The new colonial movement: On May 15th China rolled out the Long March 7 rocket that on May 20th will carry the first Tianzhou cargo freighter to the already launched core module of its space station.
Tianzhou-2 will carry 4.69 tons of cargo in a pressurized segment and 1.95 tons of propellant, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
Meanwhile, the core stage, dubbed Tianhe, has successfully completed its on-orbit checkouts and has placed itself in the right orbit for the arrival of Tianzhou.
If all goes right with this cargo mission, China is targeting a June launch for the station’s first three-man crew, who will attempt to stay at the station for three months.
Do not expect much information to be released by China during these missions. Like the Soviet Union of old, and as they have been doing routinely since their space program began to gear up in the past decade, they will only make periodic terse announcements, all of which will contain only the most superficial of information. Only much later will more be learned, usually many years after the fact when its news value has vanished and it only concerns historians and space buffs.
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.
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