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Jim at Baykonur for another Soyuz dawn roll-out to the pad


November 18 – Jim’s assessment of possible secret Russian ‘killer-satellite’ test For NBC News and in the Moscow Times [English]


Jim’s comments on the Philae comet landing drama


Latest news on cosmonaut handguns on Soyuz flights

Jim on MSNBC: What went wrong on SpaceShipTwo?


Jim’s appeal to the Astronaut Memorial Foundation on behalf of Alsbury


Jim wins 2014 Journalism Award from planetary scientists.

The American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences has selected Jim as the 2014 winner of the Division of Planetary Science's "Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award" to recognize and stimulate distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences. This is awarded annually in recognition for a single story or article published or produced within the previous year. Jim's winning entry was "Torrid Mercury's Icy Poles," in Astronomy magazine's December 2013 issue. The Nominating Committee felt this story expertly explored the history of the search for Mercury's water ice.

Read the article here

Read Astronomy Magazine's article about Jim

Jim's 2013 Astronomy Magazine Cover story about the Chelyabinsk fireball


Jim's opinion piece on remembering -- and commemorating -- Mike Alsbury as an astronaut.

"If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial." Wilbur Wright, 1901


Video of Jim's talk at the Mars Society Conference on strategies for internationalization of major space projects.

Slides for Jim's Mars Presentation


October 29, 2014 – Jim interview with Houston KPRC [NBC affiliate]
October 30, 2014: Jim on NBC ‘TODAY’ show on Antares explosion
Oct 29, 30 – Oct 28 & 29 I did back-to-back appearances on MSNBC "Last Word", from the "Total Video" studio in Houston. My old friends there helped me set up the visual backdrop, here's a photo in the studio showing one particular relevant item over my right shoulder.

Oct 31, 2014 – Jim comments on Antares explosion in ‘Moscow News’


China’s Chang’e-5 round-the-moon mission [Oct 23-31, 2014]: Jim nails the undisclosed lunar fly-by altitude [12,000 km] by trigonometric analysis of ‘tourist photo’ 

September 9, 2014 MSNBC
Crimea Catch-22: Russia Space Training May Put NASA in a Bind


September 2, 2014 -- Mystery Rocky Mountain Fireball NOT an 'exploding Russian spysat'


Mars Comet Near-Miss
Oct 17, 2014, IEEE Spectrum magazine
Comet “Siding Spring” at Mars” – People should have BEEN there by now


October 17, 2014 Jim’s speculation on mission of X-37B [comments]

My own theory, based on long philosophical discussions with Air Force space strategists [connected with my writing the US Space Command's "Space Power Theory" in 1999] is that the vehicle is testing and exercising "local situation awareness" sensors designed to overcome the surprising blindness that military space operators can't reliably detect enemy attempts to approach, interfere with, attach to, or even penetrate US military space objects.
What has been needed are on-board sensors that can 'hear', 'see', 'smell', and 'feel' indicators that unwanted visitors are operating near, on, or inside our satellites.
Such sensors -- gas sniffers, optical systems, short-range radar/lidar, broad radio spectrum detectors, etc -- would be activated and then tested by deploying small 'friendlies' in the near-vicinity of the detection web, and determining the detection threshold of various instruments.  
Such activities would not be observable from the ground.
You would most certainly NOT want adversaries to know how well, or NOT, you could detect interference attempts.


Jim with long-time friend and colleague Dr. Everett Gibson, leading researcher on search for signs of past life on Mars, at Mars Society Conference, League City, Texas


Jim shows his book 'Mission to Mars' to Bas Lansdorp director of the controversial "MarsOne" Mars settlement project, Tookie's Restaurant, Kemah, Texas, August 9, 2014


Crisis in US-Russian space partnership?

Click here for links to Jim's current coverage and past predictions regarding US Russian relations.

September 9, 2014 MSNBC
Crimea Catch-22: Russia Space Training May Put NASA in a Bind

May 2014 Russian cartoon -- Frantic American astronauts: "Houston, what's this about going ON FOOT? What the hell kind of sanctions?"

