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.

NASA needs billions to get Lockheed Martin’s Orion into space

And NASA thinks it can compete with SpaceX or Orbital Sciences? The agency is asking for billions more to build the Orion capsule.

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4 comments

  • Kelly Starks

    > And NASA thinks it can compete with SpaceX or Orbital Sciences? ===

    Certainly, after all – they judge the winners, and pork (and NASA inefficiency) are primary products to be maintained. If they were willing to just let L/M and the other contractors do their jobs, costs would go down by at least a factor of 4.

    As Rutan found when he and some other new space companies tried bidding to build Orion, they weer simply incapable of spending enough, and hiring big enough staffs. Designing and building it was well within their abilities, but they could not do all the federally required contractual overhead, and support all the NASA “oversight”. So they had to bow out.

    Even Musk said SpaceX has little hope of competing and wining more then at best a token commercial crew flight.

  • Congress is demanding that NASA “refine its procurement, contract management, and oversight processes”. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to scrap the way Orion is being developed, define real requirements for an “exploration vehicle” and develop a milestone based fixed price contract, with independent financing requirements.

  • Kelly Starks

    I think you expecting a lot out of “refine”. Also NASA has as of yet – pretty much ignored that.

    Certainly L/M’s offer to develop Orion for a fraction of the cost if NASA just lets them do it themself to NASA specs, rather then NASA management get so heavily involved, hasn’t gotten much support ni NASA or congress as far as I can see.

    As for nidependant financing. Given NASA is pretty much the total market for maned orbital flight. They will have to agree to a contract that one way or the other pays for the development of the craft they demand.

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