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September 2013 - Aerospace America: China 2.0

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CHELYABINSK METEOR !!

My cover story for the May issue of 'Astronomy' magazine features the Chelyabinsk Super-Bolide. The main story is for subscribers only, but a sidebar on an intriguing unpublicized feature of the meteor -- some people HEARD it hissing by overhead, minutes before the shock wave reached the ground -- is fully accessible here.

astronomy magazine cover

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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

SLEUTHING SOVIET SPACE SECRETS [1990]

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

 

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North Korean space rocket -- 2013 developments

[May 15th, 2012 ] What I Didn't Learn At North Korea's Rocket Launch // By James Oberg

NBCNews [Dec 2, 2012] Has North Korea learned its lessons about launches?

The Space Review: Using "rocket science" to understand North Korea's space and missile efforts Monday, March 18, 2013

Dec 10, 2012 -- ADVISORY -- Launch Window Opens for North Korean Satellite

Dec 11, 2012 -- ADVISORY -- North Korean satellite -- SUCCESS

Dec 12, 2012 -- ADVISORY -- CAREFUL - North Korean rocket did NOT fly over Okinawa

Jan 30, 2013 -- ADVISORY -- South Korean Satellite Success vs North Korea

Apr 15, 2013 -- ADVISORY -- US Navy recovered NorKor rocket nosecone in December

The Mystery of the Morphing North Korean Space Centers WHY the major remodeling in 2012?

"Rocket Spotting in North Korea" Description and sample slides of presentation available from Jim Oberg

Jim has developed a presentation on his experiences inside the North Korean space program [April 2012], as a speaker

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Columbia shuttle disaster -- tenth anniversary [2003-2013]

NBCNEWS [Feb 1, 2013]: Ten years later, Columbia's tragic loss serves as a warning to NASA

Top 10 myths surrounding NASA's Columbia space shuttle disaster By James Oberg, NBC News Space Analyst Feb 1, 2013 // 9:13 AM EST

Feb 2, 2013: MSNBC: "Did NASA Keep Columbia's doomed Crew in the Dark?"

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Russia's "Fast Rendezvous" Missions

Last year's preview article

NBC News [March 28, 2013]: Revised ride to space station may be faster – but it's also less comfortable

NBC News [March 27, 2013]: Space station shifts its orbit to make speedy crew rendezvous possible

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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

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Nine myths about Neil Armstrong

Aug 25, 2012, NBCNews.com // Nine myths about Neil Armstrong Much of what was reported is accurate, and much is wrong — some is just plain silly

Aug 25, 2012 -- moslem Armstrong moon myth

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

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50th anniversary of Gordo Cooper's Mercury-9 flight

photo: Gordo Cooper and Ed Mitchell on Apollo-10 backup crew, 1969

photo: Cooper with AFROTC cadet Oberg [1963]

Mercury MA-9 mission [1963]

Gemini GT-5 mission [1965]

Autobiography: "Leap of Faith"

Dies in 2004

Poor reputation within NASA

Wall Street Journal [1997] on Cooper's Business Disasters

Astronaut Gordon Cooper Talks About UFOs
Link 1
Link 2

Why Would Cooper Tell Such UFO Tales?

Tall Tale: Cooper saves shuttle with relayed telepathic warning from aliens

Tall Tale: Cooper's Imaginary Gemini-5 Meteor Attack

Tall Tale: Area 51 and Gordon Coopers "Confiscated Camera"

Cooper's original Germany 'UFO story' -- Weather balloons
March 5, 1976: Acuff [Jack Acuff, NICAP Director] tells me: "I talked to Cooper several years ago. He is into weird stuff, but he said he hadn't seen any UFOs on his space flights.... he did talk about a UFO in Germany that he chased and then decided was a weather balloon."

