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.

SpaceX completes new round of crew Dragon parachute tests

Capitalism in space: SpaceX this week completed a new round of crew Dragon parachute tests, meeting a goal they had announced in October.

This clearly paves the way for the January 11th launch abort test, followed by the first manned flight, as soon as February or March 2020, according to the article at the link.

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  • David K

    I really hope that the Dragon and Starliner get humans to orbit next year.

    Bob, if this happens any chance can we get a separate ranking for number of people sent to space per country/company instead of just the number of launches?

  • David K: Eventually some count like this might make sense, but probably not at first. Not that many will go up.

    Though I might change my mind, as we hopefully will have the Russians, Chinese, Indians, and Americans doing this.

  • Milt

    This morning I was thinking about the deeper meaning of the upcoming manned Dragon and Starliner flights in the context of Bob’s repost of his commentary on the Apollo 8 mission. As he observes:

    “[Anders’] perspective was that of a spacefarer, an explorer of the universe that sees the planets around him as objects within that universe in which he floats.

    When we here are on Earth frame the image with the horizon on the bottom, we immediately reveal our limited planet-bound perspective. We automatically see ourselves on a planet’s surface, watching another planet rise above the distant horizon line.

    This difference in perspective is to me the real meaning of this picture. On one hand we see the perspective of the past. On the other we see the perspective the future, for as long humanity can remain alive.”

    So, too, these upcoming flights will also mark an important boundary, a profoundly significant dividing line between the time when access to space was for a tiny, carefully limited minority of the people on this planet and a future in which almost anyone might go. And, as Bob might say, it also reflects a demarcation between a nondemocratic, statist approach to space exploration / utilization and a free market, anybody can buy a ticket philosophy. Fifty years on, the “promise” of space that all of us read about as kids may about to become a reality, thanks to Dragon and Starliner, and this might just be the best present that Santa ever put under the tree.

    At any rate, no one should underestimate just how great a change this will be. Again quoting Bob, “On one hand we see the perspective of the past. On the other we see the perspective the future, for as long humanity can remain alive.”

    Merry Christmas and best wishes to all of those who have been involved in making Dragon and Starliner a reality. You have indeed given us “the future.”


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