The competition heats up: An industry study now predicts that more than 500 small satellites, including nanosats, cubesats, microsats, and minisats, will be launched in the next five years.
Note however this important detail, highlighted below:
75% of the 510 satellites to be launched during the next five years will be for government civil and defense agencies. Growth in government demand will be stronger than in the commercial world where a total of 130 satellites are expected. “Large constellation projects such as those announced in 2014 by OneWeb and by SpaceX in association with Google have not been included in our forecasts/scenarios for launch by 2019,” said Rachel Villain, Principal Advisor at Euroconsult and Editor of the report. “Large constellation projects could, however, represent a very significant component of launches over the following five year period (2020-2024).” [emphasis mine]
Even though the predicted launches represent a two-thirds increase per year compared to the previous decade, this launch rate does not include the big private constellations that appear almost certain to fly. In other words, all signs point to the possibility that we are about to see a real boom in the space industry.
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.
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