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The last two satellites in Russia’s missile warning constellation have failed.

In January the last two satellites in Russia’s ballistic missile warning system shut down, with the first of the next generation replacement constellation not scheduled to launch until June.

“Oko-1 was part of Russia’s missile warning system. The system employed six satellites on geostationary and highly elliptical orbits. The last geostationary satellite got out of order in April last year. The two remaining satellites on highly elliptical orbits could operate only several hours a day. In the beginning of January, they also went out of order,” Kommersant said.

The new generation early warning satellite Tundra was planned to be launched in 2013. However, the launch was postponed several times as the apparatus was not ready to be put into operation, sources in the aerospace industry told the daily.

Increasingly I am reminded of the Cold War, when our competition was the bloated, inefficient, and poorly managed Soviet Union. The communist nation was definitely a threat, as they got a lot accomplished through sheer brute force and determination. Their long term problem was that it was an amazingly inefficient system, guaranteed to eventually fall apart.

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.

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