June 3, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic rages on… with 105,000 American deaths attributed to the virus. More than 40 million Americans have lost their jobs thanks to government economic restrictions.
Hundreds of thousands continue to protest across America… against police brutality, economic inequality, and for the idea of an equal America for all.
But as the protests continue, they have turned increasingly violent. Riots and looting are tearing apart cities. Thousands of businesses have been ransacked. In response, police lines have taken much more aggressive tactics – even against peaceful protestors. And multiple police officers have been targets of what we can only call assassination attempts.
It is clear that something is wrong in America.
You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the nightly news without feeling as though the fabric of civil society is being torn apart.
And while these protests are nominally about policing in America, the true root cause of this widespread social upheaval is much bigger… and more important. As we noted a year ago…
It’s been a decade since the global financial crisis. And yet 40% of Americans – including middle-class families – still struggle to afford housing, utilities, food, or health care according to a recent report from CBS News…
The finding is striking given the U.S. has experienced a decade of economic growth since the recession ended. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in half a century, and the stock market has enjoyed a decade-long bull run. But for many Americans, incomes haven’t kept up with the rising cost of necessities.
Today, of course, the rosy employment situation has reversed. And for many Americans, the only thing they see more of each year is debt.
We have called it a “historical betrayal”… as the institutions you have depended on, relied upon – governments, banks, newspapers, schools – are failing you.
We will delve deeper into what we believe is the true cause of American despair soon.
But today, we attempt some optimism as we look to a small triumph for America from this past weekend. Stansberry Research Digest editor Corey McLaughlin writes…
A Perfect Time to Leave Earth
By Corey McLaughlin
On Saturday afternoon, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley blasted off the planet from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on board a SpaceX rocket bound for the International Space Station – 254 miles up in the sky.
It was a historic day for two big reasons…
It was the first time a private company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, launched NASA astronauts into space. And it was also the first time a crew left Earth via American soil at all since 2011.
For years, NASA astronauts have been hitching rides with Russian cosmonauts to the space station… reflecting an era of innovative stagnation, hesitation, and bureaucracy in U.S. space flight since the Columbia disaster, which killed seven astronauts during a reentry from space in 2003.
Musk, also known as the polarizing founder of Tesla (TSLA), started the company in 2002 with the crazy idea of colonizing Mars… putting a base on the moon… and having millions of people fly to both places from Earth, as if it were a flight from New York to Los Angeles.
As Musk said in a press conference on Saturday night after the successful launch…
This is hopefully the first step on a journey… of life becoming multiplanetary for the first time in the 4.5-billion-year history of Earth. That’s seeming increasingly real with what happened today.
We’re not living on Mars yet, of course, but people seem interested. NASA said that more than 10 million people watched the launch of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 over the weekend.
It was a welcome break that gave us a strange sense of normalcy amid an endless stream of chaotic images on the mainstream news. To that point, Musk said…
This is a day that everyone can be proud of. This even is something that all of humanity can get excited about it. It’s a fundamentally positive, good thing. We need more positive, good things in this world.
NASA’s broadcast included live feeds of the cockpit. Behnken and Hurley, a pair of former military test pilots, were mostly along for the automated ride, but they did test manual controls while docking the spacecraft with the space station on Sunday…
The events also included fresh footage of one of SpaceX’s signature “reusable rockets” landing in routine fashion on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This might be video that you’ve seen before, but it wasn’t always a given…
You see, during a “normal” NASA launch, the “first stage” of the rocket – the most powerful and most expensive part – has usually just broken off and dropped in a freefall back to Earth, crash-landing somewhere in the ocean… never to be seen again.
SpaceX reinvented this standard aspect of rocket-launching over the past two decades… The company designed technology to guide the first-stage rocket back to Earth in a controlled descent so it can be used again.
Just like we reuse commercial airliners or cars, reusing rockets saves time, money, and critical components. It’s a phenomenal piece of evidence for Musk’s dream business concept of flying people all over outer space on a daily basis.
Yet not long ago, SpaceX was best known for exploding rockets…
When the company started experimenting with Musk’s idea of reusing rockets and landing them back on Earth in 2013, the early results made for an absurdly funny video of the failures…
There were explosions on the ground and in the air, as well as rockets that tipped over sideways like candles falling in the wind.
But these repeated failures, followed by commitment to the plan when no one was watching, is precisely what led to Saturday’s breakthrough event with millions of viewers.
Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut and senior adviser for SpaceX, spoke about Musk’s approach during a presentation at our annual Stansberry Conference in Las Vegas in October…
That was the key to making this happen, [Elon] was OK with failure. Not only did he encourage us to be OK with failure, he pushed us to failure.
If you do an engine test, and say, “We passed, we’re good to go,” he’d say, “That’s great, now go back and fire it hotter, faster, higher, until it blows up. Go break that thing. I want you to go fail and then tell me how much it can really take.”
