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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:


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Russia delays three planned lunar probes because of sanctions

The research division that is building Russia’s Luna 26, Luna 27, and Luna 28 probes to the Moon announced today that these missions will likely be delayed up to two years because many needed components are no longer obtainable due to the international sanctions imposed on Russia because of its invasion of the Ukraine.

“Previously, we designed equipment using foreign components that we could buy from our foreign colleagues. Now that the sanctions have been imposed, we will [be switching to] Russian-made components,” Mitrofanov explained. According to him, researchers have to change design solutions amid the Western restrictions.

Some of these components cannot be so easily replaced by Russian versions. Assuming the Ukraine war does not end soon, expect even longer delays for these unmanned lunar missions.

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.


  • Dick Eagleson

    The recently-imposed Western semiconductor embargo of the PRC also means the Russians can’t go to their “ally” for help.

  • pzatchok

    Russia is eventually a third world country. They do not have a full and total economy to handle high tech projects.

    I am starting to believe that the coolant leak was a material or mechanical failure and not an micro meteor. Do they have picts of the hole? or do we just have picts of the the coolant spraying out from behind a panel?

  • Richard M

    NASA got some very good close-up images of the hole via the camera on the Canadarm, and they have shifted to public endorsement of Roscosmos’s conclusion that it seems to be the result of MMOD (natural or artificial). And unlike their past problems…this time, an extrinsic cause is at least fairly *plausible*.

    There is no way to be 100% sure unless we got the hardware back on the ground to examine, but that’s not going to happen. The service module can’t be recovered.

    Going forward, though, this is going to underline the need to take MMOD protection of space vehicles very seriously – especially for crewed spacecraft.

  • Richard M

    A new update on the Soyuz MS-22 hole via Eric Berger: “Here’s little bit more info on Soyuz MS-22 impact. The trajectory analysis very strongly points toward a micrometeorite rather than orbital debris (see below). Also, the Russians calculated impact velocity, and it was high enough to rule out orbital debris.” It’s not 100%, but the assessment is that it’s the high probability.

    The source is Sam Treadgold, an engineer on NASA’s ISS and SLS Micro Meteoroid/Orbital Debris (MMOD) Team.

  • pzatchok

    I have seen the camera views. What I saw they were very blurry because the arm was at full extension and bouncing around, All I could see the coolant coming out around panels. No holes in the panels to even indicate an impact.

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