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.

Resilience has docked with ISS

SpaceX’s Resilience Dragon capsule successfully docked with ISS tonight.

They are in the process of checking the seal of the docking, and the opening of the hatch.

As much as I have been critical of Boeing in recent years, I truly hope they can get their management and engineering problems worked out so they can accomplish the same thing with their Starliner capsule. The competition with SpaceX will be healthy for both companies, the nation, and the future of the human race.


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  • LocalFluff

    I think this is the first time ever that the ISS got 4 crews in one launch. Only the Space Shuttle has ever launched more than 3 astronauts (it was crewed by 7). And AFAIK it never delivered more than 3 astronauts to the ISS.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Localfluff…. Interesting that it has a capacity of 7 crew, but according to Wikipedia, NASA will only fly 4 astronauts per mission…. Why the excess capacity?
    An interesting fact I picked up on the Wikipedia page which will please Bob, the spacecraft runs Linux!!

  • Lee Stevenson

    I’m sure Bob will be reporting on this when it is daytime over there, but Arianspace are not having as much success with their Vega rocket… The second failure in as many years..
    Very bad news for the European space industry, but probably good news for SpaceX.

  • Richard M

    NASA will only fly 4 astronauts per mission…. Why the excess capacity?

    I think 7 crew capacity was specified in the original program requirements.

    Probably because, for on thing, if a rescue situation occurred, a CCP vehicle could evacuate all seven ISS crew members (Say, if the other vehicles attached to ISS had become disabled).

    Alternatvely, NASA can use the space that the other three astronauts would take up to add additional pressurized cargo.

  • Lee: The extra capacity means it could take everyone on ISS home, even the three who came on a Soyuz. Makes for a redundancy in the lifeboat capacity.

    The extra capacity also provides SpaceX more passenger seats that they can sell.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Thanks for the clarification guys…. Now I see the logic behind the excess capacity!

  • Ray Van Dune

    Did everyone catch JAXA Astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s little joke during the on-orbit video conference? He was pointing out items in the stowage area behind / below the crew seats, and when he came to a freezer chest for scientific test samples, he said it was for “ice cream”! He then hurriedly corrected himself and said “NO, I meant scientific samples! Not ice cream! Right everyone – no ice cream, right?! Right?!” Obviously a funny guy.

  • LocalFluff

    If a spacecraft with the capacity of 7 (I think this one had the capacity of 4, plus 3 strapped down on the floor) to the ISS still having another 4 visitors (I think they left for home early this time), still fall short in evacuation capability. At least if the lights don’t turn on in the leaking reserve Soyuz capsule. The plan then is:
    Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. You’re allowed to go. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you too! Eeeny…
    One astronaut quick at math to her colleague:
    “- Would you mind switching places with me in this row?”

  • Patrick Underwood

    Iirc the four-crew limit was imposed by NASA because they didn’t like the splashdown loads on the extra seats. Something like that.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Hope they soon start work on airbag dirtside landing, as already demonstrated by the otherwise less-than-stellar Boeing Starliner. Then it’s a logical step to powered descent on the Super-Dracos, as Elon first envisaged!

  • Mike Borgelt

    “Then it’s a logical step to powered descent on the Super-Dracos, as Elon first envisaged!”

    Won’t happen. The powered landing will be done by Starships.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson suggested: “Very bad news for the European space industry, but probably good news for SpaceX.

    I’m not so sure that it is good news for SpaceX. When things go wrong in aerospace, customers start to wonder whether the company that they rely upon has a similar problem hiding deep within their system.

    Vega’s capacity is less than Falcon’s capacity, so they are not in direct competition. Vega competes with Northrup Grumman’s Minotaur, perhaps other rockets around the world, too.

  • pzatchok

    I would like to see the draco’s tested on land at least once on a garbage return mission.

    As a passenger I would feel far better about re-entry during a disaster. No need to wait until your in the perfect re-entry location for a nice water landing.

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