At this point, the “reusable rocket” idea is almost an afterthought to the operation. That’s a testament to the routine… It has been successfully done at least 50 times.
Private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin – headed by Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos – provide the technology, testing, and resources to actually build the rockets and take on the liability. (If anything went wrong Saturday, you can bet SpaceX would have shouldered most of the blame, not NASA.)
In the meantime, entities like NASA train the astronauts and bring their facilities and experience to the table. It’s a match made in space heaven. And this private-public partnership became a necessity to actually get things done…
Reisman told attendees at our conference in October that since the Columbia tragedy, NASA’s whole identity was upended.
First off, operations were shut down for two years. And after that, engineers needed to get approvals on proposed items or changes from up to several boards, which essentially acted as “filters.” The bureaucracy stifled innovation, according to Reisman…
What’s the best way to design something if you want to get through this process quick and inexpensive? Just do the same thing you’ve always. That’s where we ended up, with very little innovation.
We didn’t really have the freedom to fail anymore, and it was largely because of the accidents we had over time. After Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, we got less and less willing to fail – even in testing and development, where you need to be a bit reckless and push the boundaries in testing. Otherwise, you never do anything great.
Now, we can’t discuss space any further without talking about the ‘Space Force.’ This newest branch of the U.S. military announced by President Donald Trump in December has actually been doing some interesting things in its short history. And the stakes couldn’t be larger…
NASA’s primary mandate from the White House is to put humans on the moon by 2024. And in the meantime, plenty of other projects are ongoing.
Even though reusable rockets and human spaceflight are what make headlines, satellites actually hold the key to the future in space. That’s where companies are lining up to land government contracts…
In March, the Space Force launched its first rocket in the name of national security. The mission was to complete a “constellation” of military satellites… On May 16, the U.S. launched a robotic X-37B space plane into low-Earth orbit to complete a “secret” mission.
In the March issue of Stansberry Innovations Report, Dave Lashmet wrote about this mission. And he also outlined what the Space Force will actually do…
The Space Force will control our military and intelligence satellite launches, plus protect our assets in orbit. As such, it has two main missions…
The first is offensive. It will compete to control space as a U.S. observational post. It’s almost a throwback to World War I, when the balloon corps used binoculars to see troop movements.
The Space Force’s second mission is defensive. It must protect those satellites.
And it’s wasting no time getting started…
One of the Space Force’s big early tasks is to find the best partners to launch satellites into orbit and to construct the next generation of military technology – technology that will keep us ahead of our enemies and competitors.
So there’s money to be made in space – on Earth. Saturday’s high-profile launch was technically not a “Space Force” mission. But you could call it that by association…
Right now, four companies are competing to be the launch provider for the Space Force from 2022 to 2025… SpaceX is one of them. But if you’re looking to make money with this company in the public markets, you can’t right now. It’s not publicly traded… at least not yet.
But you can make money with others right now…
For example, two of the other three companies in the “launch provider” battle are publicly traded. And a bunch of others could be in line for lucrative government contracts as we delve deeper into the final frontier and look down at Earth with more technology.
Trillions of dollars will be made in the space industry, starting this year.
In the Stansberry Innovations Report, Dave and editor John Engel have identified the companies best-positioned to deliver big space-related returns – including one of the largest, most stable, publicly traded leaders in space technology… and a little-known American company that could have 1,000% upside.
Now here are some of the stories we’re reading…
P.J. O’Rourke Brings His Son to the 34th Space Symposium
I brought Cliff to the Symposium because I want him to become a more worthwhile person than I am, though I suspect he already is. His thoughts are more worthwhile. Standing and staring millions of miles into the cosmos through the telescopes outside The Broadmoor makes me think what a small and insignificant person I am. Staring millions of miles into the cosmos makes Cliff think what a big and magnificent universe it is.
17 incredible photos from SpaceX’s historic mission to send NASA astronauts to the space station
“It’s great to get the United States back in the crewed launch business,” Hurley said at a press briefing from the ISS on Monday. “We’re just really glad to be on board this magnificent complex.” These are the best photos from the mission so far.
COVID-19 and the Collapse of Complex Societies
With the world experiencing the worst pandemic since 1918, people may be wondering whether our way of life is secure. Looking at how civilizational breakdown has happened before can help us understand what causes it, the forms it may take, and whether it’s in our future.
Global experts go head-to-head over claims the coronavirus ‘no longer exists clinically’
A very public dispute has broken out between some of Italy’s, and the world’s, most high-profile doctors after one expert claimed the coronavirus “no longer exists clinically.”
George Floyd’s brother says violence is ‘not going to bring my brother back at all’
In Minneapolis, Floyd’s brother, Terrence, made an emotional plea for peace at the site where Floyd was pinned to the pavement by an officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck until he stopped breathing. “Let’s switch it up, y’all. Let’s switch it up. Do this peacefully, please,” Terrence Floyd said.
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Publisher, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
June 4, 2020