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 oceanography satellite

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched an oceanography satellite using its Falcon 9 rocket from the company’s California launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base..

The first stage, making its first flight, successfully landed back on land near the launch site.

This was also SpaceX’s 21st successful launch in 2020, tying their record from 2018 for the most launches in a single year by a private company, ever. That record should be broken tomorrow, with their next Starlink launch.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

30 China
21 SpaceX
12 Russia
5 Rocket Lab

The U.S. now leads China 34 to 30 in the national rankings.


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  • Slight correction: it landed at LZ4, not on a drone ship.

  • R.P. Nettelhorst: My mistake. I was out and about today, and only reported this when I got home. Should have watched the replay of the live stream. Post is now corrected. Thank you!

  • Ray Van Dune

    Anyone know where you can access uncommented tracking camera video of the launch and landing? The people on NSF kept cutting away to talk amongst themselves, and could not seem to track the booster as it landed for more than two seconds.

  • Rodney

    I have noticed something weird. Elon Musk and his SpaceX crew, in the last ten years, have:
    –completely upended the space launch paradigm, changed the way everyone is thinking of launch.
    –built and FLOWN a full flow Lox/Methane Engine
    –built and FLOWN Dragon 1 cargo vehicles and now Dragon 2 Crew capsules
    –and the list goes on

    And yet, they have not won the Collier Trophy
    Blue Origin has won a Collier Trophy.
    Why is this?

  • Sayomara

    Bob have you heard is spacex only doing flights out of Vandenberg where the first stage can be recovered. Spacex moved both its droneships to the east coast of Florida. Seems there is a movement away from Vandenberg but I don’t believe Spacex has another location for polar launches.

  • V-Man

    Rodney: people who break rice bowls and gore oxen don’t usually get thanked for it.

    Blue Origin, despite being relatively new, is part of the “old space” industry.

  • Sayomara: I had not heard that, but SpaceX HAS another location now for polar launches, Cape Canaveral. They have done one such launch already.

  • Rodney

    I believe the reason that both drone ships are on the East Coast is that there is a Falcon Heavy Launch coming up (#4) next Februrary. The payload requires that the FH recover their side boosters on drone ships–not on land and hence the requirements for two ships–and they will expend the core. I think this is all driven by the requirement of getting a lot of payload to geosynchronous.

    V-Man: With respect to broken rice bowls and gored oxen, will we ever get out of living in this Junior High School Cafeteria/Mean Girls Hell World?

  • wayne

    I’ll stick this in here—


    Starlink Dish TEARDOWN! – Part 1
    Mike on Space
    November 22, 2020

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