Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
 

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652
 

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

 
Also available as an inexpensive ebook!
 

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 

Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.


"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

China to begin development of its own SLS rocket

The new colonial movement: Even as China struggles to fix the problems that caused the launch failure in July of its newest most powerful rocket, Long March 5, it is about to start work on a new heavy-lift rocket, Long March 9, that will be able to lift 140 tons into orbit and make it more powerful than the Saturn 5 and comparable to the still unbuilt most powerful version of SLS.

Meanwhile, this article reveals that the reason engineers lost control of Tiangong-1, their first space station module, was because of the failure of the charger for the spacecraft’s batteries. Essentially, the module has no power.

Interestingly, this is the exact same thing that happened to the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station in 1985. In that case, however, the Soviet Union had the time and the capability to put together a manned rescue mission where two cosmonauts docked with the dead station and brought it back to life.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

8 comments

  • LocalFluff

    A Chinese SLS? How is that possible? Has the CIA infiltrated their space program to sabotage it??

  • Cotour

    In 15 to 20 years by their own words and clearly visible actions the Chinese intend to be strong enough to retake Taiwan and many other regions including the entire China sea.

    And we essentially paid for it all, what will we do if and when this takes place? And now they have the heaviest lift rocket. What will we do? Imagine if there is another Obama type, a philosophical Marxist / anti American or worse president in office when it all goes down.

  • Mitch S

    Wonder if Russia is capable of performing the same kind of mission today?
    (The US certainly isn’t)

  • Cotour

    And as a coincidence on the subject of China and its plainly stated aspirations I just noticed this story:

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/chinas-30year-deadline-to-rule-the-world/news-story/70f62a5bc0e4580b83d5ca89a2479e94

  • wodun

    Cotour
    October 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    And now they have the heaviest lift rocket. What will we do? Imagine if there is another Obama type, a philosophical Marxist / anti American or worse president in office when it all goes down.

    What will we do if they have a super heavy lift launcher? We will probably just shrug our shoulders because it isn’t likely to be cost competitive with American companies. If the COTS like approach continues, it wont much matter what China or another Obama tries to do because American, and partner nation, companies will have a strong foothold in space doing a wide variety of activities.

    What will we do if they invade Taiwan? I assume we will do whatever we can. Part of China’s planning has been to focus on a quick invasion and delaying American response. They think if they can prevent us from getting there until the bulk of their forces are deployed that we wont do anything.

    For all the talk of Trump failing to live up to our obligations, he is the one standing up to NK and finishing business with Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Obama that threw our allies under the bus. Taiwan has more to worry about a future Obama than Trump.

  • Edward

    LocalFluff,
    You asked: “Has the CIA infiltrated their space program to sabotage it??

    I assume you mean to sabotage the Chinese space program, because the last time a country copied an expensive US rocket system, that country went out of business two or three years after its only flight. The Space Shuttle was expensive for the US to operate, and its duplicate, the Buran, was too expensive for the Soviets to fly more than once. Maybe even to fly the one time.

    Now we have the even more expensive SLS, and the Chinese are following along. If the past is prologue, then three years after the Chinese first launch (perhaps 2030), that country should also collapse. If the CIA convinced China to foolishly follow in the Soviet Union’s footsteps, then well done them.

  • Tom Billings

    What we see in this sort of behavior by China is another example of clinging to an agrarian culture while trying to use industrial tools, …very much like the Alabama congressional delegation in the US. In agrarian cultures the government’s hierarchies are the basic decision-making units of society. The industrial society growing around the world relies on networked people to make decisions to enhance productivity, rather than to enhance the position of a hierarch in his/her hierarchy.

    A huge expendable rocket is planed by a Chinese government hierarchy, while a smaller investment is lined up by a Chinese company to copy the reusable technologies being demonstrated by SpaceX and soon by Blue Origin. I know which *I* think will be the better investment of Chinese dollars, for China, but I know which will keep China’s Politburo members pumping more money into the Chinese space hierarchy as well.

    The crucial point is that the CIA only had to stand by and let the hierarchs do what they do naturally. As Napoleon once said, ..”When you see your opponent about to make a mistake, …do not be so rude as to interrupt him!”

  • LocalFluff

    China already has the heaviest launcher, the Long March 5 takes more to orbit than the Delta heavy. It hasn’t worked properly yet, but that is normal for the first couple of launches, see Ariane 5 for example, now the most reliable launcher in the world. And the Energia/Zenith/Buran system was beautiful. The US should’ve scuttled its painful STS shuttle already in the early 1990s and bought the Russian system instead. Much cheaper and safer and more capable and flexible. Would’ve gotten the SLS capable Energia for free. Launching a shuttle when a shuttle needs to be launched (to retrieve a satellite) and launch crew when crew is necessary for a space walk (which is rarely) and even then launching with only two crew members who have ejection seats, saving most of the lives lost in space flight.

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