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.

Russians sign deal to fly two tourists to ISS

Capitalism in space: Now that their Soyuz capsule is no longer required to fly NASA astronauts to ISS, the Russians have spare seats, and have now signed a deal with Space Adventures to fly two tourists to ISS in late 2021.

They will announce the tourist’s names later this year.

Space Adventures also has a deal with SpaceX to fly two tourists on a Dragon capsule on a week-plus long orbital mission (not docking with ISS). SpaceX also has a deal with the space station company Axiom to fly tourists to ISS. Next year could thus see two or three tourist flights to space.

Isn’t competition wonderful?

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I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

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  • jfm

    Any idea what the Russians are charging to fly the tourists? If I had to guess it would be significantly less than what the Russians charged NASA.

  • Jay

    Last time I heard it was over $20 million for tourists flights. We are still under contract to pay for one more Soyuz seat for $90 million:

  • Brad

    “Space Adventures also has a deal with SpaceX to fly two tourists on a Dragon capsule on a week-plus long orbital mission (not docking with ISS).”

    That makes me wonder… What is the standard life support capacity of the Dragon 2? 21 man-days? More? Less?

    21 man-days would be enough for a tourist flight of 3 people for 7 days duration. The same duration and crew size as the Apollo 8 lunar mission.

    It is my understanding the Orion spacecraft has life support for a crew of 4 for a period of 21 days (or in my reckoning 48 man-days of life support).

  • Brad: NASA’s contract with SpaceX’s only requires Dragon to fly free in orbit for 2.5 days (with full crew of four) and seven months while docked with ISS.

    SpaceX however I am sure designed the capsule for a much longer free flight duration. If they are not bringing cargo to or from ISS they would certainly have much more room to store supplies for a week-long mission.

    Orion was required to have a 21 day lifespan free-flying, with full four person crew. If Lockheed Martin had the slightest interest in making money from it (which they do not), they could market it for tourist flights, and probably even try to team up with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy to launch it (it is heavy and requires a bigger launch vehicle).

  • sippin_bourbon

    I would think the duration would be as long as the service module is able to supply.
    Instead of an empty truck, if they would water and air and power, it could go longer.

    From a tourist point of view, with no where to go, 7 days is forever.
    Better have a creative “cruise director”.

    When there is a “hotel” in LEO, that may change.
    A day to travel to, 4 or 5 days there, and a day to return.

    I maintain hope that companies like Bigelow will recover. (Tho still not convinced on inflatables. And yes, I am aware of GenI and GenII still in orbit, albiet derelict).

  • MDN

    I am sure that being in perpetual zero G would be a fantastic experience, but until they have a tourist ship that can sport a Lido deck count me out for flights of a week or longer : )

  • sippin_bourbon

    From Wikipedia:

    a lido is a public outdoor swimming pool….

    Well, if you want to step out and take a swim…


  • Randy

    Humans deposit waste at regular intervals..Just dont know how it is done….the longer
    the flight…well you get the idea.

  • Brad

    Correcting my own typo:

    Orion has 84 man-days of life support, not 48 man-days of life support.


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