The state of SLS construction.

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.

The state of SLS construction.

The article is mostly focused on the engineering challenges of building a new rocket out of old pieces of the space shuttle. Kind of reminds me of Frankenstein. Nonetheless, I do get the impression for the first time that this heavy lift rocket will be built, and will fly at least once.

After that, however, I expect it to die from lack of funds. In fact, its history will probably parallel that of the Soviet Union’s Energia rocket, which flew twice, once to launch their shuttle copycat Buran and once to lift a failed payload whose purpose has never been clearly revealed. Soon thereafter came bankruptcy and the end of the Soviet Union, which couldn’t afford such a monstrosity. SLS will likely see a similar fate.


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This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

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  • Kelly Starks

    Whistling in the grave yard Bod. SLS is the top priority for NASA, and core of all future maned space plans. Anything else will be sacrificed for it. Price doesn’t mater.

  • A. Feit

    We got the Ares program as Apollo on steroids. Its seems that the SLS program is Direct on steroids. Maybe the steroids should be left out of the equation and use good engineering practice.

  • Kelly Starks

    SLS is just the retained half of Constellation.

    Problem is Griffnis Constellation concept was horible!!!
    – Apollo like craft to restore Apolo like public enthisiasm.
    – Few big flights, rather then lots of small flights to purge the Shuttle image of space being routine.
    – Make the per flight costs much much higher to keep voter enthusiasm up with NASA pork ni their districts.
    – Develop all of this out of canabalized shuttle parts – but keeping the worst -most dangerous – parts of the shuttle.

    But by now its all congress sees as a future, especial after SpaceX bungling and cost surge beyond shuttle.

  • Robert Clark

    I always thought that first test launch in 2017 would likely fly, mostly because it’s primary construction will be during the current administration, and it would be unlikely for an incoming administration to cancel that flight so soon after coming into office.
    The later flights though would be dubious. Greater support for the SLS could be obtained for those later flights if it were to be used for a return to the Moon, something for which there is widespread support.
    The current administration is aiming for an asteroid flight purely for political reasons. Now NASA has to scramble to find some justification for it. The following administration would be under no such restraints. Then the following SLS flights could be redirected towards the Moon, IF an architecture for it could be found at a lower cost.
    The point is such an architecture is doable and not even hard: rather than aiming for “Apollo on steroids”, aim for missions *smaller* than Apollo.

    Bob Clark

  • Kelly Starks

    Really there is no work being done no doing a maned asteroid mission. Its just material for a speach.

    SL:S no the otherhand has wide bi-partisan suport in congress adn senaet (who adamently rejected any Obama proposals to drop it – even if Obama promised them huge amounts of pork to drop it) so SLS is virtually to cancel.

    Its a stupid design, but with tremandous powerfull supporters.

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