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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


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In NASA’s new contract with Russia to launch astronauts to ISS Russia has raised the ticket price from $63 million to $70.6 million per seat.

The competition heats up: In NASA’s new contract with Russia to launch astronauts to ISS, announced today, Russia has raised the ticket price from $63 million to $70.6 million per seat.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Russians have become very good capitalists indeed. Consider: the price the Russians were charging for a single ticket on Soyuz was about $33 million in 2004, when George Bush announced the planned retirement of the shuttle. Since then they have repeatedly jacked up the price, knowing that we have no where else to go.

In the end, these price increases are actually a good thing, as they will make it easier for the new American companies to undercut them while simultaneously making a bigger profit.

Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and 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.


  • Govt. makes the penalties, they don’t take the penalties.

  • I have to agree. Anything that promotes the private sector aerospace industry is a good and, I also believe, economically healthy thing not only for this country but for the world. Also, as a fellow lover of all things outer space, it’s not slipped by me that our continuing involvement in space commerce keeps the doors wide open for better and alternative funding for the continued exploration of our cosmos and I find that to be encouraging as well as exciting. Of course, my famous Soviet Russian character, Zangief, as quoted in Street Fighter IV, when asked what he thought of the new Russia, called it “a pussy capitalist regime”. LOL! He drinks a LOT of vodka. ‘Nuff said.

    Always a pleasure to hear you on the radio and I miss your wonderful laugh. Let’s all do dinner when you’re in New York.

    Mike Fass
    Zangief from “Street Fighter: The Later Years”

  • Yo Mike,

    To quote Bob Herzberg, “Whatever.”

    Seriously, glad to hear from you. I hope all is well in New York, though I can tell you without doubt that things are better here in Arizona.

  • My sister, Arline, will agree with you, I’m sure. She’s living out in Suarita right at the desert’s edge. Plus the array of stars visible in our small neighborhood in the spiral arm of the Milky Way from Arizona is spectacular beyond description! The average New Yorker who’s never been outside city limits would probably think there are only between 18 and 20 stars in visible range of our side of the Earth, LOL!

    Hope you’ll shoot me an email when you get a chance so I can give you my new number. Otherwise I’d have to quote from one of Mr. Herzberg’s favorite western movie lines, “What kind of a man are you, Zimmerman?”

    LOL! Love ya, Bob!

  • Kelly Starks

    >..In the end, these price increases are actually a good thing, as they will make it easier for the new
    > American companies to undercut them while simultaneously making a bigger profit…

    That would of course first need there to BE any American companies that could offer competing services. First launch of commercial crews not for abut 4-5 years – add a couple years to certify and be ready to carry folks — course the stations not scheduled to stil be flying then.

    Then of course you’d need to be cost competitive. Each Falcon/Dragon launch costs NASA $400 M in total costs (no Bob, $140M is just the launch cost paid to SpaceX, not the total costs to NASA.) so if they lift 4 folks a trip – $100M a seat for NASA. More then that could exceed ISS’ carrying capacity, but if you assume 6 passengers, its still $67M per seat, compared to the russians $70.6 million per seat, assuming no price increases at all to fly crew vrs cargo on a flight – and assuming ISS can suppoprt 6 and has lifeboat capacity for them.

    I think the Russians have judged the market correctly.

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