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.

SpaceX attempting another Starship hop today

Capitalism in space: Engineers at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas are today preparing the sixth Starship prototype for its first 150 meter hop, the second hop of a Starship prototype overall.

The launch window is anytime between 8 am and 8 pm (Central). I have embedded the livesteam below the fold if you wish to watch. Based on previous attempts, they will try for a morning launch before noon, and if there are issues they will recycle and try again in the afternoon.


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  • V-Man


    That’s two different prototype doing a 150m hop almost perfectly (they still land a bit crooked). 20km jump next?

  • Diane Wilson

    I believe the 20km hop is planned for SN8, so probably not soon. (For anyone not following closely, SN7 was a pressure test vehicle, and SN7.1 is being prepped for a pressure test with the new steel alloy. These are test-to-destruction tank-only tests, not launchable prototypes.)

    I do expect SN5 to do another 150m hop before then. Elon said that he wanted to do more 150m hops to clean up the launch process, probably to minimize cleanup at the pad and also recycle faster for re-use. I think he said something about less than a day cycle time, but that might be a bit optimistic.

  • Diane Wilson

    This hop looked very clean – no flying debris, no ground fires. Liftoff seemed slower than SN5, which might be a throttle test, and might not.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Correct me if I am wrong, but this is going to have to get good enough to hop. land, and then hop again, yes?

    That must be the goal if one of the mission sets is to set down and return from the Moon and Mars.

  • Diane Wilson: There was a ground fire. See the image in my post reporting the flight.

  • Edward

    You wrote: “i>Correct me if I am wrong, but this is going to have to get good enough to hop. land, and then hop again, yes? That must be the goal if one of the mission sets is to set down and return from the Moon and Mars.”

    Yes, an eventual goal, but no, not an immediate goal. My expectation is that they will start working on double hops after they are comfortable that they have the first hop working well. Just as it is more important to get Starship able to land before Superheavy can loft it into orbit, it is more important to get Super Heavy launching before it becomes necessary to relaunch after a landing. Boca Chica could be very busy next year.

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