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.
 

NASA officially approves operational Dragon manned missions

Capitalism in space: NASA yesterday officially certified SpaceX’s Dragon capsule for future operational manned missions to ISS.

NASA officials gave approval Tuesday for SpaceX to begin regular crew rotation flights to the International Space Station with the launch of four astronauts set for Saturday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, signaling a transition from development to operations for the human-rated Dragon spacecraft.

Mission managers completed a two-day Flight Readiness Review Tuesday and issued a preliminary go-ahead for the launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Resilience” spacecraft Saturday at 7:49 p.m. EST (0049 GMT Sunday) with NASA commander Mike Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, a veteran Japanese space flier.

The decision means that SpaceX will now be rotating crews for NASA at ISS every six months. It will also be reusing both the first stages and the capsules. Endeavour, the capsule used on the demo flight earlier this year, will be reused in the spring. Resilience, the capsule scheduled for launch on November 14th, will be reused next fall.

Since SpaceX also has a commercial manned flight planned for next fall, that will probably require a third capsule. With those three capsules they will have at least for the next few years a fleet will cover all their initial needs. Don’t be surprised if however the introduce an upgraded capsule or two along the way, based on what they learn on these initial flights.

The article had one other piece of new news concerning Boeing’s Starliner capsule. The second unmanned demo flight has now officially been delayed into the first quarter of next year, rather than late this year.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over
 

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.


Thank you again!


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