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.
 

China today launched a new communications satellite

The new colonial movement: Using its Long March 3B rocket, China today launched another communications satellite for the Asian market.

No word on whether the rocket’s first stages landed near residential areas, as has happened in the past. Also no word on whether it used grid fins to control its crash somewhat, as China also did previously.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

30 China
19 SpaceX
12 Russia
4 ULA
4 Europe (Arianespace)
4 Rocket Lab

The U.S. and China are now tied at 30 in the national rankings. This tie won’t last long, as the U.S. has three launches scheduled for the next three days, a ULA Atlas 5 launch of a military reconnaissance satellite tomorrow, SpaceX’s second manned Dragon launch on November 14, and Rocket Lab’s next commercial launch on November 15.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over
 

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.


Thank you again!


Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


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3 comments

  • Chris

    “SpaceX’s manned Dragon flight on November 14” – kind of ho hum.
    It’s good that it’s ho hum, but also remarkable that it’s ho hum.

  • David K

    Bob, you should definitely have a score board of people launched into space as well. I believe Russia is currently winning that race, but it may be heavily contested next year.

  • David K: My goal in keeping a launch scoreboard is to track the most important aspect of space exploration, the ability to get into space. Who is building rockets? Who is making them cheaper? Is the market expanding? This data tells us something significant about the future.

    Counting the numbers of people really doesn’t tell us any of that. It might be fun to do, but it is kind of a meaningless statistic, something you see in the sports world all the time.

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