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’s Falcon Heavy wins launch contract for VIPER lunar rover

Capitalism in space: Astrobotic, the company building the lander to place NASA’s VIPER lunar rover on the Moon, has picked SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy as the rocket to launch the package.

This mission is part of a fleet of landers being sent to the Moon in the next two years, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to hire private companies to do this rather than NASA.

Intuitive Machines, which won CLPS task orders for two lander missions, will launch each on Falcon 9 vehicles late this year and in 2022. Masten Space Systems selected SpaceX to provide launch services for its XL-1 lander mission, which won a CLPS award for a late 2022 mission.

Astrobotic will launch its first CLPS mission, a smaller lunar lander called Peregrine, on the inaugural launch of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur currently scheduled for late this year. Firefly Aerospace, which won the most recent CLPS award in January, has not selected a launch provider yet for its Blue Ghost lander, but noted the lander is too large to launch on the company’s own Alpha rocket.

That’s five American lunar missions, all built and owned by private companies. Nor will these be the only unmanned lunar missions, when you include the UAE rover targeted for a ’22 launch, along with additional planned Indian, Chinese, and Russian missions. Almost all are aimed at the Moon’s south polar regions.

It is going to get both crowded and busy on the Moon in the next few years.

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5 comments

  • pzatchok

    I am so glad that SpaceX is not forcing the other launch companies to drop prices.

    I can tell that that the old launch companies just didn’t even want the contract so they didn’t even make a real bid.

  • Richard M

    What is likewise impressive is just how much launches to the Moon – or lunar space – SpaceX is racking up. This now makes seven (7) confirmed launches by SpaceX for Artemis in some way, shape, or form:

    * Intuitive Machines Mission 1 (IM-1) 2021
    * Masten Mission One 2022
    * Intuitive Machines Mission 2 (IM-2) 2022
    * VIPER 2023 (FH)
    * Gateway PPE+HALO Module 2024 (FH)
    * Gateway Dragon XL Logistics Flight 1 2024+(FH)
    * Gateway Dragon XL Logistics Flight2 2024+ (FH)

    And now, on top of that, SpaceX also will now launch a UAE lander to the Moon, too.

  • Jeff Wright

    In terms of rovers-I want you to imagine this: A Starship has a set of legs that allow it to go horizontal. It becomes a giant rover with small craft in it.

  • Regular lunar space operations will be a huge step for SpaceX, and for humans in general. Very convenient to have a large, nearby body to practice cruise, orbital insertion, and other Mars-necessary activities. I would think they’d try their own lunar lander at some point. Or maybe Musk wants to practice on Mars.

  • Star Bird

    The Liberals in Space program lets send liberals to Uranus

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