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.

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SpaceX tests parachutes for manned Dragon

The competition heats up: SpaceX last Friday successfully tested the parachute system for its manned Dragon capsule.

A video of the test can be seen here. They did not use an actual Dragon for the test.


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  • Localfluff

    Here’s NASA trying to do the same thing with Orion:

  • Localfluff: I’m not sure of the accuracy of this footage. It is dated in 2008, which is only a short time after Lockheed Martin got the contract to build Orion. I’ve done a web search and was unable to find anything from 2008 that matched. Can you get more info to confirm this is real?

  • Localfluff

    This was several years before I became a space nerd, so unless my Google is better than yours, I have no sources.
    The Universe Today blog, which is super pro-Orion hysterical, posted this in December:

    The Ares I drogue parachute test appeared to perform flawlessly on July 24th, but the July 31st Orion test drop was a different story. Very early on in the parachute test, the “programmer parachute” (the first small parachute to be deployed, righting the descending crew module, setting Orion up for drogue deployment) failed after not inflating in the turbulent wake of the vehicle. This event set in motion complete parachute failure, ultimately forcing a hard-landing (crash) into the Arizona desert.

  • Alex

    A bit off-topic, but I found not better to adress the fact that not every idea of Elon Musk is brilliant!

    The Hyperloop: BUSTED!

  • Alex: You are right of course. Not every idea coming from Elon Musk is right. Not only is Musk’s concept of a hyperloop train not very practical or affordable, his Tesla car company leaves me very cold.

  • wayne

    The solar-panel company Musk is having Tesla buy from his cousin= pure Cronyism is their business-model. Eliminate the subsidies & mandates on solar-panel derived electricity and Solar City just doesn’t work.

  • Localfluff

    The hyperloop was of course just an exercise in vacuum engineering. Never seriously meant. Just like his car and solar power companies. Everything Elon Musk does is about colonizing Mars. None of his businesses make any sense other than as pieces in that puzzle. If it isn’t useful for his Mars mission, he won’t do it. And he fools the stupid politicians to pay for most of it “because it is environmentally friendly”. Elon Musk is seriously going to Mars.

  • Alex

    Localfluff: ” Elon Musk is seriously going to Mars.” Maybe, but this will not ensure success automatically. I do not see that Musk undertakes real R&D measures to achieve that what is necessary to survive at Mars over a long period of time. As it seems, his “exercise in vacuum engineering” (Hyperloop) as you call it, is going to fail. What should be learned from that for Mars?

  • Edward

    Alex wrote: “I do not see that Musk undertakes real R&D measures to achieve that what is necessary to survive at Mars over a long period of time.”

    Musk does not need to put too much effort into this, as there are plenty of other people already working on these studies. We must also consider the possibility that one of the purposes of sending craft to the surface of Mars sooner, rather than later, is to begin taking along the technology being developed (not necessarily Musk-developed) in order to evaluate its performance on Mars.

    In September, Musk is expected to present details of SpaceX’s Mars missions, and perhaps this will be one of the topics discussed.

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