May 2014 Russian newspaper cartoons -- one photoshops Apollo picture to show Russian flag on Moon instead; other alters same photo to show cosmonaut urinating on US flag. (click image for full size)


Russia's Mysterious Missile Warhead Tests -- Exposed on YOUTUBE!

May 20: ANOTHER Mystery Missile Test on YOUTUBE!

News report in the Business Standard

Jim's May 20 advisory to news media clients



Jim visits Dombarovskiy ICBM base for Bigelow module launch (PDF Download - 16MB)

Jim's lecture on the visit from 2010:

Jim visits North Koreas SOHAE satellite launch base for NBC

Trip pre-visit preparation

Detailed results

Trip retrospective

Mojave Spaceport [2004] -- SpaceShipOne reaches space
Cosmodrome Baykonur -- Jim explores it from end to end [links under development]

"In the early 1990's, a bitter Russian pun reflected people's disenchantment with Soviet space budgets. As hundreds of locations around the country were restored to their pre-Soviet names, the joke was that the 'Kosmodrom Baykonur' would also be given its authentic name -- henceforth it would be referred to as the 'Baykadrom Kosmodur'. Russians I told it to either laughed uproariously, or glowered in angry frustration. It's a brilliant Russian-language word-play meaning, essentially, "Stadium where space fools compete in lying to each other."
Jim's spaceport inspection report [1996]
PLESETSK -- Russian military rocket base, at the head of Jim's "bucket list" to visit.
WENCHING -- China's new spaceport, near top of Jim's "bucket list"


Jim’s Speaking Program for 2014 - 2015 Filling Up

Conferences, conventions, industry seminars, university activities, private groups, educational and hobby programs, and other audiences of any size seeking entertaining and informative talks on various aspects of outer space are encouraged to contact Jim Oberg soon for their necessary scheduling of talks in the coming academic year. His expanded repertory of topics now includes several new offerings and updated old favorites. These programs can be tailored to specific length and focus needs.


September 2013 - Aerospace America: China 2.0



This new book commemorates our small international 'band of brothers' who were in hindsight astonishingly successful at winkling secrets out of the Soviet space program in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Cold War Space Sleuths: The Untold Secrets of the Soviet Space Program"

Cold War Space Sleuths

Cold War Space Sleuths - tribute to pioneering work of Jim Oberg

Editor Dom Phelan calls him "the man who more than most became the archetypal Cold War Space Sleuth"/ Colleagues label him "provocative, interesting, adversarial, and controversial but he does have a basic respect for the facts...", and added: "What distinguished Oberg's work was a certain flamboyance coupled with assiduous and exacting research. He was also not afraid to tell a good story – although not at the expense of the facts."

Cold War Space Sleuths excerpts


1989: Moscow IZVESTIYA editor praises Oberg 'secret sleuthing'

The 'Cosmogram Chronicles' [1983-1992]

1986: Exposing Soviet 'Space Disinformation'

Finding the Deleted Cosmonauts

jim bunker

Mishin diaries




General Prospects for Russia's Space Program

NBCNews [Sep 28, 2012] Russians face their space crisis Agency chief worries that country's aerospace industry is becoming uncompetitive

NY Times [Feb 3, 2013]: Russia must Choose: Low Tech or High?

'Aerospace America' [Aug 2012]: Russian Space Program Staggers, Recovers

Sep 11, 2012 -- ADVISORY -- Moscow Announces 'Get Well' Plan for Space Program Crisis



Women-in-Space Anniversaries: Valentina Tereshkova [50th], Sally Ride [30th]



Aerospace America, July-August 2012
Jim's prophetic article on Russia's struggles to improve its spaceflight reliability



Russia’s “Fobos-Grunt” [“Phobos-Dirt”] Debacle



Book Foreward

Jim's visionary Foreword to new book "Space Probes" anticipates an era of planetary discovery involving exobiology on a dozen other worlds.

Space Probes Cover Image



Jim does refamiliarization walkabout at Mojave Air & Spaceport ahead of this year's dramatic pioneering flight tests
February 10, 2012

The Space Ship Company FAITH Facility

The Spaceship Company's brand spanking new facility, 'FAITH' -- the "Final Assembly, Integration, and Test Hangar"

Jim with Scaled Composites President Douglas Shane

Jim with new 'Scaled Composites' president, Douglas Shane.

