Scroll down to read this post.


On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work 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.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Boeing picks company to manufacture flight suits for passengers on Starliner

Dover's spacesuits
ILC Dover’s spacesuits.

Capitalism in space: On May 26th ILC Dover announced it has been chosen by Boeing as one of two companies to manufacture flight suits for passengers on Starliner.

The Boeing AES [Ascent/Entry Suit] is based off ILC Dover’s commercial Launch, Entry, and Abort suit, SOL™. ILC Dover worked with Boeing to tailor SOL for the Starliner spacecraft to provide protection for astronauts during the most critical phases of spaceflight, including launch, docking, re-entry and landing. With over 50 years of spacesuit experience, the AES suit was designed to provide maximum mobility to operate, enter and exit the spacecraft, as well as provide protection for astronauts in case of an emergency.

The black spacesuit on the left in the picture is Dover’s SOL suit, which it is adapting for Boeing. The white suit is the spacewalk suit it has made for NASA for use on ISS, which I also think is the same spacesuit that has for now almost a decade had repeated problems with water leaking into the helmet.

In other words, big space Boeing has hired another big space company to build its Starliner flight suits. I hope ILC Dover does a better job with the AES suit then it has with its EVA suit.

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.


  • Gary

    SOL is an interesting acronym for something designed to keep you alive.

  • Col Beausabre

    When I was in the Army, “SOL” stood for (bowdlerized), “Sure Out of Luck”. I am not sure that I’d want the suit upon which my life depends in an emergency to be the SOL Suit.

  • Nick B.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think I’d want my spacesuit — intended to save me in an emergency — to be called SOL. :)

  • Nick B.

    Oops, didn’t see earlier comment — not trying to steal jokes ;)

  • JhonB

    I am just curious how they are going to get these capsules into orbit in the near future.

  • David Eastman

    That suit on the right doesn’t look all that much like the current suit as you would see it in actual usage, they obviously removed some stuff and tried to glamorize it a bit for the photo. The suit on the left.. if that’s the glamorized version, ouch. Looks like it’s designed for the people in Wall-E. Especially compared to the SpaceX flight suits, it just lacking any appeal.

  • George C.

    Not just a big space company but in the right little state of DE.

  • Doubting Thomas

    George – Did the Big Guy get his 10% ?

    Anxiously waiting to see if the FAA has any news on the last day of May.

  • pzatchok

    Soft EVA suits are so last year.

    Well actually they have all the disadvantages and none of the advantages,

    Why do you need independently mobile legs for an EVA space walk? Its not like your actually walking anyplace. Or even a soft torso, will you be doing a lot of crunches during your spacewalk?

    You need a ridged body with two arms and a head.

  • Edward

    pzatchokasked: “Why do you need independently mobile legs for an EVA space walk?”

    There may be times when it is desirable to place one or both feet into foot restraints. A flexible body could aid in turning to look around when the feet are restrained in this manner. Being able to bend the torso (e.g. bend got reach something at or on the suit’s calves) could also prove to be a benefit. Making a space suit more flexible physically, could make it more flexible operationally.

  • pzatchok

    You can still have a single foot restraint. Why have two?

    And you can still have a bit if twist at the waste for reach. But it would be easier to put the twist in the foot restraint system. No atmospheric seals to worry about around the waste.

    The only moving seals would be at the arms and those could be changed as needed from outside the suit by another suit.

    There is nothing an operator needs to access on the outside of the suit. All tools could be in a separate tool tray/rack.

    Or you could make fully functional robotic hands and arms and operate the suit from inside the station.
    Without your body inside it it would be far more functional and safe.

  • Edward

    You asked: “You can still have a single foot restraint. Why have two?

    For side-to-side stability, otherwise you are likely to rotate left and right. Think of trying to torque a wrench while standing on one foot.

    I still maintain that physical flexibility provides operational flexibility. Limiting motion makes things rigid, which is good for torquing a wrench, but not so good when trying to do other tasks.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *