Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 427, July 22, 2007

"We are in a position to alter history."


Sovereigns of the High Frontier Society
by Jim Davidson

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

The three founders of our group, myself, John Wiltbank, and Ken Bollinger, met through Free State Wyoming at the second annual jamboree back in 2005. I had in mind Victor Koman's book Kings of the High Frontier when I came up with the group's name. Though, "kings" are of course gender specific, and I wanted a term that would also include women.

Do we intend to develop a space industry in Wyoming? We intend to develop private space projects and activities, which should lead to an expanded space industry, not only in Wyoming, but also elsewhere. We are not government enthusiasts, so we intend no state or national subsidies for space industry in Wyoming nor anywhere. We are a Wyoming not for profit group, so we are not lobbying for any particular legislation, nor are we campaigning for any candidates.

So, what do we intend to do? We intend to provide education and information about space for as many people in Wyoming as may prove to be interested. We intend to provide resources, including libraries, observatories, laboratories, and meeting halls, so that those who are interested can learn more, meet each other, and work together on projects of common interest.

Among other things, I wish to encourage people to get back into the hobby of flying model rockets—which is the hobby which led me to become involved in flying commercial space rockets as a job in 1989. So, I intend for us to give a model rocket kit to every new member for the first few years.

What have we done so far? We have started with what is in reach. In particular, we were able to get a very good deal on some land and a used trailer. We have recently paid to have the land cleared and leveled and the trailer moved to its new location. We are hooking up electricity and water to it, and we'll begin cleaning it up in a few days. We plan to add a high speed Internet connection soon. We already have books donated to the Sovereigns first library, along with a donated computer. All these resources are being made available in Newcastle, Wyoming for our first library and classroom facility. We plan an extensive computer lab inside, as well.

Several of our friends are working on personal observatories in different parts of Wyoming. We plan to add to these a small observatory at our Newcastle location, including small telescopes and a sundial. When our friends are willing to have guests, we'll announce the locations of their observatories and organize star parties in different parts of the state. As soon as possible, we plan to start formal classes, including classes on model rocketry, physics, math, astronomy, space science, business planning, and space business.

Ultimately, we plan to be a global organization with a Solar System wide reach. However, one does not build a stairway to the stars in a single day, nor climb those stairs all in one bound. Creating a culture of people determined to change how people perceive space, and who gets to be involved in space achievement, is a long process. Ultimately, I suspect we'll involve universities and preparatory academies in our plans to create such a culture.

What does this group have to do with liberty? Everything. I believe that a free people are best suited to explore the universe. I believe that a free civilization beyond Earth can do much trade and commerce with Earth-bound individuals to mutual advantage. I believe that prosperity is a key element to the success of liberty in our time, and that capturing the wealth of the Solar System is a good way to gain greater prosperity soon.

We live on a planet that is not a closed system. The resources here are not entirely of local origin. Most of our fuel and all of our food has origin in the Sun, in part. Understanding the Solar System as a whole is itself useful, and bringing its greater resources to bear on the business opportunities on Earth is already a source of economic opportunity.

What can you do to help? Visit our web site at to find out what we're doing lately and how to contact us. We are raising money to expand our facilities at Newcastle and to organize new classroom facilities elsewhere. If you have resources to donate, such as land, a room in your home or office, computers, telescopes, books, or services, we are eager to hear from you. If you would like our group to have a presence in your community, we are eager to hear from you. And if you have ideas on how to expand our reach, faster, we'd love to hear your ideas. But if you have no ideas, don't be ashamed to just throw money at us. We'll put it to good use.

I have spent many decades dreaming of space flight and wanting to be a part of it. I spent some of my early career 1986-1992 being involved in space flight, launching rockets, and becoming the first political prisoner for space tourism. Much of the time since 1968, when I first saw astronauts flying around the Moon, has been frustrating for me and for anyone who has wanted to go fly in space.

There is something different, now. It has been said that when it was time for steamships, many steamship companies were around. When it was time for railroads, there were many railroad companies. Clearly, these successful periods were not when the pioneering companies first got started. So, although the travails of space entrepreneurs who have suffered numerous outrages at the hands of government is a tale to tell, it is also important to remember that pioneers in any business are often noted for having arrows in their backs.

Today is different. There are many companies developing space tourism ventures. There are many companies developing space flight solutions. There are many opportunities now that weren't available before.

Which does not mean that we may be assured of anything. Just because Richard Branson wants to have a Virgin Galactic space tourism company does not mean he has not been opposed by the vicious thugs in government. In particular, I gather he was refused a visa for entering the USA to inspect Burt Rutan's design for his SpaceShip Two, because Branson is a foreign national. A knight, a wealthy man, a very respected gentleman, and certainly no threat to national security, but under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and other conventions, the USA can refuse entry to foreign nationals seeking to inspect rocket designs. Isn't that crazy?

Nor do I think we may be assured that Jeff Bezos, John Carmack, Jim Benson, Aleta Jackson, or Robert Bigelow's plans won't be thwarted by governmental idiocy. It has certainly proven to be a problem in the past for the likes of Arthur Kantrowitz, Gary Hudson, George Koopman, Gerald Bull, and others.

Victor Koman's vision of ordinary people forming teams and building space vehicles in their garages, in the deserts of Somalia, and in abandoned buildings in the South Bronx in his book Kings of the High Frontier was great fun. To get started on that sort of unstoppable revolution, I believe the world needs more physicists, engineers, astronomers, and technicians. I believe that dreams of space flight inspire many people who seek careers in these areas. And I believe Sovereigns of the High Frontier Society is part of making those dreams into reality.

Won't you join us?

Jim Davidson is an author, newsletter editor, gold enthusiast, entrepreneur, and computer whiz. He's involved in business enterprises in several different countries. His favorite today is


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