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.

Antares launches; Falcon 9 aborts

Of the two launches scheduled for tonight, Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket was the only one to launch, lifting off on schedule at 9:16 pm (Eastern). This was the company’s third launch this year.

SpaceX’s launch however aborted at T-2 seconds. No word on why the rocket’s computer’s shut down, or when they will reschedule.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race remain unchanged:

25 China
15 SpaceX
10 Russia
4 Europe (Arianespace)

The Antares launch however puts the U.S. back into a tie with China, 25-25, in the national rankings.


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  • Richard M

    A few hours ago, Elon tweeted a terse explanation: “Unexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator.”

    Lord, was it frustrating to see that clock hit T-2 and . . . nothing. Still, I know a scrub beats a RUD.

  • sippin_bourbon

    They must be having difficulty with the cause, or the repair, as the re-scheduled launch for tonight just got pushed to the 5th.
    They now have two scheduled for the 5th, one in the AM, one the PM.

  • Edward

    sippin_bourbon wrote: “They must be having difficulty with the cause, or the repair, as the re-scheduled launch for tonight just got pushed to the 5th.

    I see this differently. Having a set launch date suggests to me that they have a plan for corrective action.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Ideally, yes
    However, I do not know what the posting of these dates are based on.

    Is it presumed repair/readiness of the vehicle, or is it simply the next window based on the target orbit and an assumption that it will be fixed by that time?

  • Edward

    sippin_bourbon asked: “Is it presumed repair/readiness of the vehicle, or is it simply the next window based on the target orbit and an assumption that it will be fixed by that time?

    It is based upon a reasonable plan to correct the problem by the scheduled launch time.

    Due to the large amount of coordination that is necessary between multiple institutions, launch dates are not set willy nilly but based upon the readiness and scheduling of all these institutions. If SpaceX does not have a reasonable expectation of being ready on a launch date, then a lot of work can be done without reasonable expectation of a launch.

    The Delta 4-Heavy that is currently trying to launch does not yet have a new scheduled launch date because they don’t know when they can reasonably expect to be ready, so there is no reason to schedule all the facilities, equipment, and personnel. Let all those people get other work done while ULA resolves their issues.

  • sippin_bourbon


    I get what you are saying.
    I initially saw what appeared to be new launch time/dates, but then saw them pushed.

    Hence my question.

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