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
Dec 14th, 2015 by spacetweeps
Come along with the Talking Space Team to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
(KSC) as we bring to you the sights and sounds leading up to the return to
flight of Orbital ATK’s
Cygnus Cargo spacecraft (named after pioneering Astronaut Donald K. Slayton) and the resumption of ISS logistics
delivery missions from US Soil. In this special expanded show, we discuss
the mission , designated OA4,
the Cygnus itself and just why we are launching from Florida
and not the usual home port for Cygnus of Wallops Island, Virginia. Also why we
are flying on United Launch
Alliance’s AtlasV and not OrbitalATK's Antares booster. With wind measurements playing a huge
factor in this launch (wind delayed in the launch three times) Mark Ratterman
takes us on a tour of a key instrument, NASA’s Doppler Radar Wind Profiler. Once fully commissioned
the system will make sure the “highway to space” is safe for launch
vehicles leaving KSC. We spend some time with Mr. Frank DeMauro, OrbitalATK’s Vice President of Human
Spaceflight Systems to discuss his career, his role in supporting this
return to flight mission, and what the future holds for the Cygnus
There was a bit of controversy surrounding Space Exploration Technologies
(Space X) and their future return to flight plans, we discuss. We also look at
the company’s progress with reimagining historic Launch Complex 39-A. We
also make commentary as to why we think their message last week surrounding
their future launch plans became somewhat muddled.
In a future show, we will profile progress being made by United Launch
Alliance at LaunchComplex
41 to support human missions. We’ll also examine Boeing’s efforts to get
the former Orbiter Processing Facility 3 now known as the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility ready to
fabricate the CST-100 Starliner , and NASA’s Launch Equipment Testing Facility , making sure that
connections on the new Mobile Launcher will support the Space Launch System and
Talking Space wishes to thank NASA’s George Diller and OrbitalATK’s Frank DeMauro for
their time with us.
For additional photographs/images go to our Team Blog page
Show recorded 12-07-2015
Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein
Commentators: Mark Ratterman & Gene Mikulka
Nov 20th, 2015 by spacetweeps
Past week, The Expedition 45
Crew on board the International Space Station had to contend with a bit of a power wrinkle
that may require a spacewalk next year to repair. They also observed a moment of silence
(as do we) for those lost in the Paris Terrorist Attacks. Preparations continue
for the Cygnus OA4 Cargo craft at
the same time, NASA further delays the announcing the winners of
the second round of Commercial Resupply contracts. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden continues to
be adamant that NASA will not take a lead role in Europe’s “lunar
Does that leave the door open for Federal Aviation Administration? What
happened to the Martian atmosphere, NASA’s MAVEN in
orbit around Mars has found the answer. The Martian Moon, Phobos may become rubble,
and Virgin Galactic hires its first woman pilot, Kelly Latimer..
Show recorded 11-16-2015
Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka
Nov 13th, 2015 by spacetweeps
International Space Station celebrated its “crystal anniversary” of occupation on
November 2nd, marking 15 years that humans have been continuously on
board the orbiting facility. The Expedition 45 Crew paused to reflect on the anniversary
and what it means for the future of space exploration going forward. During an
investor conference call, CEO David
Thompson of Orbital ATK says his company is on track for the Cygnus cargo
vehicle to return to flight. NASA released its findings into the October 28th
2014 Orbital ATK Antares launch mishap, we discuss the findings.
Administrator Charles Bolden says his agency is “doomed” if “Journey to Mars” roadmap is abandoned. The Cassini
spacecraft captures a plume from Saturn’s Moon Enceladus while making
an historic close flyby. Finally we profile the humble beginnings of the Paragon Space Development
Show recorded 11-02-2015
Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein,
Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini & Gene
Nov 5th, 2015 by spacetweeps
Commercial ventures were also a topic at IAC 2015 and the team examines a new launch services company, Bloostar with an interesting approach to placing 100 kg (220 lbs) payloads into orbit.
We end our visit to Jerusalem with an interview Kat conducted with NASA astronaut Suni Williams
who was selected to fly one of the first Commercial Crew
missions to the International Space Station.
Talking Space congratulates Kat Robison on her presentation at IAC 2015 and thanks both Kat and Kassy Tamanini for their work in preparing this episode.
Oct 24th, 2015 by spacetweeps
There's a new "Ironman" in space flight: Current Space Station commander, astronaut Scott Kelly , broke the US space endurance record recently and is gearing up for two upcoming US spacewalks on October 28th and November 6.
We open the strange case of star KIC8462852 some 1480 light years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan that's is behaving in a weird manner. The conclusion: Aliens? You be the judge. A swan of a different feather: the Cygnus, cargo space craft built by OrbitalATK arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation of the OA-4 mission and its return to flight. We also discuss return to flight efforts by SpaceX and Virgin Galactic and examine the implications surrounding NASA's Venture Class CubeSat launch contracts recently announced.
Mark Ratterman sat down with former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott to discuss her start in aviation and Kat Robison gives us a sneak peak at her experiences at the International Astronautical Conference held in Jerusalem, Israel.
Finally we celebrate the life of a legendary figure in spaceflight who's contributions still reverberate though the years even today: NASA's George Mueller who we lost on 12 October.
Presenters this week: Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka