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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

A detailed review of Virgin Galactic

Link here. The article not only provides a thorough review of the company’s most recent test flight and what it did and did not accomplish, it takes a look backward to reevaluate Virgin Galactic’s history, including the many engineering problems in the past few years that have slowed development and risked lives.

The most shocking aspect of this story is this fact:

The fact that VSS Unity was broken was never disclosed to Social Capital shareholders who approved the merger, or to investors who bought the stock after the merged companies went public under Virgin Galactic’s name on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 28, 2019.

The source who revealed the near-fatal February 2019 flight to Parabolic Arc questioned whether withholding that information from shareholders was legal under securities laws. A number of law firms have launched investigations into Virgin Galactic recently. Their primary focus seems to be the steep drop in the company’s stock price earlier this year. (It has rebounded sharply since the flight test.) But, perhaps they will carefully review the company’s public disclosures regarding the condition of VSS Unity.

In reviewing the building competition between Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin to fly the first commercial passengers, the article also confirms many of the same observations I have made about both companies.

Read it all. It shines light beyond the pr blather that you will get from most modern media as they rewrite press releases.

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One comment

  • Jeff Wright

    Barnstormings’ End. If I really wanted to be ugly-I’d say this is the result of the toxic-level libertarianism of fighter/pilot culture-though part of me likes their low-tech religion. What we see here with the end of shuttle-and this piece-is the triumph of ballistics over wings.

    There are many rivalries in the cause of space:

    Public vs Private,
    Military vs Civilian,
    Solids vs Liquids,
    Pressure-fed vs Pump-fed,
    kerolox vs hydrolox vs methalox.
    Solar vs Nuclear,
    NTR vs NEP,
    human vs robotic.. but the winged vs capsule debate has long been influenced by “The Right Stuff” and the Orion Spaceplane scene from Kubrick’s film. Now it is my opinion that all these rivalries have their merits. There are inter-service rivalries within the military-even though each branch alone has a far larger budget than NASA does in order to pursue their own unique capabilities-though Space Force should make much of the logistics-heavy Defense Dept. obsolete. In point of fact-spaceflight has always been under-funded…and the handful of space-interested billionaires spoken for. I therefore call upon all space advocates to STOP attacking each others projects. Musk took gov’t money and works with the FAA, which is itself evolving. The go-it-alone approach, coupled with Branson’s insufficent support/passion-are at fault. Capability-not ideology!

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