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.

Nauka issues apparently resolved?

According to a press release for Roscosmos, engineers have successfully fired the engines on Russia’s new large module for ISS, dubbed Nauka, and the module is now on course for rendezvous with the space station.

On Thursday, July 22, 2021 the Nauka Multipurpose Module Flight Control Group specialists at Moscow Mission Control Center conducted two correction maneuvers of the module that had launched to the International Space Station the previous day.

The first maneuver took place at 15:07 UTC with the module engines burn for 17.23 seconds giving an impulse of 1 m/sec. The second burn for 250.04 seconds took place at 17:19 UTC with an impulse of 14.59 m/sec.

No details were released explaining why the first course correction engine burn did not happen as scheduled.

UPDATE: I have added a question mark to the headline because there indications from a variety of sources, all unconfirmed, that the problems might still persist. We shall find out in the next two days.


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  • Mark

    The engineering efforts towards building and maintaining ISS really has given private space a bedrock of knowledge to build off of. Here is an excerpt from a space dot com article from last November. ‘ But Axiom has learned from the space station’s complicated fate and has already wrestled with how its facility will end. The company is planning its modules to be more truly modular than those on the space station, with the capability to easily remove and replace segments anyway, giving the company flexibility in its future.
    The arrangement also means that each module can control its own fate. “Each module is going to be designed with its own guidance, navigation and control, its own thruster capabilities,” Maender said. “So they can fly essentially on their own, and then when they need to, they can separate and return through Earth’s atmosphere on their own.”

  • born01930

    I was just reading on NSF that the firings yesterday were only thrusters not main engine and insufficient to bring it to ISS. They have until tomorrow evening to fire the mains.

  • born01930: I have just updated the post, because the lack of information from Russia, combined with these rumors, makes things more uncertain than first implied by this press release.

  • Jay

    Right now one site is saying the main engines are working again and another site says that Nauka is ready to go using the auxiliary engines called DKS (Russian for Correction and Orientation thrusters). Pirs/Progress undocking is scheduled for 5:28 AM PDT tomorrow. Nauka docking on the 29th.

  • Ray Van Dune

    It is conceivable that the DKS thrusters have enough total impulse to make the docking, if they were designed to lend boost and orientation to the entire ISS over a lengthy time. Of course they could not do that latter job if they use their impulse to rendezvous instead of the main engines.

  • Jeff Wright

    They don’t have to do that job now with new rockets and capsules. ISS will be a bit less cramped now.

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