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 launches another 60 Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites, raising the constellation to more than 800 satellites.

The first stage successfully landed, for the sixth time, on a drone ship. The company also recovered both fairings, which were making their third flight. With one fairing’s recovery however the net broke on the ship, which might have damaged it this time.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

26 China
17 SpaceX
11 Russia
4 Europe (Arianespace)

The U.S. had regained the lead over China, 27 to 26, in the national rankings.


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  • Lee Stevenson

    I still find it stunning…. Bob, I recall for the longest time on The Space Show, You commenting that commercial space was in “a holding pattern”….
    17 private orbital launches in 10 months … I guess that pattern is almost broken…. We just need the competition to step up a little.

  • Lee Stevenson: In December SpaceX had predicted they would complete 21 launches in ’20. Right now they are right on course to do so, despite the Wuhan panic.

  • geoffc

    Bob Zubrin had Musk on the Mars Society Virtual conference this past Friday, and Musk was saying you need a real goal, in order to innovate. He said, we could have just aimed to beat Boeing and LockMart, and Zubrin jumped in, to say “You did beat them”. Was a great line.

  • Richard M

    Hi Bob,

    By my count, this launch made 18 total Falcon 9 launches for 2020 to date. Which would tie their second best year so far (2017).

    Their best year was 2018 with 21 launches. SpaceX has 12 more launches on the manifest for the remainder of 2020 . . . while we can be pretty sure that some will get pushed into the new year, it seems almost certain they’ll blow past 21 launches this year when it’s all said and done. Amazing to see how routine and frequent they’ve made it.

  • Richard M


    “Zubrin jumped in, to say “You did beat them”. Was a great line.”

    I laughed out loud when Zubrin said that.

  • Richard M: You are apparently counting SpaceX’s launch abort test of Dragon early in the year. I only count launches that put payloads in orbit.

  • Richard M

    Hi Bob –

    Ah. Ok, that makes sense. 17 it is!

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