Gateway to Space

Jim at the doorway to Mojave, California, the doorway to personal space travel.


Jim inside the high-security TSC 'FAITH' spaceship assembly complex

XCOR Lynx Trainer

Jim inside the XCOR Lynx rocket plane trainer [he FITS!]

Jim recalls Space Ship One

Jim recalls his repeat visits in 2004 for the epochal SpaceShipOne launches

inspecting carbon composite

Inside the TSC fabrication hall inspecting carbon composite sheet.

Inside FAITH

Inside FAITH, with Virgin Galactic director of flight safety Jon Turnipseed [right] and 'The Spaceship Company' official Enrico Palermo, Vice President for operations.

Lee Valentine

With Lee Valentine, Director of XCOR Aerospace.



Recent Articles

Space Sight: How Can You Prepare to See Earth From Space? Feb 5,

Private Spaceflight: Up, Up, and Away This year, commercial spaceflight will really take off By JAMES OBERG / JANUARY 2012

[January 28, 2012] Separating moon from moonshine -- Jim comments on MSNBC re Gingrich proposals

Thanksgiving Aboard the ISS

Karen Nyberg
With Karen Nyberg, summer 2013 ISS crewmember




Is the Russian Space Industry Capable of Building the New RUS-R booster? "Aerospace America", October 2011

Op-Ed By James Oberg: Why Is NASA Caving to the Russians On I.S.S.? July 25th, 2011

July 21-- At End of Shuttle, Russians Brag of'Era of Reliability



Space Special Image Gallery

buran mir

Soviet-era artwork of Buran shuttle docked to Mir

polyus skif

Demise of Soviet Polyus-Skif battle station, May 1986 [As Astra magazine]

soyuz ascent

Soyuz ascent ground-track – 3-D view

moscow news graphic

Moscow news graphic of recent space failures

sputnik headline

October 5, 1957 -- Sputnik launch headline

sputnik headline 1957

November 4, 1957 - Sputnik-2 launch headline

vanguard rocket headline

December 1957 -- US 'Vanguard' rocket explodes



Marking the end of the space shuttle program

Goodbye, shuttle. The next generation? Frustration. By James Oberg // USA Today // July 7, 2011 The nimble program showed NASA that in space, we must expect the unexpected. The next generation's designers seem to have forgotten this.

Six Things We Lose With the End of the Shuttle Program --The shuttle's all-but-irreplaceable capabilities made it a vehicle that performed in unforeseen situations James Oberg/ July 2011 // SPECTRUM // Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

12 Space Shuttle Missions That Weren't
A look at some of the gutsier (and goofier) proposed space shuttle missions By James Oberg / June 2011

Nine Astronauts Who OUGHT to Have Been on a Shuttle flight July 23, 2011

The Tenth "Should Have Flown Shuttle" Astronaut



Thirtieth Anniversary of First Shuttle Orbital Flight

Jim Oberg - 'Propulsion Consumables' console 1981
Jim Oberg - 'Propulsion Consumables' console 1981



STS1 badge
Jim's Mission Control Center access badge, April 1981

Propulsion console back room
OMS/RCS Propulsion Console Back Room, STS-1 Launch Propulsion team: Fred Frere, Jim, Lt Joe Squatrito (behind), Sandy Mangold (front) Flight Computer team: Gerry Knori, Andy Algate

Accidental STS-1 Alumni Reunion
Accidental STS-1 Alumni Reunion (2008) -- Jim Oberg, Colonel Joe Squatrito, Wayne Hale

press badge
Jim's 'News Media' Badge (1981)

STS 1 Team
Another view of STS-1 prop team: Front, Charlie Young, Fred Frere Back: College Kid, Tony Ceccacci, Gary Coen, Wayne Hale

STS 1 T-Shirt
Jim's "Ascent Team" T-shirt, displayed shortly after liftoff after the SECOND countdown (note 'eventually')





Space Policy Options

06/15/2010 - MSNBC: "How risky is it to rely on Russian spaceflight?"

