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Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launches 38 commercial satellites

A Russian Soyuz rocket tonight successfully launched 38 commercial satellites, most of which were smallsats.

The 2021 launch race:

8 SpaceX
6 China
4 Russia
1 Rocket Lab
1 Virgin Orbit
1 Northrop Grumman
1 India

The U.S. still leads China 11 to 6 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.


  • Pete

    I like the number of launches, but would a better metric be a total weight amount lifted into space? Individual rocket launches are good, but it is the amount of good done per launch that really impacts the science and benefits of space.

  • Phill O

    If Space X and NASA just reached an agreement, where are the Russians and Chines in space agreements?

  • Phill O: The issues covered by this NASA/SpaceX agreement are covered by the Outer Space Treaty.

  • Ian C.

    Isn’t it fascinating (and sad, from my POV) how Western Europe plays no longer a role? Look at their underwhelming attempts to “become competitive” again:

    “A little more than a week ago, the European Space Agency announced an initiative to study “future space transportation solutions.” Basically, the agency provided about $600,000, each, to three companies—ArianeGroup, Avio, and Rocket Factory Augsburg—to study competitive launch systems from 2030 onward.”

    2030 might be a little too ambitious for Europe though.

  • Pete observed: “I like the number of launches, but would a better metric be a total weight amount lifted into space?”

    Have at it.

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