The analysis is detailed, thoughtful, thorough, and technical. It is worthwhile to read every word, slowly, carefully, and with an open-mind. The lead:
The SLS axiomatically cannot provide good value to the US taxpayer. In that regard it has already failed, regardless of whether it eventually manages to limp to orbit with a Falcon Heavy payload or two.
The question here is whether it is allowed to inflict humiliation and tragedy on the US public, who so richly deserve an actual legitimate launch program run by and for actual technical experts.
The best time to cancel SLS was 15 years ago. The second best time is now.
While this essay is brilliant, its real significance is that it is another data point in the growing sense I have that the Washington community is preparing itself for cancelling SLS at last. Such an essay would not have been written or paid attention to five years ago. I know. I wrote my own and got no traction.
Today attention is getting paid. More importantly, we are seeing a range of people and news organizations advocating similar anti-SLS positions, positions that would have been thought politically impossible only a few short years ago.
The clock is ticking on SLS. If any of its planned upcoming tests or flights fail, it will face a firestorm of hostility. And even if they succeed, its days appear numbered.
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
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