Oct 23rd, 2016 by spacetweeps
We begin this episode with an ending, as Rosetta joined its companion, Philae, on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on September 30, with confirmation arriving at mission control in Darmstadt at 11:19 UTC. This is hardly a time for mourning, but rather the celebration of an ambitious mission accomplished and still more data to learn from. While we await those studies we invite you to check out the latest installment of Rosetta’s cartoon and the short film Ambition.
Meanwhile, back in the States, Orbital ATK was preparing to return the Antares to flight. Carrying their Cygnus cargo ship full of supplies headed to the International Space Station, this launch has been plagued by storms in the Atlantic and other delays, and our own Gene Mikulka headed down early to keep an eye on the process and discusses what this launch means for the launch facility, the area around it, as well as for Orbital ATK and NASA.
Speaking of recovering from mishaps, this brings us down to the Kennedy Space Center and the investigation of what happened with SpaceX’ AMOS-6. Was it the second stage helium tank… or could it have been sabotage? The Washington Post reports that an official from SpaceX wanted to investigate the roof of a United Launch Alliance building known as the SMARF. We discuss the rumors, innuendo, known facts, and when there might be some concrete answers that will allow SpaceX to prepare for future launches safely. Looking further ahead, how will this incident affect the larger space industry?
Looking still further ahead, we begin our coverage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress with a breakdown of Elon Musk’s presentation, Making Humans an Interplanetary Species with insights from in the room by Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini. Is Musk’s plan to not only have SpaceX be the first to land on Mars but to move 100 people at a time to the red planet realistic? From the details he revealed (and didn’t) to the way the event was managed, we’ve got plenty to comment on.
An image was inserted here. To view it, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com.
Show recorded 10-10-2016
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini
Sep 23rd, 2016 by spacetweeps
On September 8 an Atlas V carrying the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission took off from Cape Canaveral and our own Sawyer Rosenstein brings you exclusive sounds and experiences right from the front row. This asteroid sample-collecting mission to Bennu aims to help us understand the origins of life, but this trip to the Kennedy Space Center also featured a look at the future – particularly technologies for in-situ resource collection and usage, recycling of all garbage generated in space, and otherwise enable long-distance human space travel and colonization. In addition, we have an early response to the NASA Office of the Inspector General report discussed in episode 808 (spoiler alert: it’s all about the money). While on the Cape, Sawyer also got a chance to check out LC-40, the scene of the recent SpaceX fast fire, and it’s not pretty. However, that’s apparently not slowing down Musk’s push toward Mars, nor ours.
Scientists studying the features of Mars have published a paper radically changing the dates of when Mars had its most recent flowing waters, while another set studying rocks here on our own planet suspect that Marsquakes might be releasing bits of hydrogen into the Martian ground as they do here, which could have enormous implications for the red planet. Speaking of Musk, expectations for his highly-anticipated talk at the International Astronautical Congress next week in Guadalajara are just about all the space world is talking about already, and Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini will be there to bring it to you. However, they’re hardly going just for that, both panelists will be presenting their own work at IAC and give us a preview of what they’ll be talking about. Watch our social media over the next week to hear about it all first, and of course, come back for the next episode of Talking Space for full coverage (after you’ve devoured this one, of course).
An image gallery was inserted here. To view it in its entirety, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com.
Show recorded 09-19-2016
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panelists: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini
Sep 17th, 2016 by spacetweeps
We talk about the ISS Expedition #48 crew returning to Kazakhstan via the Soyuz TMA20M capsule and upcoming crew and cargo missions. Gravitational waves are causing a ripple effect in the science community. LIGO and its' value, well the science community is recognizing a need for greater emphasis on this type research. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft finds the Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko less than a month before the end of the Rosetta mission. Adding to the list of found spacecraft, the NASA Deep SpaceTracking Network located spacecraft STEREO-B. Hopefully future news will include establishing positive control and resumption of solar science observation. JUNO is sending spectacular pictures of Jupiter including never before seen images of the Polar Regions. JUNO is changing our understanding of the planet in dramatic ways. Citizen science is real, check out JunoCam to learn what regular people have a voice in. We again discuss the cost paid per astronaut for NASA to use Roscosmos to launch and return our astronauts to the International Space Station. So sad too bad.
Speaking of bad, on September 1, 2016 SpaceX lost the AMOS-6 Falcon 9 rocket/payload on the pad during an engine test. Investigations into the SpaceX described “anomaly” are ongoing and as of September 17 no information has been updated on the SpaceX website since September 2nd (the day after the rocket was lost). The Talking Space crew talks more about this unfortunate “anomaly” than what we’ve heard from SpaceX so far. Investigations into these type events often take more time than one anticipates....#justsayin. The Talking Space Team reminisces about our 7 years of bringing news and more to you our listener. Thank all of you for joining us here.
