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.
After a ten-month lull in flights following the previous test of Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard launch system, the company conducted a launch and landing of the fully reusable booster and capsule duo. Following weather-related and technical issues during a window late in September, the flight took place from the company’s West Texas facility — near Van Horn, Texas — on Tuesday morning at just after 8:35 AM CDT / 13:35 UTC.
This mission, also known as NS-13, saw 12 commercial payloads launched to the edge of space and back, including a NASA-developed sensor suite that could enable future lunar landing craft to perform safe and precise touchdowns on the surface of the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis exploration program. As in the name, the NS-13 mission was the 13th test flight of the New Shepard launch system, and the first such flight of 2020.
What happens next with New Shepard remains unclear. Blue Origin officials had previously said they would do three test flights this year, with the last manned. Now it appears that manned flight will slip into ’21, but will use a new spacecraft/booster, the fourth built during New Shepard’s development.
I have embedded the video of the flight below the fold, cued to begin just before launch.
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