James Edward Oberg (born
1944) (often known as Jim Oberg) is an American space journalist and historian, regarded as an expert on the Russian space program.
service in the US Air Force, he joined
NASA in 1975, where he worked until 1997 at Johnson Space
Center on the Space
He worked in the Mission Control Center
Space Shuttle missions from STS-1
specialising in orbital rendezvous techniques. This culminated in
planning the orbit for the STS-88
the first International
During the 1990s, he was involved in NASA studies of the Soviet
space program, with particular emphasis on safety aspects; these
had often been covered up or downplayed, and with the advent of the
ISS and the Shuttle-Mir
was keen to study them as much as possible. He privately published
several books on the Soviet (and later Russian) programs, and
became one of the few Western specialists on Russian space history.
He speaks English, French, and Russian and has used his language
skills and a friendly demeanor to gain access to the heart of the
Russian and European space establishments. (As a result, he has
often been called to testify before the US
on the Russian space program.)
In 1990s Oberg authored Space power theory
, sponsored by
United States military as a part of an official campaign in
changing perceptions of space warfare
specifically deployment and use of weapons in outer space, and its
political implications. "In Oberg's view, space is not an extension
of air warfare but is unique in itself".
As a journalist, he writes for several regular publications, mostly
online; he was previously space correspondent for UPI
and currently MSNBC
, often in an on-air role.
He is a Fellow of the skeptical organization CSICOP
and a consultant to its magazine Skeptical Inquirer
. In 1991, PBS
transformed his book Red Star In Orbit
into a documentary
series. HBO has optioned Red Star in Orbit
for some future
made-for-TV miniseries. At about the same time Oberg launched a
six-year battle for official recognition of Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr.
(1935–1967) as a United States astronaut; United States Air Force
recognized Lawrence in January 1997.
He was commissioned by NASA to write a rebuttal of Apollo moon landing hoax
. NASA later dropped the project; however, Oberg has
said that he still intends to pursue it.
- New Earths (1981) ISBN 0-452-00623-6 ISBN
- Red Star In Orbit (1981) ISBN 0-394-51429-7
- Mission to Mars (1982) ISBN 0-8117-0432-7 ISBN
- UFO's and Outer Space Mysteries (1982) ISBN
- The New Race for Space (1984) ISBN 0-8117-2177-9
- Pioneering Space (1986) ISBN 0-07-048034-6
- Uncovering Soviet Disasters (1988) ISBN
- Space Power Theory (1999) (written for the U.S. Air Force Space Command;
- Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the US/Russian Space
Alliance (2002) ISBN 0-07-137425-6
- Catscan 14: "Memories of the Space Age", Bruce
Sterling: "Oberg is a recognized Soviet Space expert, somtime NOVA
host on PBS, special consultant to the Sotheby's auction house for
Soviet space memorabilia, and the author of the definitive tome RED
STAR IN ORBIT (Random House 1981)."
- In Space Today: Testimony of James Oberg
- Lessons of the ‘Fake Moon Flight’ Myth, James
Oberg, Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2003, pp