Show recorded 09-06-2016
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kassy Tamanini, Kat Robison
Sep 1st, 2016 by spacetweeps
This episode takes off with the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the second pair of satellites for the U.S. Air Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). Looking ahead to the company’s next launch for the NASA mission OSIRIS-REX and even further to the test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, we also discuss their not-quite-as-high-tech but welcome efforts to upgrade the company’s launch stream for the public. Continuing with the return of crewed spaceflight to American shores, we take a look at the results of the RS-25 engine firing test for NASA’s Space Launch System and upcoming tests for the program intended to take us to Mars. SpaceX’ launch of the JCSAT satellites rounds out a very busy August for the space industry before the month has even concluded.
At the other end of the launch process, spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed the first International Docking Adapter on the ISS to enable docking of a variety of spacecraft, including the upcoming commercial crew vehicles.
As commercial access to the ISS increases there is an idea of extending the life of the station by selling it off when the space agencies involved end their cooperative agreements to keep the orbiting lab afloat. Is this feasible? Are there other options for using the station beyond the current plans and what would it take to make them happen? What is the future of not just the ISS but laboratories in orbit?
In the even nearer future, Russia has announced their plans to reduce the amount of cosmonauts on station just after news broke of plans to invest in researching a trip to the moon. Again, is this feasible? We discuss the relationship between dreaming and pragmatism when it comes to space exploration, particularly in the two premier spacefaring nations.
After all this speculation on the future of space exploration, we take a look back at the days when America was dreaming and preparing for all of this with the X-15. Mark brings our attention to the White Eagle Aerospace blog
with just a little sample of the fascinating histories they are preserving over there. We highly recommend visiting the site, with a warning that you might not be able to pull yourself away for a few hours.
Show Recorded 08-22-2016
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, and Kassy Tamanini
Aug 12th, 2016 by spacetweeps
On our own return to flight episode, we discuss several upcoming events ; NASA’s Osiris Rex, a sample return mission to the asteroid Bennu is scheduled for launch on 8 September 2016. The team looks at the mission objectives and the unique configuration of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) AtlasV carrying the spacecraft. SpaceX too is making news with two upcoming commercial launches out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OrbitalATK is also returning it’s Antares booster to flight next month launching the Cygnus cargo craft from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA Wallops. We also explore a SpaceNews piece
indicating that the USAF awarded two National Reconnaissance Office Launch Contracts for the DeltaIV rocket in 2020 and 2023 with SpaceX mysteriously not even filing a protest.
Don’t forget about the Upcoming Pleiades Meteor Shower, peaking on August 11th and 12th If you are inclined, take a look at a Kickstarter project
to help restore the observatory at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona where Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto.
Show Recorded 08-08-2016
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman
Apr 15th, 2016 by spacetweeps
The Kepler Spacecraft ran into trouble last Friday but thanks to heroic effort by the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kepler’s search for Exoplanets can resume. We discuss the SpaceX Dragon Cargo Resupply Mission 8 and it’s cargo specifically the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to be attached to the International Space Station. SpaceX also proved at least part of their business model by landing the first stage of their Falcon 9 booster on a drone ship. We discuss the implications. At the 32nd Space Symposium, United Launch Alliance and Bigelow Aerospace announced a partnership to loft Bigelow’s B330 expandable modules in 2020, thus creating a new independent space station separate from the ISS without NASA. The team looks at this groundbreaking deal. ULA was also making news this week at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), presenting it’s blueprint for a cis-lunar economy once more independent of NASA. All of this looks at space not just a place for exploration but economic opportunity, the team discusses and explores what a future could look like.
In the second half of the show, the team opens up part one of it’s NEAF roundup with David Shoemaker of the Advanced LIGO Project and Hans Koeningsmann of SpaceX The second half of our NEAF roundup will be coming up in Episode 806.
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panel Members: Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka
Apr 4th, 2016 by spacetweeps
A new episode and a new crew make their way to the international space station, we highlight the members of Expedition 47 and Astronaut Jeff Williams
who will assume command of the station under Expedition 48, and break
the US endurance record for time in space during this increment. Only
weeks after they have wrapped up the OA4 mission, OrbitalATK is is
poised to launch the Cygnus cargo craft the SS Rick Husband to the ISS.
We profile one of its experiments the Spacecraft Fire Experiment or SAFFIRE which will study how fires develop and spread in a confined space.
