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Progress docks with ISS

As expected a Russian Progress freighter docked with ISS yesterday, on schedule and with no mishaps.

I report this non-news story simply because of the Russian claim yesterday that a SpaceX Starlink satellite and Falcon 9 upper stage threatened a collision with that freighter as it maneuvered in orbit prior to docking.

Not surprisingly, there was no collision. The Russians knew this, or they would never have launched as they did. They made a stink about it as a ploy to stain SpaceX, a company that has taken almost all their commercial launch business by offering cheaper and more reliable rockets.


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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


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


  • Captain Emeritus

    It’s time to cast adrift the Russian communist’s modules from our ISS.
    Who needs them?
    Vlad can build his own.
    After all, he enslaves the world’s eleventh largest economy (right behind Italy).

  • mkent

    It’s time to cast adrift the Russian communist’s modules from our ISS. Who needs them?

    We do. The ISS cannot maintain orbit without the Service Module’s propulsion system.

    Oh, and Russia hasn’t been communist for about 30 years now.

  • Gealon

    I believe that the US technically owns the Zaria module, which does have it’s own propulsion system. We paid for it’s construction and launch from my understanding. It is in fact the oldest, on orbit segment of the station, being launched first, followed by a shuttle launch which brought up the first node. It in fact maintained the fledgling station’s orbit for quite a long time while the Russians delayed in launching Zvesda. So in theory, Zaria could once again act as the propulsion module for the international section of the station.

  • mkent

    So in theory, Zaria could once again act as the propulsion module for the international section of the station.

    Gealon: The rest of what you say is true but not this part. Zarya’s propulsion section was disabled and Zarya’s functions replaced by the Zvezda module — not just the propulsion function but the communications, command and control, and telemetry functions as well. In addition, Zarya’s solar panels had to be retracted when the P1 and S1 thermal radiators were deployed, so Zarya can no longer even power itself.

    The best hope for an ISS independent of Russia is that the upcoming Axiom hub module can take over the orbital reboost and propulsive attitude control of the Service Module. Until that happens, the ISS is very much dependent on Russia.

  • Gealon

    Interesting, I was not aware that Zaria’s propulsion system had been disabled. The power problem I did know about but that should be fairly easy to address with supply from the main solar panels. I don’t suppose the Russians would cooperate in re-enabling Zaria’s engines if they can be reactivated at all. Might be time to dust off the plans for the Interim Propulsion Module.

    In any case, thanks for the correction. I now have my weekend reading planned so as to get back up to date on station matters.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Surely it is better to play nice in the only sandpit Russia and the west actually play nice in? A bit of bullcrap propaganda that surely comes from politicians and not from the engineers is no reason to break up the ISS.

    I’m pretty sure that I will be universally disagreed with here, but if China, the US, Russia and Europe could cooperate on manned space exploration it might just help relations on the ground, and for sure smooth future inevitable landgrabs on the moon, astroids, Mars and beyond.

  • wayne


    The Hunt for Red October (1990)
    “Russians don’t take a dump, son…”

  • Edward

    Gealon wrote: “I believe that the US technically owns the Zaria module,

    Technically, the U.S. does not own Zaria. Dan Goldin gave Russia the option of being a contractor for NASA and NASA owning the Russian modules, but Russia chose otherwise. At that time, it had become too publicly obvious that Russia was spending on other things the money that NASA was sending them to build their part of ISS. The U.S. was sending money, but the Russian modules were not being built. The only face-saving move for NASA was to change the conditions of the agreement or to force Russia to build their ISS modules. Technically, Russia owns its modules, but the U.S. paid Russia more money than they cost to construct and launch. Russia remains a partner rather than a mere contractor, like Boeing, which built under contract, but does not own, several ISS modules.

    It is yet another example of the world taking advantage of the U.S. and its largess.

  • mkent

    I don’t suppose the Russians would cooperate in re-enabling Zaria’s engines if they can be reactivated at all.

    Gealon: Unlike the Service Module, Zarya cannot be refueled, so it can no longer perform the attitude control function it did 22 years ago. In addition, its engines are not powerful enough or situated properly to perform an orbital reboost. Before the Service Module arrived, ISS orbital reboost was performed by visiting Shuttles. Russia really is indispensable to the ISS at this point in time.

    Technically, the U.S. does not own Zaria.

    Edward: This is incorrect. The U. S. does technically own Zarya, otherwise known as the FGB. This was done to so that the space station’s first element launch was an American launch, not a Russian launch.

    The remaining modules built in Russia — the Service Module, Docking Compartment 1 (DC-1)*, Docking Compartment 2 (DC-2)*, and the Docking and Stowage Module* — are all owned by Russia as you say. The Russians also own the Progress and Soyuz capsules they launch to the station. But Zarya was and is an American-owned module.

    Now it is true that the Russians have never provided the control codes for it as they were required to do under the international agreement, so NASA could not take control of the module even if they wanted to, but it’s a moot point now. It’s all but a dead module now. It draws power from the American side to run its lights and fans but is otherwise just used for storage. It’s only remaining function is to connect the American and Russian sides of the station together.

    *These modules were renamed several times during and since development. I’m not sure what they are called today.

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