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 officially increases prices for commercial use of ISS by 700%

Capitalism in space: Though there were some revisions to the price list that NASA released in March, the revised price list for use of ISS by private companies and released at the end of April did not change significantly, and now officially increases prices for commercial tourist flights to ISS by about 700%.

The price list can be found here.

The result of the new policy is a much higher price charged by NASA to companies conducting private astronaut missions. Under the old policy, the life support and crew supplies for a hypothetical four-person, one-week mission to the ISS would cost $945,000, a figure that doesn’t include stowage, data or power. Under the new policy, the cargo, food and supplies charges for the same mission would be more than $2.5 million at the low end of the quoted cost ranges, plus $10 million in per-mission fees.

These prices will not apply to the Axiom commercial tourist flight scheduled for early ’22 because that contract was signed beforehand. Nor do they apparently apply to any visits to the private module that Axiom is building to attach to ISS.

Nonetheless, these prices will almost certainly drive business away from ISS and NASA, especially because many of these costs, such as the upmass and downmass cost of passive cargo, should really be charged by the private commercial companies, SpaceX and Boeing, that are providing the transportation. NASA has nothing to do with that and is merely skimming some money off the top of other people’s achievement.

Expect therefore more free-flying tourist missions that do not dock with ISS, such as SpaceX’s Inspiration4 flight scheduled for launch in September. We should also expect an acceleration in the construction of private stations that will compete with NASA and likely charge less.


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  • Steve

    NASA has cleverly found a way to encourage the building of private space stations. Who would of thought.

  • Ray Van Dune

    “We should also expect an acceleration in the construction of private stations that will compete with NASA and likely charge less.”

    Now maybe we won’t get caught with no space platform when the ISS becomes unusable, and the Russians and Chinese are using their own brand new one. Let them fight among themselves over how to find it, rather than sucker in Biden or his successors into another “we pay, they play” deal.

  • Gary

    Probably not an original phrase, but in my business that was called “de-marketing.” Railroads didn’t raise rates to make more money. They raised rates to run off business. Railroads were very similar to government. Not sure if this is NASA’s intention, but that surely will be the result.

  • Col Beausabre

    A perfect demonstration of monopoly (not the game). I wanna see if someone brings suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act. BTW, did you know that Senator Sherman was the brother of General William Tecumseh “Got a Match” Sherman….

  • ” . . . General William Tecumseh “Got a Match” Sherman . . . ”

    Perhaps apocryphal story: On the way through Georgia, someone reputedly asked Sherman ‘Whyn’t you go to Charleston; they started it!”

    I have followed a bit of Sherman’s March out of Atlanta, and again, into Savannah. Tangentially related to that history, I’ve been to Port GIbson, MS, a town General Grant deemed “Too beautiful to burn.” I agree.

  • I wonder if the Gateway Foundation will ever accomplish their goals. They seem dependent upon Lunar resources for any sort of sane construction costs. Meanwhile, there are always inflatables.

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