms and a Christian bookstore.”

    • khal spencer Says:

      Senator Heinrich continues to not impress me.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      That is some serious, grade A, top drawer, world class, state of the art, and worthy of emulation bullshit. I think Heinrich gave a bull a maneuver but on the wrong end.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      CEO Casey Anglada DeRaad is right there in the photo finish, too:

      “The location will amplify our ability to develop products, services, and collaboration spaces that enable New Space companies to enter, innovate, and thrive in the new space era.”

      It’s too early to tell who’ll win the brown-spotted Bullshit Jersey in the Tour de New Space.

  6. Stan Thomas Says:

    On the plus side, Branson’s rocket doesn’t look like an enormous prick and he did give us Tubular Bells.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good points. The Bezos blaster looks like a huge dingus, which should surprise absolutely no one.

      “Tubular Bells” still gives me the ya-yas nearly a half-century after I saw “The Exorcist.” That flick did my drug-soaked brainpan absolutely no good at all. I walked downtown from my Mill Street hovel in Bibleburg to see the movie at what now is the Kimball’s Peak Three, in the dead of night, and it scared all the mary-joo-wanna right out of me. I wasn’t even Catholic, f’chrissakes.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        First movie I ever walked out of in the first 30 minutes. Ballad Of Buster Scruggs broke that record. Didn’t make it 20 minutes on that one.

        • Shawn Says:

          I must ask Pat; why was it that you walked out on Buster Scruggs? I really enjoyed it. But then I periodically enjoy comedic story lines about what are normally intense, serious issues. It reminds me that the heart of these issues really isn’t funny.

          As has been noted before, Tom Waits was the cagey miner in one of the Scruggs film shorts.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            Good day Shawn! I think it was because I wasn’t ready for it that day. The couple we were with weren’t ready either. Would I try it again? Maybe by myself some afternoon. But, after the last 4 years, I am more inclined to watch a Mel Brooks or Marx Brothers flick.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I enjoyed “Scruggs,” but then I’m a Coen Brothers fan. It was a tad dark, save for Waits singing “Mother Machree,” but sometimes that’s just how they roll.

          “Inside Llewyn Davis” was another such. Not a ton of light moments in that one.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            A tad dark? When the fingers started flying, I wondered what was next. And when the dramatic actor with no arms or legs appeared, I started thinking OK, I get it, sorta kinda, but I ain’t ready for it today. It was giving me a brain cramp.

  7. khal spencer Says:

    Man, oh, man. You should see the comments in the NY Times article about this. Talk about backlash against the billionaires.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      How can I phrase this to not be offensive? Billionaires going to space can pound sand up their collective asses. Want to productively spend your money? Go to Doyle, California and help folks rebuild their houses. Nah, let’s spew more CO2 in the air to be weightless for 4 minutes. And the NM taxpayers picked up $200M of the tab. Someone please explain this lunacy to me. Sir Richard my ass.

  8. JD Says:

    Hola Amigos: I’m aiming to start a similar, but free, fun ride experience that might just share some insights into what our many protectors/servers/volunteers do every day.
    You can join the military; do a “ride along” with your local police; do the same with your local firefighters; also see if you can do a 24-hour shift with an ER friend; visit homes for a week with a social services provider; spend a day or two in a classroom with a teacher and respond to after-hours emails from helicopter parents; volunteer to coach a youth sports activity; spend a few days serving food or spending nights supervising at a homeless center; etc.
    Or, if you want to experience zero G (and barf) eat a heavy meal and hang upside down for an hour.
    Otherwise, just enjoy the many videos that will promote the $1/4 Million opportunity.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hmm. Instead of Disney World, you offer Real World. This will be a tough sell. We’ll need a top-notch marketing firm. Might I recommend the firm of B. Fogg, Muddy & Obfuscate?

  9. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I figgers if’n ya want to piss your money away then go right ahead. Maybe some poor blighter can make some bucks off your ego fueled bender. But as has been pointed out in this here blog some of MINE and YOURN tax dough somehow got in on this here spectacle. Now mebbe there be a payback down the trail for us here folks but I ain’t a seen no good mansplainin on that yet.
    We’ll alright then, I’m done flapping my lips and will go back to working my claim.
    Herb the Ancient Miner out East A’ways

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Y’dern tootin’, Skeeter. We’ns is old fellers on fixed incomes and don’t need no doggone consarned citified sonsabitches pissin’ it away so’s they can ride they roman candles up to where they can pert’ near tickle God’s beard.

      They is another space they can explore and with my blessing, too. It’s in the other direction and they won’t need they winter coats down to there neither.

  10. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Did you sway a little a minute ago?

    • Shawn Says:

      I thought it was just flatulence emanating along the internet waves from somewhere in Albuquerque. POG did you eat beans again last night?

  11. Dale Says:

    Back in the day it was all the same. Yuri topped Dick by orbiting; Shepard topped Dick by doing in before him. What was old is now new – big deal.

  12. SAO' Says:

    Condos on Mars: We started watching For All Mankind a couple of weeks ago. I’ll never be one of the cool kids, so “binge watching” in our house means one episode every three weeks. It’s fine so far. Like every Apple TV+ show, the lighting and camera work is almost annoyingly good, while the writing and acting are mixed bags.

    But the premise is interesting. If we hadn’t been first to the moon, would we have executed a “we’re num 2 but we try harder” approach?

    At the end of the day, it’s logistics and entropy. Still seems like it’s would be easier, cheaper, and safer to build cities underwater than to move to another planet. You just can’t shuttle 7 billion on rockets, even if you can cram 100 on board. Just don’t let Mr Sparky and RotoRooter wire and plumb the place.

  13. Shawn Says:

    Speaking of Britney Spears. Did you hear…?

    Hey somebody had to make sure her name is logged into POG’s infrastructure and stored away forever on some goggle cloud site.

    But the better story is Lachlan Morton’s. He’s the real TDF champion. He’s taken back riding the TDF route to the early days of racing. Apparently his last cruise into Paris was 576km. Wow. I bet a Brooks saddle would cringe at trying to break in his butt.

  14. Dale Says:

    Off Topic:
    Woody Guthrie born on this day in 1912. This space is your space, this space is my space from…

    You know the rest.

    • Shawn Says:

      From Alpha Centari to the Horsehead Nebulae
      From the Pillars of Creation to the Andormeda Galaxy
      This universe was made for me and I.

      There ain’t no freedom highway up here.
      You’re just gonna have to stay where you’re at
      and work out the problems on your measly planet yourselves
      This space ain’t made for you and I, together.

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