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.

Falcon 9 Dragon launch to set used booster turnaround record

Capitalism in space: The planned launch on June 29th of Dragon to ISS will set a new turnaround record for a used first stage, just over two months.

This first stage is not a Block 5 first stage, it is the last older Block 4. What this quick turnaround means for the upcoming Block 5 launches however is important.

Although CRS-15 will likely see its venerable Block 4 Falcon 9 booster expended in the ocean without a recovery attempt, the speed of Falcon 9 B1045’s refurbishment is thrilling for another, more abstract reason: if the design functions largely as intended, a Falcon 9 Block 5 booster should be able to handily crush that already impressive record with ease, and one will perhaps do just that within a handful of months of this launch.

Currently scheduled for no earlier than (NET) July 19 and late July to early August, the Telstar 19V and 18V communications satellites will require their own Block 5 launches roughly a month from today, and July 20’s Iridium NEXT-7 mission will further require its own Falcon 9 Block 5 booster for a mission from California. It remains to be seen what boosters will launch those three missions, as well as an additional two SpaceX missions tentatively scheduled for August and September.

In other words, there is a very strong likelihood that SpaceX will be reusing its Block 5 boosters almost immediately this summer.


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  • fred k

    Getting close to the shuttle turnaround record of 54 days.

  • David Eastman

    As the article and your comment at the end kind of suggest but don’t directly state, SpaceX’s launch manifest for the next few months exceeds their demonstrated ability to provide boosters. Given the usual flow from production, through testing at McGregor, and then delivery to the launch site, static fire, etc, they can’t possibly meet their schedule with the current production queue, and will only meet it by re-using at least one booster in less than a month. So either one or more launches is going to slip, or we’re going to see a major step forward in re-usability demonstrated.

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