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 continues to acquire land in Texas for its planned spaceport in Brownsville.

The competition heats up: SpaceX continues to acquire land in Texas for its planned spaceport in Brownsville.

Elon Musk’s Dogleg Park LLC picked up an additional five lots in late April, bringing the total number of lots it has acquired in Cameron County to 95. The total land area that SpaceX now owns is roughly 38 acres of land, public records show. This is in addition to 56.5 acres that SpaceX has under lease at the site of what would be the world’s first private and commercial vertical launch site.

Compared to the acquisitions made by the federal government when it established its space centers in Florida and Wallops Island, these purchases are small. Nonetheless, they are likely sufficient for what the company plans to do.

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7 comments

  • Steve C

    94 acres, assuming it is in a circle with the rocket at the center, gives a safety range of around 1100 feet. Pretty close to the neighbors if something goes boom. I think they need to add a few orders of magnitude to their land acquisition.

  • The Gulf of Mexico itself will be a huge part of that safety range. We have yet to hear how that will be implemented, however.

  • Edward

    An explosion on or just above the pad would create quite a mess and hazard for any people or structures nearby. 1100 feet seems like much too little safety distance.

    Boca Chica Beach, where they seem to be buying and leasing land, is in a fairly watery area with lakes, a bay, and the Rio Grande river. Depending upon the locations and geography of the lots that they have bought and leased, they may have quite a bit more than a mere 1100 feet for safety. If they put the pad next to or into the water or on one of the islands in the bay, that would add extra safety distance.

    It would be nice to see a map of what they have planned.

    I found an article that says that part of Joanna Street will be closed for SpaceX.
    http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/valley/article_6f177afc-07b1-11e3-a736-0019bb30f31a.html
    “Seven of the 12 lots, where the control center area site would be located, are between a portion of Remedios Avenue and Joanna Street, as shown in public records and a survey provided to Commissioners’ Court that the engineering firm of Mejia & Rose Inc., conducted on Dogleg Park LLC’s behalf. The survey is dated July 3.”

    I hope this link directs you to a map of the region:
    https://maps.yahoo.com/place/?lat=25.987269802616886&lon=-97.18653917312622&q=Joanna%20Street%2C%20Brownsville%2C%20Texas&bb=25.99587198816584%2C-97.20290064811707%2C25.97868627699692%2C-97.17017769813538&addr=Joanna%20St%2C%20Brownsville%2C%20TX%2078521

  • Steve C

    That brings up another question. How does a private company clear the boats out of downrange? There’s a lot of pleasure and shrimp boats at Padre Island.

  • Steve C

    At the Cape, the closest you can get to an Atlas 5 launch is just under 5 miles. This cannot be talking about a launch facility. It has to be just administration and flight control.

  • Competential

    Just loke the cows on the videos of SpaceX’s reusability demonstration videos, those who destroy wild life by over fishing it, and those who sail by out of personal pleasure, have to adapt to the conditions of modern infrastructure without which they could not survive. Neither fisher nor yacht would have a clue as to where they are without navigation satellites and many of them would die every day. If they choose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, then they simply made a bad call. That’s not a headache for SpaceX.

  • Pzatchok

    I should have kept that land in Texas. Dang.

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