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.

Russian astronaut: ISS crack could be result of Zvezda module’s age

A Russian astronaut just returned from ISS admitted during a press conference that the recently located crack on the 20-year-old Zvezda module that was the source of the long-term slow leak could be the result of the module’s age.

“Twenty years are actually an absolute record for all space stations now. And we see now that something is changing and something requires greater [attention]. Again, if we go back to the leak, the hull is already beginning to give cracks and scratches somewhere, that is, we see the limits [of the ISS structure’s service life],” [cosmonaut Ivan Vagner] said.

The crack has been sealed temporarily, with a more permanent seal put in place after the nearby docking port is cleared and the hatches closed and out of the way.

If Russian astronauts are noticing wear and tear in Zvezda that is bad enough to cause “cracks”, this raises some very serious issues for ISS’s future, as replacing that module on ISS will be complicated and expensive, and at this point no one has even begun planning such an replacement.

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3 comments

  • Steve Richter

    I vote we focus on a freighter type space station that travels back and forth between Earth and lunar orbit. Launches from Earth load the freighter with fuel and equipment. Which then travels to lunar orbit, where the freight is dropped onto the Moon somehow.

  • Jerry Greenwood

    I’ll venture a guess that the cracking is the result heating and cooling “cycles” work hardening the aluminum alloy structure much like presurization cycles cause cracks in aircraft over time. Plugging the leak won’t stop the cracking and the crack will extend beyond the area that is visable. Placing a doubler over the crack will stabilize the area but the forces that caused the crack will be transferred to other areas of the structure. A through eddy current inspection of the entire module needs to be done to get a good picture of the ussue. Does not bode well for the future of that module.

  • Jay

    You are right Jerry. Use eddy current testing to inspect the area of the crack or use ultra-sonic. I have seen eddy current testing done once on steel. At my company we use ultra-sonic and X-ray to inspect PCBs.

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