12/13/2010 - AP: Russia's Soyuz soon to be only lifeline to space

'Spectrum' (April 2010): "Wesley T. Huntress: Author of NASA's New Strategy"

MSNBC (Oberg): The right and wrong stuff for space cooperation (Oberg): "Why private 'space taxis' may not be as hard as many think"

09/11/2009 - Which way for NASA? ‘Flexible Path’ concept may work out best

Discussing Jim's Article here

08/17/2009 - Space Review: How To Make Man-to-Mars Less Impossible

Final chapter from ‘Star-Crossed Orbits’ (2002) on perils of partnerships in space

The ‘Huntress Report’ – “Stepping Stones to Mars”

‘The Mars Conquest’ (2001) on the value of human Mars settlement

01/14/2004 - USA TODAY: “Think outside moon-Mars box: Maybe visit asteroid”

Human Asteroid Missions for Planetary Defense (1998 speech)




Baykonur Cosmodrome VIP Tours

Expert Guidance on Planning, Preparation, and Escorting

Are you going to Russia’s Baykonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to attend the launch of a manned ‘Soyuz’ spaceship, a commercial communications satellite, a scientific probe, or any other reason? The long-mysterious and super-secret spaceport has become a mecca for ‘space tourists’ of the 21st Century, but understanding what you will see, or even what you are actually seeing once you get there, is hindered by decades of secrecy, by the fog of cultural barriers, and by the impenetrability of “technical jargon” associated with “rocket science”. Now a solution is available – a world expert on penetrating “Soviet space secrets” is available to expand the value of your experience. Jim Oberg can triple the appreciation of your experience by careful pre-trip organization and briefings, and as desired by personal interpretative and explanatory services on site. For more details, go HERE.




Space disasters still have lessons to teach

As shuttle era winds down, future rocketeers must develop safety culture




Recent TV appearances on national space policy
(still working out the techniques of Skype Webcam from his own office)




Oberg snoops around Houston space center during June, 2011 press events






Latest Russian Spaceship Upgrade: The "Digital Soyuz"




Is Russia's Cosmonaut Training Center Collapsing?




01/19/2010 - IEEE Spectrum: Russia's Ailing ICBM Program




04/2010 - IEEE Spectrum: U.S. Air Force Launches Secret Flying Twinkie




Jim interviews father-son spacers Owen and Richard Gariott




Completing the International Space Station

Jim with first ESA commander of the ISS (Oct-Dec 2009), Frank Dewinne




Russia's 500-Day Mars Mission Simulation

About the simulation




“There’s no soy ooze in ‘Soyuz’” (pronouncing Russian space terms)




09/2007 - Satellite to test special deliveries from space [tether!!]




Aerospace History Controversies Continue

Space History Controversies Revived:

** Gagarin and the ‘secret cosmonauts’



Jim summarizes world space activities on ‘Russia Today’

Jim discusses how a secret Moscow missile test caused a major Soviet UFO panic
Physics Forums on this case: “This guy’s work was really impressive. I wouldn't have known where to start. This so beats our speculating about dubious news stories.”

Dara Brown, MSNBC, interviews Jim on satellite collision (Feb 2009)




Russia To Continue Space Tourism Flights Post-2010

Commercial Space Tourism Advances




Interesting People




Interplanetary Exploration




Preparing for Human Flight to Mars




Novosti, February 27, 2007: New Kourou Launch Pad Can Conduct Manned Flights

News item (my translation), quoting Anatoliy Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency, while visiting the European launch center at Kourou, French Guyana: "Yes, of course, over the long term, the ‘Soyuz-ST’ [booster] which will be launched from Kourou can be used also for manned launches. This promising manned transport system, developed now together with the European partners, can be used for organizng, from Kourou, the launches of manned spacecraft."

See March-April 2007, LAUNCH magazine feature article on
the future of human orbital missions launched from South America




Space Hotel Test Flight Delayed

June 6, 2006

Test flight for space hotel delayed




Soyuz Launch -- Up Close and Personal

‘Every launch is like the first one’
What it's like to witness a spaceship set off for the space station



Jim returns from triumphant 'Earth Orbit' educational program for American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY).

