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In the heat of competition: Economic hard times have forced the Russian government to cut spending on its space program by more than a third.
The cuts have mainly come from abandoning their effort to build a heavy lift rocket to compete with SLS. They might not realize it, but I think this will be a blessing in disguise, as they will no longer be wasting money building a giant rocket that will have little value in the competitive launch market. Instead, they will focus their investment on Angara, which has the possibility of earning them a profit.
Meanwhile, however, they still have to deal with the quality control problems and corruption that appears to permeate Russia`s entire aerospace industry: Russian defense rocket fails and crashes immediately after launch. I have posted the video of the crash below the fold. It appears that the rocket was successfuly propelled from its launch silo, but then its rocket engines never ignited.
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.