Cooper - Acuff

The Hunt For Gordon Cooper's UFOs [1984 investigation]

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Korean Airlines 007 Shootdown (1983)

In recent years, press coverage in Moscow suggests a reversion to the Soviet-era "spyflight" accusations, and Putin has proclaimed he's had enough "history that casts Russia in a bad light", but expanded Moscow-Seoul contacts would argue against retrograde Russian officials from making a big deal of reopening this wound. Still, unanswered questions remain: how severely did the US Navy provoke Soviet air defense forces in a series of carrier-based overflights six months before the KAL-007 shootdown? Why did the Soviets choose to attack the plane over international waters? Were any bodies actually recovered and secretly cremated? Much has been revealed, but much remains hidden away.

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Details Emerge of Chang’e-2 Asteroid Encounter
Some—but not all—of the mystery surrounding the flight is cleared up

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

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Chinese Spacecraft Models

 

Shenzhou human spacecraft
Shenzhou human spacecraft [1:40 scale]

 

Shenzhou human spacecraft
Shenzhou human spacecraft [1:40 scale]

 

Long March 2F Booster
Long March 2F Booster
 
   

 

 

Jim's Epic Expedition to North Korea's Secret Spaceport

Jim Oberg in North Korea

What we learned from North Korea's rocket no-show

April 7: Arrival in North Korea [video]

April 8: Launch and visit pose risks

April 8: Visiting the launch site

April 9: "Ground Truth" about Sohae launch site

April 9: Official Northe Korean story, video

April 9: Jim called an admitted "cog in the country's propaganda wheel,"

Engel and Oberg answer questions

April 10: North Korean video of mcc visit

April 10: N. Korea's 'unconvincing' answers to satellite questions

April 11: North Koreans desperate for Western approval of launch

April 12: chat log 1

April 12: Failure is an option for North Korea satellite ... then what? ORIGINAL STORY

April 13: How will North Korea cope with its rocket failure? [post-launch story]

April 13: chat log 2

April 13: Failed rocket launch? What rocket launch?

April 14: South Korea searches for rocket debris

Kyodo news interview

Jim Oberg in North Korea

 

Jim in North Korea
Jim Oberg in North Korea  

 

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

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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

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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.

TSC FAITH Complex

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.

 

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Recent Articles

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

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

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Space Stories to Watch in 2013


Surprises and Shocks

  • NEW DISCOVERIES
  • NEW PLAYERS APPEAR
  • FALLING SATELLITE CRISES
  • RANDOM FAILURES
  • HUMAN WEAKNESSES
  • STRANGE SIGHTINGS

 

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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

June 9 -- Chinese Redirect Moon Probe To Lagrange Point SEL2

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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

 

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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

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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')
 

 

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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

MSNBC.com (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)

 

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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.

 

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Space disasters still have lessons to teach

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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NEW: Dec 16, 2010 -- Did Russia Lose Comm with New Soyuz?

 

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Latest Russian Spaceship Upgrade: The "Digital Soyuz"

 

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Mysterious Chinese 'Space Rendezvous' Test?

 

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Is Russia's Cosmonaut Training Center Collapsing?

 

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

 

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

 

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Jim interviews father-son spacers Owen and Richard Gariott

 

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Completing the International Space Station


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

 

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Russia's 500-Day Mars Mission Simulation

About the simulation

Photos

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Jim’s Speaking Program for 2013 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.

 

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

 

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09/2007 - MSNBC.com: Satellite to test special deliveries from space [tether!!]

 

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Aerospace History Controversies Continue

Space History Controversies Revived:

** Gagarin and the ‘secret cosmonauts’

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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)

 

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Russia To Continue Space Tourism Flights Post-2010

Commercial Space Tourism Advances

 

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Interesting People

 

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Interplanetary Exploration

 

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Preparing for Human Flight to Mars

 

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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

 

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Space Hotel Test Flight Delayed

June 6, 2006


Test flight for space hotel delayed

 

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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

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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).

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

 

 

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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."

 

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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...

More...


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"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."

 

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

 

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


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

 

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

 

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

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NEW PAMPHLET:

“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.”

 

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Contact James Regarding Lecture Availability

 

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