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 successfully launches four astronauts to ISS

Falcon 9 launch on November 15, 2020 with four astronauts

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully launched four astronauts to ISS on its Dragon capsule Resilience, using its Falcon 9 rocket.

They also recovered the first stage, landing it on its drone ship in the Atlantic. The routine manner in which SpaceX ran this launch is truly admirable. They make landing and reuse of the first stage so expected it is hard to believe that for fifty years rocket managers and engineers insisted it wasn’t doable.

They had one issue today, a failure of the capsule hatch to hold air pressure after closure. They calmly reopened the hatch, cleared the issue, added some lubricant, and closed the hatch, all in less than ten minutes.

Resilience will dock with ISS tomorrow evening.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

30 China
20 SpaceX
5 ULA
4 Europe (Arianespace)
4 Rocket Lab

The U.S. now leads China 32 to 30 in the national rankings.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over
 

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.


Thank you again!


Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


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6 comments

  • wayne

    We’re definitely living in the Future….This never becomes not-amazing!
    ——-
    -switching thought-tracts here;
    A very nicely done piece of film–

    “Riding the Booster: Up and Down in 400 seconds”
    NASA 2012
    https://youtu.be/527fb3-UZGo
    8:31
    -> “From launch to landing, a *space shuttle’s* solid rocket booster journey is captured, with sound mixed and enhanced by Skywalker Sound.”

  • Jeff

    Small point:

    You wrote – “Resilience will dock with ISS tomorrow morning.”

    Actually, it is a 27 hour trip to station.

    “The four-person team is heading for a nearly six-month expedition on the space station, where the Dragon spaceship is due to dock at 11 p.m. EST Monday (0400 GMT Tuesday).” (spaceflightnow.com)

  • With NASA a loss of excitement and dread lead to routine and loss of funding.
    With Elon a loss of disaster fans and dread leads to greater profitability.

  • Jeff: You are correct. I got my am and pm switched. Post is corrected. Thank you.

  • Edward

    wayne noted: “We’re definitely living in the Future….This never becomes not-amazing!

    If Starship works as intended, we will be living even further into the future.

    As Yakov Smirnoff would say: “What a country!”

  • Edward

    David wrote: “With NASA a loss of excitement and dread lead to routine and loss of funding.
    With Elon a loss of disaster fans and dread leads to greater profitability.

    That is an important difference.

    With NASA, funding from Congress is important, and that tends to require public interest.
    With SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and other commercial companies, the funding comes from customers, and that tends to require lower prices.

    These lower prices are allowing SpaceX and Rocket Lab to take a large portion of the market share of each of their niches, and Rocket Lab is helping to grow its own niche. Commercial companies with commercial customers do not need excitement, and they can afford to be routine. However, excitement seems to help.

    As a bonus, the flying of members of the public, in the near future, can lead to public interest and excitement, which could add to the number of customers.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

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