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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Elon Musk and another watchdog group suggested on Friday that there was a quid pro quo in the awarding ULA its bulk buy military launch contract.

Elon Musk and another watchdog group suggested on Friday that there was a quid pro quo in the awarding ULA its bulk buy military launch contract.

Musk, citing an article by the Washington-based National Legal and Policy Center, suggested Thursday night on Twitter that the Pentagon inspector general should investigate the actions of former Air Force civilian Roger “Scott” Correll. Earlier this year, Correll retired from his post as the Air Force’s program executive officer for space launch, where he wielded enormous influence in awarding a multibillion-dollar contract for 36 rocket launches over the next several years, shooting sensitive national security equipment into space.

The contract went to a company called United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of the nation’s two biggest weapons contractors — Chicago-based Boeing and Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. Earlier this month, Correll took a job as vice president of government acquisition and policy with Aerojet Rocketdyne, the company that supplies the rocket engines used by United Launch Alliance.

Correll’s hiring certainly illustrates the “old boys” network in operation here. Whether there was direct corruption is not clear. Nonetheless, the bulk buy contract is not in the interests of the taxpayer or the Air Force, at least not at the prices announced.

Readers!
 

I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.


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.


Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652
 

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.

7 comments

  • Pzatchok

    I can see this contract getting canceled due to political pressure alone.

    If the guy doesn’t lose his new job and or get investigated for illegal activities.

  • Kelly Starks

    >.. certainly illustrates the “old boys” network..

    Another factor is simply its a small community to hire out of. Execs “do their tour” in gov to help out, then go back and get a real job. Course then everyone kinda has the same assumptions…makes the same errors..

  • Pzatchok

    Its not assumptions its fact.

    And it should be illegal.

    Most engineers and many people who sell a business sign non competition agreements. Meaning that they can not go to work in the same field with a competitor or start a new business in the same field.

    All of these government agents involved with government contracts should sign the very same thing. A contract risking their retirements and benefits if they accept a job with a government contractor within 5 years or so or quitting their government job. And since its the public money they play with then criminal charges should be also be possible if the value of their total contracts breaks a certain limit, like a million dollars.

    Simple law, simple solution. It would remove one of the rewards that lobbyists dangle out.

  • Kelly Starks

    >>Course then everyone kinda has the same assumptions…makes the same errors..

    > Its not assumptions its fact.

    No I mean the same assumptions about designs, organizations, etc.

    > And it should be illegal.

    By “it” I assume you mean execs or engineers in the field “doing a tour” in gov agencies to help them out. If you make it illegal, then gov would never get any qualified or knowledgeable people. Folks might “do a tour” out of a sense of public service, but they certainly aren’t going to give up their careers for it.

  • Pzatchok

    We don’t need quality engineers as you put it.

    Government jobs like NASA should disperse money and hire specialists for single specific jobs.
    Leave the heavy work like research and design to private companies and universities.

    You work for the US government with an idea of retiring from there.
    You don’t go to work for the US government like its a temp agency until you get a good enough job offer.

    By stopping them from going to work with companies that they had direct contract negotiations with you only stop the possibility of corruption.
    They can go to work with any number of other companies or go into other fields. Or they can take a job in the government outside of the field they want a private job in. That way there is no conflict of interest like in this case.
    Hiring the government employee who negotiated and approved your companies government contract just looks bad. And in all other professional fields would not be tolerated.

    If you hired a lawyer to negotiate a contract with a company and the day after he advises you to sign it he gets hired by that very same company you could take then both to court and have the contract nullified.
    Which should be exactly what happens when a company hires someone who negotiated a contract for the government.

  • Kelly Starks

    > We don’t need quality engineers as you put it.

    Then how do you hope to get decent analysis of engineering proposals? That was why back during Apollo NASA made sure it had top folks in every important field, even though none of said scientists and engineers would do science or engineering as NASA personel.

  • Kelly Starks

    Ah hit send to quick.

    >..Government jobs like NASA should disperse money and hire specialists for single specific jobs.
    >the heavy work like research and design to private companies and universities. ..

    They do. Pretty much always had when possible. They provide specialized facilities at the centers, but their are very few NASA employees doing the work (say 5%) though that raises the problem of what do you do when mandatory contract recompletes come up, and say the whole shuttle operations staff lose the rebid for a newer company proposing to restaff with cheaper folks — naturally none of which have any experience with shuttle operations?

    >..You work for the US government with an idea of retiring from there.
    > You don’t go to work for the US government like its a temp agency until you get a good enough job offer.
    >
    > By stopping them from going to work with companies that they had direct contract negotiations with you only stop the possibility of corruption….

    And you eliminate the possibility of getting any really experienced person in any of those tasks. Why perminently kill a real career, for real money, to become a civil servant bureaucrat?

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *