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.

Boeing fires CEO

Boeing today fired its CEO Dennis Muilenburg, citing the need to “restore confidence in the company.”

The company has had a very bad year, with the grounding of its 737-Max airplane, the cost overruns and delays in its NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and the failure of its Starliner manned capsule to dock with ISS this past weekend.

Whether this change will accomplish anything is hard to say. The problems above appear very deeply embedded within the company’s culture, and might require the kind of wholesale changes that big bloated corporations like Boeing are generally loath to impose.

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  • pzatchok

    They must have been talking about this since the 737 MAX failure to be re-certified.

    In the end his firing is just a show. He will be replaced with someone exactly like him.

    If they knew what the problem with the plane was they would have got them flying already. And they would have fired a few people over it by now. No one high up but more then likely someone hired in the last two years with little real responsibility.

  • Kyle

    Boeing’s problems run deep, they need to fire a whole lot more people for the MAX fiasco.

  • Cotour

    I have a general knowledge of this Boeing 737 Max situation and it really all begins with the attempt at adapting new and more efficient engines onto a plane that was not originally designed for them. The New engines, which give I think a 15% or more operational advantage, which Boeings main competitor Airbus has a similar plane that has a longer landing gear and a higher wing to ground clearance easily affords.

    This adaptation of the more efficient engines has caused a flight imbalance condition in the 737 Max and the computer control system that makes any compensations for that imbalance, adjusted by the tail surfaces, needed extra training to properly operate it as well as I believe there was a malfunctioning attitude indicator system. In my experience every solution designed for an existing design problem usually causes at least three new problems of varying degrees. I believe that they now have new programs and other solutions to compensate for it all.

    Boeing is a very strong company, but I wonder if a problem of this nature might become some kind of Black Swan event where problems keep building one on top of the other resulting in real long term fundamental company problems. Boeing as I understand it now has 400 planes in storage at a cost of $130 million a copy. And they are either out of service or not delivered. How does Boeing regain the confidence of the FAA first, and the flying public second? Plus I have no idea what the financial costs of those two crashes might be.

    I believe Boeings 787 last year failed a hull pressure test within 1% of maximum test pressure of their composite hull. Boeing just the other day failed to properly install their manned capsule into orbit.

    Is Boeing too big to fail?

    Maybe, but these are serious problems and who in the company is qualified to solve them? Who is that leader?

  • mkent

    pzatchok: No one high up? One of the previously
    fired was the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

  • Richard M

    At least Muilenburg was an engineer.

    His replacement is a private equity guy.

    This feels like a short-term patch for the next few quarterly earnings statements.

  • vaadu

    Firings should happen at the FAA too. They are equally responsible. The message needs to be sent to ALL government employees – you fail to do your job and you are gone.

  • pzatchok


    “If they knew what the problem with the plane was they would have got them flying already. And they would have fired a few people over it by now. No one high up but more then likely someone hired in the last two years with little real responsibility.”

    Firing the CEO does nothing to the rest of the company. How long could an organization like Boeing run without a CEO? Months and months. This was just symbolic. This was more than likely in the planning for months.
    In reality he knew this was coming and I bet he walks away with an pro athletes severance pay.

    Like I said. If they knew what the problem with the plane was they would have already started firing some mid level engineers or managers. People with direct hands on the project.

  • Cotour

    Developing Black Swan event?

    Its getting exponentially worse and not better.

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