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.

Watch today’s launch of SpaceX’s Resilience manned capsule

According to a NASA report yesterday, the weather then stood at 50% for allowing a launch of four astronauts to ISS on SpaceX’s Resilience capsule tonight at 7:27 pm (Eastern).

That percentage was still reported this morning. Part of the issue is that SpaceX wants to recover the first stage, and the weather therefore not only has to be good in Florida, it has to be good in the Atlantic where the stage will come down.

NASA’s live coverage begins at 3:15 pm (Eastern). The link to that live stream is below the fold. As I write this at around noon (Eastern) it is simply NASA TV’s normal feed, which is essentially full time propaganda for NASA. After 3:15 pm it will switch to live coverage, which unfortunately will still be packed with pro-NASA propaganda, even though this launch is entirely being run by the private company SpaceX. NASA’s only part is that of a customer, with the ability to say “no” at any point. The rocket, the capsule, the launchpad, and the countdown, is operated completely by SpaceX and its employees.

I have also added the clean feed from NASA, which appears to carry little commentary or narration.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

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  • Richard M

    After 3:15 pm it will switch to live coverage, which unfortunately will still be packed with pro-NASA propaganda

    Everybody’s got a budget to secure.

    But yeah, this is why I watch either the SpaceX feed, or Everyday Astronaut’s, on the NASA launches.

  • Richard M: The NASA clean feed has been a pleasure today. Nothing but actual communications between real engineers discussing real issues. Silence otherwise.

  • Alex Andrite

    Very cool.
    I found the ‘strongback’ pull back huffing and puffing audio to be just right. “GET ME GOING !!”

    Now, I offer a Hanger 1 vodka toast to the Sailors on Board.
    Fair Winds and following Seas !


    awaiting your cruise book.

  • Jeff

    Alex – Yes, the live pad audio on the SpaceX feed during the last couple of minutes was very good! I don’t recall hearing so much hissing, groaning and straining (?) of a Falcon before. Indeed it seemed to be more than ready to go. Not sure if it was wind direction, new microphones or just director’s setting, but it added quite a bit to the final seconds.

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