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.

How NASA’s bureaucracy intends to maintain control over space exploration

How NASA’s bureaucracy intends to maintain control over space exploration. More here.

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. 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.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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


If Paypal doesn'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


  • This is laughable. NASA seems unaware that their rules only apply to US companies. A company has only to set up shop offshore, as at least one already has, and start launching. If the several designs for SSTSO can be upgraded to SSTO, or fully reusable (I.e. Virgin Galactic’s vehicle) used for orbital insertion, then ISS won’t be the only destination for long. NASA increasingly comes across as a petulant organization watching their monopoly slip away. They’ve done magnificant things, but it’s time for them to step away from the manned space launch business.

  • Joe2

    What is laughable is that the source of the angst over these crew requirements is coming from the supposed ‘private’ space companies that are taking government money to support the development of their hardware.

    Here is your simple solution: If you do not like the government requirements do not take the government money.

    Would have thought that would be simple for supposed Libertarians to understand.

  • Kelly Starks

    Nit: If your a US citizen, US law applies to your company, even if its not a US company, as long as your a citizen.

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 *