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’s Long March 5 rocket successfully launches

In what appeared to be a picture perfect launch, China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5, successfully placed a test communications satellite into orbit.

This success follows two previous launch failures in 2016 and 2017, and a redesign of the rocket’s first stage engines that caused a two year delay in China’s space program. It now opens the door for China’s entire manned and planetary program, as they require the Long March 5 (or variations thereof) to lift their space station modules and all their planetary probes. I have embedded an english broadcast of the launch below the fold. The launch is about 54:00 minutes in.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

32 China
21 Russia
13 SpaceX
8 Arianespace (Europe)

China now leads the U.S. 32 to 27 in the national rankings.

At this point there is only remaining one launch for this year that is publicly scheduled, from Russian.

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One comment

  • Dick Eagleson

    The time-of-day display in the data bar displayed above the control room footage seemed to correspond to this mission but I was amused to note the “2017-07-02” date. Xinhua seems not to have updated that date since the previous, failed, launch of LM5. That would be consistent with staffers repeatedly walking in front of the cameras which was also much in evidence. Overall, Xinhua seems to be notably more amateurish in its production values than all but the worst community access cable programming in the U.S.

    The Chinese space agency, though, deserves props for those too-brief parts of this webcast under their control – especially the rocket cam footage of strap-on booster separation and the tracking cam footage of the resulting “Korolev Star.” I would award a few demerits for the uninteresting mounting angle of the rocket cam in the 2nd stage engine bay. The Gordian Knot of engine tubing and wiring was far less interesting than a more inclined angle – ala SpaceX practice – that showed more of the engine bells would have been.

    Still, a better effort at ascent coverage by quite a bit than the recent Starliner mission. The Chinese space agency at least seems to grasp the fact that there is a mass public out here that really likes to see POV shots of rocket ascents and other key mission events. ULA gets this, but it seems to be a fact of which Boeing remains completely unaware.

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