Capitalism in space: Northrop Grumann’s Cygnus freighter yesterday arrived at ISS, bringing with it four tons of supplies plus a new toilet.
The unpiloted cargo ship was loaded with four tons of supplies and equipment, including crew food and clothing, experiment hardware and material, the virtual reality camera, the new toilet and even samples of Estée Lauder skin cream that will be used in a commercial photo shoot for the company’s social media platforms.
The $23 million toilet, or “universal waste management system,” is smaller and more sophisticated than the station’s current potty and includes modifications to make it easier for female astronauts to use.
Next up for ISS are two manned missions later this month, first a Soyuz bringing a crew of three, followed by the second SpaceX Dragon manned mission, bringing a crew of four. In between the present crew of three will return to Earth.
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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