Episode 801: Not to Mention…

• February 5th, 2016

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 John Wood

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Episode 716: A Swan Returns to the Stars

• December 14th, 2015

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 spacecraft.

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 Orion.

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

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Episode 715: Moments of Contemplation and Preparation

• November 20th, 2015

This 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 village”. 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

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Episode 714: Looking Through Crystal

• November 13th, 2015

The 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.

NASA 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 Corporation.  

 Show recorded 11-02-2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein,

Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka

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Episode 713: IAC 2015 In The Spotlight

• November 5th, 2015
In this special edition, the Talking Space Team puts the  66th Annual International Astronautical Congress which took place in Jerusalem, Israel between October 12th and 16th into focus. Our first stop is a paper presented by our own Kat Robison on the issues surrounding scientists communicating the importance and relevance of their own research to the public.  

The theme for IAC 2015 this year was "Space: The Gateway for Mankind's Future" and we review the various gateways starting to open though the International Space Station, leveraging cis-lunar space, and finally humanity declaring "Earth independence" setting sail for Mars. The episode includes commentary from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and new European Space Agency Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner. On various concepts including analysis of NASA's Journey to Mars outline and ESA's vision for a permanent research outpost on the lunar surface

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.  

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Episode 712: A Tale of Two Swans

• October 24th, 2015

 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

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Episode 711: Water, Water, Everywhere…

• October 10th, 2015

So you want to be a Martian? On October 1st  NASA  held an event at the Kennedy Space Center to explain more about the agency's push to send the first humans to Mars and our own Mark Ratterman was there and provides insights. We highlight Two Deserts, One Sky a  project by Danielle Adams a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, and briefly discuss  new solar power technology.   United Launch Alliance (ULA) puts 100 successful  launches in the books sending Mexico's Morelos-3 communications satellite into orbit on into orbit on October 2nd. However as the company looks toward Launch 101, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing heads into uncharted territory and uncertain waters as a launch services provider. The team discusses.the challenges that lay ahead for the firm.  


On September 28 NASA announced the confirmation that brine water has at certain times, been collecting on the surface of Mars.  The initial report made on 4 August 2011 (which we discussed   on Episode 334 )  was confirmed with a NASA press conference  and the team examines the announcement itself, the reaction to the announcement  in some circles, and   the implications not only for NASA's planned human Mars exploration efforts, but for the future of human solar system exploration going forward.  


Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein, 

Panel members:  Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass) & Gene Mikulka

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Episode 710: Orion in Waiting

• September 25th, 2015

We kick off  the show with congratulations, an upcoming celestial event, and follow ups to two previous stories. First an update to  rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne's attempt to purchase launch provider United Launch Alliance.   We report on the preliminary results from the Ardbeg distillery experiment that flew to the International Space Station.  We send congratulations to NASA's five new flight directors including a name that the audience may recognize. So is the world going to end this week? Umm, no but we do have a an upcoming Lunar Eclipse  on September 27 for the Western Hemisphere,  Europe,  most of Africa, and parts of Asia to enjoy, local weather permitting! NASA TV will provide coverage starting 8:00 PM EDT on Sunday 27 September, Midnight GMT September 28.

NASA last week gave a status report on the progress of the Orion spacecraft, a linchpin in NASA's human space exploration effort,  with a probable delay with  the first piloted flight. The team examines  the implications. The NASA Inspector General's Office released a report which casts some doubt on OrbitalATK's recover plan to resume cargo flights to the International Space Station. We shed some light of our own on the implied difficulties.  Launch provider Blue Origin has decided to call Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force station home, not just to launch rockets  but to build and test it's vehicles. We consider what this means for commercial space and the economy of Florida.

Show recorded 9/21/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein, Panel members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass)

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Episode 709:Make a Memory

• September 18th, 2015

We start off our sixth anniversary show with an update on the recent Soyuz missions and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko’s one year mission on the International Space Station, which has just passed the halfway point. From there, we bring things back down to Earth with a discussion on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s unsolicited $2B offer to purchase United Launch Alliance and the Department of Defense’s likely position on the offer.


Heading back off planet, we then jump into a discussion about the release of the most recent New Horizons photographs including one particular picture that shows a fantastic contrast between old and new geography on Pluto.


After wrapping up the news for this week, we all took some time to reflect on six years of Talking Space. We talk about the first show, and our favorite moments, including a live broadcast from STS-135, the final shuttle mission, a live interview with then relatively unknown CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield from that same broadcast, meditate on some thoughts from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, and on the future of space travel and Talking Space. We conclude the episode with a request to you, our audience - we want to hear your memories of the last six years too! Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ using the hashtag #TS6 or send us an email or audio clip to mailbag@talkingspaceonline.com.


Thank you for six years of Talking Space, and we look forward to many more!


Show Recorded 9/14/2015


Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panel members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, and Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass)

Audio Engineer: Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass)

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Episode 708: Contrasts

• August 28th, 2015

HTV5 launched recently supporting International Space Station resupply, successfully docking on 24 August, 2015. To learn more about the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency HTV Program see http://iss.jaxa.jp/en/htv/index.html Future ISS resupply will also be supported by Orbital ATK via ULA's ATLAS V carrying the Cygnus capsule to Station. Dates have not been set yet for those launches.

Kat brings us some news about the Mars One Project and a public debate at the recently concluded Mars Society Conference to read more and for links to the video of the debate “Is Mars One Feasible?” check out this Tech Insider article http://www.techinsider.io/mars-one-mit-students-mission-not-feasible-debate-2015-8

Mark after reading the NTSB Accident Report for Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two brings us his thoughts about that tragic test flight. To learn more about the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation follow this link http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/

Listen close and you’ll almost see the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex “Forever Remembered” Exhibit. Gina Herlihy talks about her experience of seeing it for the first time. If you have not seen this yet you’ll find you can’t wait for your next trip to Florida’s Space Coast and KSC.

Sawyer spoke with International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini just prior to his retirement. News about the ISS is always interesting. Hear what we think about increasing the ISS to a seven person crew and going beyond 2024.

Show Recorded 8/24/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Gina Herlihy

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