Germany’s space chief yesterday said he expected big battles in Europe over future funding for ISS and Ariane.
Ariane is a serious problem, as it is expensive and a money-loser, despite dominating the commercial market in recent years. And worse, it will be difficult to make Ariane competitive in the future:
ESA in 2010 hired an outside auditor to review the current Ariane 5 system to look for ways to save money. Its principal conclusion was that very few savings were possible without scrapping the forced geographic distribution of industrial contracts that preserves the political and financial support needed for the Ariane system.
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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