Could the US establish its own lunar base by 2022? NASA Ames Astrobiologist Chris McKay seems to think so, and do it for $10 Billion,
about the price of a US Aircraft Carrier. The base according to Dr.
McKay’s would be established under the McMurdo Antarctic base model, and
could be set up rather quickly. Dr. McKay’s paper was first published
in the New Space Journal and in light of ESA’s Lunar Village concept we discuss the merits of both ESA’s and Dr. McKay’s vision.
Host: Gene Mikulka
Panel Members: Kat Robison & Kassy Tamanini
Mar 14th, 2016 by spacetweeps
In a departure from our usual fare of space news and policy, this week we took some time to contemplate the skies. Danielle Adams, a doctoral candidate at The University of Arizona in the School of Middle East and North African Studies with a minor in the School of Anthropology stopped by to discuss her current project with us. Two Deserts, One Sky is a project in cultural astronomy connecting the present day desert sky in Arizona across time to the desert skies observed by Arab cultures between the 9th and 12th centuries CE. Danielle weaves the stories recorded by these past cultures in with instructions on how to view the asterisms in the night sky with naked eye observing. In this episode, we speak with Danielle both about Two Deserts, One Sky and how her interest in astronomy and Arab culture led her to the pursuit of this project.
We often speak about the importance of NASA in the community on our show, and this episode provided us with an opportunity to showcase how NASA supports not only those in the STEM fields, but important social science research as well. Two Deserts, One Sky is funded as an outreach project by NASA through the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, along with The University of Arizona’s School of Middle East and North African Studies and the School of Anthropology.
Show Recorded 2-29-16
Host this week: Kassy Tamanini
Special Guest: Danielle Addams
Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Kat Robison
Feb 23rd, 2016 by spacetweeps
week we take a journey from the halls of Congress out through our solar
system, and then journey out to a point 1.3 billion light years away
from home. On February3rd, the Space Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
met to discuss the current status of NASA’s Journey to Mars, and how it
may survive past the current presidential administration. We examine
the winners and losers in the 2017 NASA budget proposal. NASA announces the Exploration Mission 1 Launch Director and we discuss the Cygnus OA-6 Mission launch delay.
The Year In Space increment on board the International Space Station is coming into the home stretch, while back on Earth, the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is completed.
Space Agency’s Rosetta mission continues, but without the Philae lander
that made landfall on Comet 67P in November. There has been no response
from Philae since July and ESA has announced they will stop trying to contact the spacecraft. We discuss some of the highlights and lessons learned from this milestone mission. NASA releases a terrain map of Pluto’s ‘heart’ region, based on New Horizon’s spacecraft data , revealing a few big surprises.
final story: the discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of
two massive black holes. These waves reached our own planet this past
September and were detected by the freshly-upgraded advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO),
providing the first proof of parts of Albert Einstein’s theory of
general relativity. What does this mean and why is it so exciting? We
break it down for you
The LIGO comic by Talcott Starr discussed in the episode can be found here and make sure to give it a like if you enjoy it.
Host: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini
Feb 5th, 2016 by spacetweeps
This season premiere kicks off with a look at the past,
starting with the NASA tragedies that still loom large today, particularly with
the 30th anniversary of STS-51L last week. Moving a bit closer to
the present, we go over some of the most notable stories of 2015 and discuss
what they might mean for the future, from the dazzling images of Pluto from New
Horizons to the (sometimes literal) highs and lows of commercial spaceflight. Over
our hiatus, SpaceX in particular had some major accomplishments as well as
another attempt to land on their ocean barge, Of Course I Still Love You
(OCISLY), to learn from, and we speculate on what this could mean for their
future. Meanwhile, the omnibus spending bill for 2016 passed and was signed
into law, and for once there was a lot of good news for NASA. We delve into
some of the details, how this happened, and what this means for NASA missions and
the American space industry moving forward. This brought us into this year and
the extraordinary efforts by the team building and testing the James Webb Space
Telescope a couple of weeks ago.
Also in January, our own Kassy Tamanini and her
partner and special guest John Wood were among the first to participate in a
Meteorite Hunting Boot Camp, led by good friend of the show and past guest
Geoff Notkin. Love meteorites and always wanted to know the nitty gritty
details of the experience? These neophytes share what they learned, how it
felt, and what it’s like to visit your first strewn field. If this convinces
you to try it yourself, you can sign up for the next Boot Camp, coming up this May (spaces are running out quickly,
though, so get on it or sign up for Aerolite emails to learn about future
events, and don’t forget to tell them we sent you).
Show recorded 2-1-2016
Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein,
Panel Members: Kassy Tamanini, Kat Robison, and special guest