Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Russian gov’t okays extension of U.S cooperative space treaty to ’30

The Russian government yesterday officially approved an extension to 2030 of the cooperative space treaty with the United States that was initially signed in 1992.

According to the TASS article at the link, the U.S. government has already approved this extension. The original agreement was for U.S. flights to the Russian space station Mir. It has been renewed four times since to cover the deal to build and use ISS.

This could very well be the last extension of this deal. By 2030 private commercial American stations should be operational, and the age of some of the oldest sections of ISS will likely need replacement. At that point the U.S. will probably decide to retire its half of ISS.

What the Russians will do is uncertain. The government doesn’t have the cash to build its own station. Nor has that government allowed a private commercial space industry to thrive and thus be financially able to build private commercial stations. Russia may separate its part of ISS and attempt to keep it aloft, but some of their modules are the oldest, and have shown signs of that age.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

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


  • Ray Van Dune

    I hope that the virus of “internationalism”, so beloved by Bidenoids, does not infect our Mars projects. We gain little from Anglo-Euro or Japanese cooperation, but it is at least well-intentioned and basically in synch with our values. Sino-Russian cooperation is worse than useless and subversive. Let them work to get to Mars, not hitch a ride on our technology. America has a duty to make sure the cancer of criminal communism withers… if not us, who will do it?

  • mkent

    This could very well be the last extension of this deal. By 2030 private commercial American stations should be operational, and the age of some of the oldest sections of ISS will likely need replacement. At that point the U.S. will probably decide to retire its half of ISS.

    NASA and Boeing have certified ISS with some upgrades out to 2028. The recently completed battery upgrades and the recently started solar array upgrades are a part of that. In addition, they have identified a few more modest upgrades that will enable the ISS to fly until 2035. I would not be surprised to see those happen.

    However, to extend the ISS beyond 2035 will require much more extensive and expensive upgrades. I expect the transition to private space stations to be complete by that time.

  • Dean Hurt

    Way past time for a new US space station like the Von Braun Station or Gateway station. Hell, even a US Death Star!

  • Edward

    The importance of transitioning to commercial space stations is that under government operation we have seen very little commercial benefit. So far, manned space has been largely for exploration and experimentation, but we earthlings could benefit greatly from space-based manufacturing, which in 60 years of manned space has not yet happened. The most commercial benefit that we have received from space operations is communications. Up to now, and for the foreseeable future, weather monitoring is the purview of government satellites.

    Commercializing space exploration opens opportunities for finding efficiencies that government exploration does not look for. For any commercial space station to work out, it would have to cost much, much less than the ISS did to construct, and it would have to cost much less to operate. It is surprising how little we get back for the price we pay for government exploration and operation in space. Commercial operators would have incentive to find ways to extend their space stations without such extensive and expensive upgrades.

    Commercial operators would have incentive to explore the things that are most useful to us on Earth in order to make a return on their investment, and that means we are likely to get a maximum amount of benefit without costing the government much at all.

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 *