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Russian Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites

Using its Soyuz-2 rocket and launching from its new Vostochny spaceport, Russia today successfully launched another 36 OneWeb satellites.

Their goal is to make these launches monthly. OneWeb now has more than 200 satellites in orbit.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

16 SpaceX
13 China
8 Russia
2 Rocket Lab

The U.S still leads China 22 to 13 in the national rankings.

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.


  • Ray Van Dune

    “… Russia today successfully launched another 36 OneWeb satellites.
    Their goal is to make these launches monthly.”

    Wow at that rate, they’ll overtake SpaceX’s 120 Starlink launches per month in only… um, er… pretty soon? And even if they loose money on every launch, they’ll make up for it on the volume. They only need to add Hunter Biden’s orbital expertise into the mix to make this a can’t-lose proposition!

  • Jeff Wright

    R-7 is the only rocket that’s ever had a cadence close to Falcon. Strange to see private firms outperform whole nations. When does it end? Seems too good. For years space advocates have been wanting something like SpaceX. But what if Musk falls over dead? Will it be a crippling blow like Korolov’s end? Or will it survive?

  • Jeff Wright wrote: “Strange to see private firms outperform whole nations.”

    No, not really. Remember the Hudson’s Bay Company (still in operation)? Capitalism. It works.

  • Col Beausabre

    Hudson Bay Company – Still operates a chain of department stores and they still sell their “trade blankets” (I think its the law in Canada that all citizens must own at least one)

  • Edward

    Jeff Wrigh,
    You wrote: “Strange to see private firms outperform whole nations.

    Actually, you answered that yourself: “For years space advocates have been wanting something like SpaceX.

    It wasn’t just the space advocates but the space entrepreneurs. The reason that Elon Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. was to create affordable access to space for space entrepreneurs and for commercial space exploration. Musk had wanted to be such an entrepreneur, but found that the cost to get there was prohibitive. To solve that problem, he founded his own space access company, and this is the reason why that company emphasizes low cost access over technical efficiencies. To lower the price to the customer, SpaceX compromises on the amount of payload that can be lifted to orbit. The compromise pays off not only for SpaceX but for many other space companies, too.

    Rather than focusing on customer needs, national space programs focus on government goals, allowing the engineers to improve technical efficiency (e.g. maximum payload to orbit) without worrying about customer cost. The government could pay the price, even if most potential commercial customers couldn’t. Taking risks on other efficiencies (e.g. low cost access) has not been high on the list of priorities, so when attempts failed (e.g. Space Shuttle, DC-X, X-33), the conclusion was that low price solutions were not practical. The SpaceX equivalent would have been to give up on reusability when the Falcon 9R failed on a hop test.

    But what if Musk falls over dead? Will it be a crippling blow like Korolov’s end? Or will it survive?

    I suspect that SpaceX will complete Starship with or without Musk. Even without Starship, SpaceX leads in price. The competition due to SpaceX’s existence already drives other launch services to find lower costs for space access, so private firms outperforming nations will likely last, too. Given the low priorities that governments have given to space over the past thee quarters of a century, it is hard to imagine that governments will be able to outperform the private companies.

    Musk is not the only launch entrepreneur. Peter Beck is successful, and he likely would replace Musk, were something to happen to him. Others have been working toward low cost reusability, such as Peter Diamandis. Musk is not a lone wolf. He is merely the famous success story.

  • Jeff Wright

    Bill Gates could have done this..and earlier…but he’d rather blow it overseas playing god. Bezos is better…but Elon’s force of wil you can’t put a price tag on. Zubrin has that…but no funds. Now if I had been over the Mars Society…I wouldn’t have wasted funds on playing house at Devon island. Instead, I would have hired ladies-of-evening photographers and private eyes and assigned each a congressmen.

    After I lay the photos on their desks, I walk out with a new amendment that NASA’s new 150 billion a year budget can never be lowered….so they can cut something else–or their wives and opponants get the pictures. Men would be on Mars now and you would all be asking “Elon who?”

    Let Musk emulate Luthor. I think Darkseids approach works better…

  • Jeff Wright

    Now that I think of it….had L Ron Hubbard made his hoky religions money go to a start up…oh, they found an ‘extinct’ turtle alive.

  • Edward

    Jeff Wright,
    You wrote: “Now if I had been over the Mars Society…

    But then it would be the governments still in charge, doing only what it wants, not what the rest of us want. We would still have government controlled access to space and little hope of the space tourism industry that we are looking forward to, and no one would be questioning what makes someone an astronaut. We would still be seeing limited exploration rather than seeing industries signing up for space manufacturing.

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