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 review of China’s space program

Link here. The article covers China’s achievements in ’21, then reviews the status of its rocket development program. The key quote to me however was this, describing the upcoming plans for the assembly of China’s space station:

In 2022, China is expected to launch two more crew rotations to the Tiangong station using its Shenzhou spacecraft. The first, Shenzhou 14, is expected in May, while the second one will launch in November. Both missions will launch aboard Chang Zheng [Long March] 2F/G rockets. Two more modules for the space station are also planned to launch in the course of the year.

These new modules are the laboratory cabin modules (LCMs). The first is named Wentian, meaning Quest for the Heavens, while the second is Mengtian, or Dreaming of the Heavens. Both will launch on Chang Zheng 5B rockets, with Wentian currently scheduled to lift off in May or June, with Mengtian planned to launch in August or September.

This means that — assuming China has not reworked the design of its Long March 5B rocket — a large out-of-control core stage will be crashing to Earth in the the spring and late summer.


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  • Gary


    Have you yet detected any clues to an actual launch of this hypersonic missile. I keep seeing references on other sites and all they use for proof is that the DOD says it tracked the missile. No verification from anyone else. I point out that you have seen no independently verified confirmation of that launch. It seems to baffle some that we can’t accept DOD’s word on faith.

  • JhonB

    This is going to be fun to watch.😃

  • Gary: I have yet to come across any confirmed evidence anywhere that this launch happened. Period.

  • Jeff Wright

    To Gary

    It could be the ability to verify and event is a giveaway as to your location to observe said event…a way to reveal capability that amounts to a give-away of assets.

    I know, that sounds like a “just so” tale and obfuscation…but read how even KH-11 (Hubble turned inward) wasn’t a high priority—Dwayne Day has excellent articles on how space advocates weren’t listened to…while fighter jocks in the USAF and the USN got blank checks.

  • Jay

    Interesting article, especially the last section dealing with iSpace’s SQX-3 rocket and variants, which looks like a copy of the Falcon-9, the Falcon Heavy, and a four booster variant of the Falcon Heavy (Super Heavy?). Once change though, they are using liquid methane for the first stage and not kerosene like the Merlin. Are they trying to make a copy the Raptor which uses methane?

  • Jeff Wright

    They are looking at everything. Ming Han Tang (who worked on the M2F2 and YF-12 concepts) was looking at hypersonic craft with engines in the sides. Now, recent clickbait stories have images of the X-47 stealth drone…but I don’t think that is accurate. Remember Ron Miller’s book THE DREAM MACHINES? He had belly to belly spaceplanes atop Proton. Kosmos 881 and 882 were actually long-stem VA capsules with retrorockets and the escape tower in the same “stem” atop the craft. Two were launched atop each other on a Proton (spacers in the shroud/fairing.)

    Remember, ISS’ Zvezda, the Mir core block and Salyut started off as a Soviet MOL…Almaz..which had that cannon. Well instead of Gemini, they had that Stabilio like long stem capsule with a hatch through the heatshield. That was abandoned with a Soyuz/Progress docking port in its place. People often think the Nedelin disaster, N-1 explosions were the same. Early on, a German magazine had concept art depicting Buran as a lifting body, seeing as they had launched a small such craft…which may also have inspired Dream Chaser…but there was also Buran shaped BOR types, not just the 50/50 Spiral. Pentagon papers notwithstanding, I do think US military space advocates are spooked and it is NOT just a lie to seek funding. Space advocates HAVE been underfunded by liberals who want social programs and libertarians who want tax cuts.

    If you are an engineer…get used to the left and right both telling you “no”—-just for different reasons. That bi-partisan stupidity gave us Katrina. When engineers asked for money…both parties shut them down…then the politicos blamed the floods on the very engineers they ignored.


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