Space Center Lecture Series www.SpaceCenterLectureSeries.com Update: Russian Space Program James Oberg Mar 25, 2010 Houston, TX Not long ago Jim Oberg had the unique opportunity to visit a top secret Russian military base where a converted military missile was used to orbit the Genesis-2 inflatable habitat prototype for Bigelow Aerospace. He describes his experiences at the southwestern Siberian base called 'Yasniy' (known to the CIA as the Dombarovskiy ICBM base) watching a 'Dnepr' launch vehicle blast off from an underground silo normally used for nuclear-armed 'Satan' ICBMs, and also 'nosing around' to see what else he could see without getting shot at. James Oberg, 63, is one of the world's leading popularizers and interpreters of space exploration. As the NBC News 'Space Consultant' he often appears in broadcast and website assessments of space events, explaining them and placing them in broader context, and usual breaking 'inside stories' far ahead of other news media sites. As guide for public-access expeditions to space-related locations for the American Museum of Natural History, he interprets space achievements as manifestations of human ingenuity and creativity, painted on metal and concrete and plastic rather than the more traditional canvas and marble and textiles. As contributor to numerous space technology publications he assesses in depth the important accomplishments and trends of developments in space activities around the world, not only in the US but in Russia and China and elsewhere. When he was an active 'rocket scientist', Oberg had a 22-year career as a space engineer in Houston, where he specialized in NASA space shuttle operations for orbital rendezvous, as a contractor employee. He was a 'NASA Trainee' at Northwestern University in 1966-9, and worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston 1975-1997. In support of NASA's spaceflight operations he has written books on Rendezvous Flight Procedures, on Mission Control Center console operations, and on the history of orbital rendezvous. In honor of his pioneering work on developing and documenting these space shuttle rendezvous techniques, he was named by the NASA-Area "Association of Technical Societies" as their 1984 "Technical Person of the Year". In 1997 he received the "Sustained Superior Performance" award for coordinating the design of the complex first Space Station assembly mission. He has written ten books and more than a thousand magazine and newspaper articles on all aspects of space flight. Among these books are: Red Star in Orbit, generally considered the best inside portrait of the history of Soviet space activities through 1981; New Earths, the world's first non-fiction treatment of the far-out futuristic topic of "terraforming" or "planetary engineering"; Pioneering Space (with his wife as co-author), a broad and insightful view of the human side of the spaceflight experience; The New Race for Space, which described the development and prospects for closer US/Russian space flight cooperation; and Uncovering Soviet Disasters, a penetrating analysis of secrecy and technological shortcomings in the former USSR which received wide praise around the world and even in post-glasnost Moscow. His 1999 book, Space Power Theory, commissioned by the US Space Command, described how the United States has achieved space superiority and how it can exploit and maintain it into the next century. He also contributes key articles on space topics to several leading encyclopedias and annual reference books. His latest book, Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the US/Russian Space Alliance, described the development of the International Space Station and the actual role the Russians played in making it possible, in somewhat less flattering terms than official NASA histories.
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