This program involved fourteen travelers who visited the Hayden Planetarium, the NASA Goddard Space Center, the National air & Space Museum, Capa Canaveral
and the Kennedy Space Center, then Russian space sites such as various museums (including some usually closed to
the public), the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, and the Baykonur Cosmodrome, where they attended the Soyuz TMA-7 blastoff on October 1.

(Sep 22) With Story Musgrave at the Saturn/Shuttle ‘Vertical Assembly Building’ (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
(Sep 22) With Story Musgrave at the Saturn/Shuttle ‘Vertical Assembly Building’ (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida

(Sep 26) Examining SFOG canister (‘Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator’) inside Mir mockup at ‘Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center’. A unit like this one malfunctioned in February 1997 and nearly killed six crewmen, including a visiting american astronaut.(Sep 26) Examining SFOG canister (‘Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator’) inside Mir mockup at ‘Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center’. A unit like this one malfunctioned in February 1997 and nearly killed six crewmen, including a visiting american astronaut.

(Sep 26) Peering into Soyuz ‘Orbital Module’ trainer at ‘Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center’, Star City, NE of Moscow
(Sep 26) Peering into Soyuz ‘Orbital Module’ trainer at ‘Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center’, Star City, NE of Moscow
(Sep 29) At edge of Soyuz flame pit an hour after booster installation on the launch pad, two days prior to blastoff. L-R: Jim, Jo Dominguez, Doug Grimes (MirCorp Travel), Alicia Stevens (Discovery Tours, AMNH)
(Sep 29) At edge of Soyuz flame pit an hour after booster installation on the launch pad, two days prior to blastoff. L-R: Jim, Jo Dominguez, Doug Grimes (MirCorp Travel), Alicia Stevens (Discovery Tours, AMNH).



Jim Covers Shuttle’s Return-to-Flight’ for NBC





Jim spends an hour on National Public Radio discussing spaceflight
(Real player required)

"Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2005, 3:00 PM // Wisconsin Public Radio, "Ideas Network" Ben Merens: While NASA engineers continue to examine the Space Shuttle, Ben Merens and his guest examine the planned mission, as well as the history, and future of the shuttle program.

Guest: Jim Oberg, former Space Shuttle mission control engineer."



New Oberg presentation for industrial safety conferences:

“Flaws in the ‘NASA Safety Culture’ and Their Lessons for Earthside Safety”

This presentation shows how many notorious space disasters were not due to inherent hazards of space, but were due to violating well-known principles of hi-tech safety. It provides explanations for the Challenger and Columbia shuttle catastrophes and for the 1999 Mars robot fleet disaster...



"Curmudgeon's Corner" space blog names Oberg "best space reporter" of 2004.

Mark Whittington at 'Curmudgeon's Corner', a blog that covers technology and spaceflight and other topics, put together his year in space awards for 2004, and the full text is on his home page.

"Best space reporter. James Oberg, for actually knowing of what he writes and talks about,
which is not necessarily true for all reporters on the space beat."




***Notice to Would-Be Whistleblowers***




Jim Oberg's Tribute to Max Faget - October 10, 2004



07/06/2004 - Cosmonaut Nikolayev's Body Reported Hijacked By Politician




Read the first two chapters of Jim's classic
1981 book on "terraforming", NEW EARTHS




See Jim's Latest on MSNBC.COM's Sci-Tech Page




“Toward a Theory of Space Power”, James Oberg, remarks delivered May 20, 2003, Washington Roundtable on Science & Public Policy, sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute, Washington, DC. 28 pages. $10.00 postage paid ($12.00 outside North America). A recent book by Everett Dolman, Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age, speaks of the importance of space and space-faring nations and has high praise for Oberg’s work. Dolman writes, “Strategy, grand strategy in particular, is not simply the efficient military application of force. Since grand strategy is ultimately political in nature, that is to say the ends of national strategy are inextricably political, yet the means or dimensions of strategy are not limited.” He goes on to define six or seven things that make up a grand strategy, and concludes by saying, “To date, only James Oberg’s Space Power Theory [now out of print with an expanded version in preparation], a comprehensive effort commissioned by the United States Space Command, approaches the requirements laid out above.”




Contact James Regarding Lecture Availability



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