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.

In order to lower costs, Lockheed Martin wants to get more American parts into the European-built service module for the Orion capsule.

In order to lower costs, Lockheed Martin wants to get more American parts into the European-built service module for the Orion capsule.

And why do they want to lower costs? It ain’t for the normal free market reasons you’d expect. Instead, the Frankenstein project that is SLS/Orion has the U.S. building the capsule while Europe builds the service module. However, Europe doesn’t want to spend the money to build two service modules. Instead,

for financial reasons, ESA prime contractor Airbus Defense and Space may provide only “one and a half” service modules, Larry Price, Lockheed’s Orion deputy program manager, said in an interview here.

“They may not complete both of them, depending on funding,” Price said. But “we think we can drive Europe’s cost down so they can deliver two complete service modules” by steering the European company toward American suppliers already working on the Orion crew module. “If we use common parts, they can be lower price,” Price said. He added that ESA is set to deliver a full service module for the 2017 flight.

Read the article. It better than anything I can say will make it clear how much of a dead end project SLS/Orion really is. The rocket costs more than $14 billion per launch, has no clear mission, and the contractor (Europe) for the capsule’s service module only intends to build one and a half. What will NASA do after that? No one has any idea, nor does anyone at NASA have any plans to figure this out.


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  • Pzatchok

    The whole thing is nothing more than a works project.
    Talk about corporate welfare.

    From the start to finish, from the top to the bottom its nothing more than a payout to corporations and other entities that have somehow benefited a few politicians.

    Why in Gods name are we paying someone in Europe to build parts for this when an American company could have do it? Is this just to keep the European Space Agency operating?

    Its like paying Russia to ship our people to the space station and never planning on doing it ourselves in the near future. Its just paying them to keep interested in the space station.

    Its total BS.
    The whole project needs scrapped and all the paid for parts that are built need to be shipped to NASA and sold off. No matter how close they are to completion. Cancel all contracts and stop all work.
    All the ‘saved’ money can either be spent on designing a new cheaper easier and faster to build manned space capsule or spent on already existing projects. But never again with the name SLS/Orion ever be spoken in NASA again.

    Its a total embarrassment and not a single person associated with it should in any way be proud. Its proof an education does not make you smart. A PhD does not make you qualified in anything more than exactly what that PhD states.

  • Kelly Starks

    Well as I’ve long said SLS/Orion was a placeholder, a life preserver. So when a new admin comes up with a real project, theirs a industry and NASA left to support it.

    Of course if not, the high price tag would generate public support – which is job #1 for NASA and Congress.

  • wodun

    Wonder if this is payback for backing out on that Mars mission with ESA.

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