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.

Webb’s primary mirror successfully deployed

Today engineers successfully completed the unfolding of the primary mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope.

The two wings of Webb’s primary mirror had been folded to fit inside the nose cone of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket prior to launch. After more than a week of other critical spacecraft deployments, the Webb team began remotely unfolding the hexagonal segments of the primary mirror, the largest ever launched into space. This was a multi-day process, with the first side deployed Jan. 7 and the second Jan. 8.

Mission Operations Center ground control at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore began deploying the second side panel of the mirror at 8:53 a.m. EST. Once it extended and latched into position at 1:17 p.m. EST, the team declared all major deployments successfully completed.

Next step over the next few months will be aligning the primary mirrors 18 segments with each other as well as the secondary mirror. First science images are expected during the summer, but do not be surprised if NASA releases some test images before then, should all be well and it obtains some eye candy.


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  • Joe

    The major hurdles are cleared. Nice going. Now to see if the fine tuning gives us good view or if we have another Hubble incident.

  • wayne


    The Space Telescope Science Institute (if I’m understanding this correctly) manages the day-to-day operations of the Hubble, who will be performing that task for the Webb?

  • wayne

    I can’t resist…

    Armageddon (1998)
    “Roger that, we’re Moving the Hubble”

  • wayne: The Institute is running Webb also.

  • Call Me Ishmael

    “… who will be performing that task for the Webb?”

    Space Telescope Science Institute. They’ve been licking their chops for a long time now.

  • wayne

    Mr. Z., & Call Me Ishmael;

    Thank you both.

  • David M. Cook

    Wouldn‘t it be better to assemble & test the ‘scope on an orbital platform, then launch it gently to it‘s site, avoiding the stresses and limitations of a ground-based takeoff?

  • LocalFulff

    Watch this beautiful deployment of JWST:

    The satellite dots in the ending scene are of course photoshoped. But this is what it had looked like if you had been an astronaut on that upper stage watching JWST going out there. And it has happened!

    Now he’s on his own, and eager to frustrate every cosmologist with the discoveries of its gilded mirrors in the sky.

    I bet that there are one or two elderly ones who have advocated a certain theory of what the outermost edge of the universe actually looks like, who today consider what their pension plan looks like… No, I think they take extra pills or start jogging or whatever in order to survive what the Heck is going to happen next in astronomy. Now everyone is sitting on needles.

  • Edward

    David M. Cook asked: “Wouldn‘t it be better to assemble & test the ‘scope on an orbital platform, then launch it gently to it‘s site, avoiding the stresses and limitations of a ground-based takeoff?

    Yes, and I can hardly wait until we have such facilities in orbit. Not only will vibration be significantly less and acoustic forces not exist, but extra weight is needed when designing a structure that holds together the probe or satellite during 1G assembly and 4G launch rather than designing for on-orbit manufacture or assembly.

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