An evening pause: Fifty years ago today, America’s response to Gagarin and the Soviets, Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight.
Or as he said as he lifted off, “The clock has started.”
The flight actually lasted 15 minutes 22 seconds. Though only a fourth the size of Gagarin’s much bigger Vostok capsule, the Mercury capsule was steerable. During the flight Shepard adjusted the capsule’s pitch, roll, and yaw, proving that humans could pilot a spacecraft manually.
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.