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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Axiom chosen by NASA to build first Artemis moonsuits

Capitalism in space: NASA today awarded Axiom the contract to build the moonsuits the astronauts will use on the first lunar landing of its Artemis program, dubbed Artemis-3.

After reviewing proposals from its two eligible spacesuit vendors, NASA selected Axiom Space for the task order, which has a base value of $228.5 million. A future task order will be competed for recurring spacesuit services to support subsequent Artemis missions.

The contract award continues NASA shift from its failed spacesuit effort — taking fourteen years and a billion dollars to produce nothing — to hiring the private sector to do it.

Previously NASA had awarded contracts to both Axiom and Collins Aerospace to build spacesuits, either for spacewalks or on the Moon. Today’s award is specifically for moonsuits for that first lunar mission.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • GaryMike

    So happy to see Congress not part of the ‘process’.

  • Edward

    Have we seen this video yet? Why it is so difficult to design the next Moon suit when the Apollo suits worked so well: (15 minutes)

  • George C

    Edward, the supply chain that made it possible to produce those Apollo suits just doesn’t exist any more. That was when girls who would later go to MIT were making their own prom dress from raw cloth and thread and the boys they would later meet at MIT were rebuilding car engines so they could have a car. Nobody does that quality of handiwork even in the so called luxury goods markets. So it costs millions just for the training and the tooling.

    The story behind those Apollo suits and the involvement of Platex Bra company is quite interesting.

  • GaryMike

    George C:

    You remind me why I so much appreciate having been born so long ago.

    The future should learn from the past.

    AI in the Simulation can do that for us, if there’s enough demand.

  • wayne

    I’m sorta confused on the timeline, I thought “they” were going to land on the Moon in 2025?

    George C-
    Thanks for that Playtex factoid– if I’m recalling correctly there’s a lengthy period NASA film on the whole suit development thing.’

    -haven’t watched your linked-video yet, so excuse if redundant.
    Q: Apollo era–>did they use the same suit design for spacewalks & on the surface of the Moon?

  • wayne

    excellent period piece:

    Science Reporter
    “Suited For Space”
    NASA / MIT

  • Jeff Wright

    Vocational schools need a come-back.

  • Chris

    While I was laid off in 2008 I coached a local high school robotics team – the debut year for the team. Our rural high school did not have a shop, so there was no facility help and I provided the tools. With no shop teacher the faculty contact/help was a Spanish teacher. Her mechanical experience was that she knew her father-in-law who was a contractor, The physics and math teachers had outside gigs and so could not help after school.

    What I came to realize quickly was that almost none of the students had any mechanical aptitude at all. This included, for some, not understanding how to properly mount a bit into a drill chuck. Therefore the concept of mounting a motor, connecting the shaft of the motor to a wheel and dealing with the degrees of freedom, etc was a a black art.
    I did have one very good student, the son of a remodeling contractor. He had obviously been put to work with by his father over some appreciable time.

    We muddled through the competition and I taught as much as I could to the members of the team that wanted to learn. We did rather well in the competition considering that some schools had CNC machines to make gears on their robots.

    I also learned a bit from this experience:
    Actual hands-on work is indispensable. There is no substitute for doing – not talking about something, but doing. Only after you have “done it” can you talk about how it was done or how to improve it.
    Failure and knowing how and what failed is also indispensable.
    Getting someone to learn how to analyze is difficult. It is all but impossible without some physical experience.
    Getting someone to “see how something operates” is a great achievement.

  • Edward

    wayne asked: “Apollo era–>did they use the same suit design for spacewalks & on the surface of the Moon?

    My recollection is that they were largely the same, although there were a few differences for the command module pilot, who only had to go out to the service module to retrieve a film canister. One of the differences was in the sun visor, which the CMP did not have, but (as I recall) on Apollo 16, Commander John Young had CMP Ken Mattingly wear his visor to reduce the effect of the sun on Mattingly’s eyes. This shows that there was quite a bit of interchangeability between suits, so much of the designs would have to be similar, if not the same. I suspect also that the CMP had different boots, too.

    Wikipedia lists a couple of other differences:

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