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ULA today stated that they have enough Russian engines in stock to complete the 36 launch U.S. military bulk buy.

ULA today stated that they have enough Russian engines in stock to complete the 36 launch U.S. military bulk buy.

Whether they will actually complete that bulk buy remains unknown.

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.


  • Hi Bob,
    I looked for some link to email you directly, not finding one I decided to comment on this article, since it’s remotely related to my subject. I am a regular listener to John Batchelor, and thoroughly enjoy your commentary.

    I wanted to alert you to a space related contest – put on by and is called the Hackaday Prize. Entrants are invited to post projects of a future looking nature, and some metric of popularity and judging is to award one lucky entrant with a Trip To Space. You would know better than me who would be providing this prize, but apparently the winner won’t be riding a Russian engine. (there’s the remotely related part).

    I entered the contest, and they also asked that we spread the word around. They had some suggestions, but since I get my Space related news form you via John Batchelor (sometimes C2C) and Hackaday encourages innovation and an open, collaborative approach to development, I thought you might like to discuss the contest.

    I’m afraid my project is not a rocket engine that seems to be in demand all of a sudden, but it’s “out there”.

    Thanks again for the great commentary !


  • Hi Eric.

    Is there a link to this contest?

  • geoffc

    Do we know the breakdown of Atlas vs Delta boosters in that bulk buy? Assume half/half. I recall that several of the buys were for Delta4-Heavy’s which need 3 cores each. So assume 3 Heavys, that is 9 of the 36 cores. Assume the remaining 27 go half/half Delta/Atlas. They are saying they have 13 or 14 engines in stockpile? That seems pretty large to hold, just from a cost of storage perspective.

  • Kelly Starks

    From the Wikipedia list it looks like the Atlas-V has been launching 4-5 a year. So yeah 3.5 years would come out to that many.

    But why would they be expensive to hold?

  • I should have posted a direct link, sorry.

  • Interesting indeed. I have posted this on BtB. Thanks for the tip, and good luck!

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