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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Episode 707: First Harvest

• August 14th, 2015

So what is that white stuff that NASA’s Dawn spacecraft found in Occator Crater on Ceres? What about that four mile high mountain or “pyramid”? We sort the wheat from the chaff. The International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 44 crew partook of the first edible harvest from the NASA’s VEGGIE experiment becoming the first humans to harvest food grown in space while on orbit. We highlight efforts to use Asteroids as fueling depots for future deep space missions, and mention the successful spacewalk conducted by cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko on the station’s Russian segment. We look at an unusual experiment flying on board  Japan’s HTV 5 cargo vehicle to be launched to the ISS on Sunday August 16th. CBS News had a worthy feature on light pollution and its impact on ground based astronomy, we visit the piece for comment.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent a letter to Congress saying due to Congressional action, NASA was forced to extend the launch services contract with Russia into 2019 to the tune of $490 Million. Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle had some thoughts on that topic similar to our own and we debate.  We visit the NTSB’s findings of the October 31 Virgin Galactic accident  released on July 28th..

Our Spinoff of the week: A NASA Sensor allows plants to send a text to farmers to say “Can I have some water, please?”

Click Here for more information on the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)

Show recorded 8/3/2015

Hosts this week: Kassy Tamanini a.k.a. CraftLass & Gene Mikulka

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Episode 706: Lost and Found

• July 29th, 2015

On this episode of Talking Space we begin with the preliminary conclusions released by SpaceX regarding the loss of CRS-7, leading into a discussion of the succession of resupply issues over the past year and how it might impact today’s commercial space race for future NASA contracts. Heading over to the purely commercial side of things we speculate on the National Transportation Safety Board’s public hearing on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two crash from last fall (which took place the morning after recording). Quickly shifting to much happier news we devote the bulk of the show to the New Horizons Pluto flyby with special commentary by our own intrepid on-the-scene reporter, Mr. Mikulka, who was at Johns Hopkins for all the festivities. From the images and data that rocked the very foundations of geological knowledge to international coverage and the incredible reach of this particular mission, we look at how New Horizons has and will change our ideas about our solar system. Speaking of images, we round things out with DSCOVR and its new Earth portraits before announcing a special plan to show NASA some more appreciation. Winding things up is this week’s Spinoff and one aspect of how space research is contributing to cleaner drinking water for people at all altitudes.

Show recorded 7/27/2015

Host this week: Kassy Tamanini a.k.a. CraftLass. Panel members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kathryn Robison.

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Episode 705: From Soyuz to Solar Satellites

• July 19th, 2015

On this episode of Talking Space, we look at the duration records set by the recently-returned Expedition 43 crew, and a close look at why they were up there for so long (hint: the 2011 Soyuz age of reliability statement and a failed Progress launch come into play). Next we take a look at the mostly successful LDSD test and how a balloon can help us on Mars. Then it's onto a look at two recent satellite launches and their importance, LightSail and DSCOVR. We also discuss the Boeing CST-100 contract awarded by NASA and what that means for SpaceX, and we also look at SpaceX's pad abort test. Then it's on to everybody's favorite topic: the NASA budget, and what's being cut or funded this year. We finish off as always with our spinoff of the week, and this time it's Robonaut2 and what it's doing for robotics back on Earth with a company called Universal Robotics.

Show recorded: 5/21/2015

Host This Week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass

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Episode 704: A Lack of Progress

• May 7th, 2015

On this episode we bookend the whole conversation with the launch and loss of Progress 59 and the implications for the International Space Station and future resupply missions. Then we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope with some historic highlights and personal perspectives of the mission, along with a discussion about the upcoming end of the program and whether Hubble could or even should be extended, inspired by the op-ed by Donald F. Robertson featured on Space News that put forth the idea that there could be another Hubble servicing mission and John Morse’s rebuttal of the idea. Moving on to the more immediate future, we look into Dava Newman and her Senate confirmation as the new Deputy Administrator of NASA. While on the topic of Capitol Hill we go over the House Science Committee’s first swing at the next NASA budget and the notable changes in budget distribution that have been proposed. Could there be a special hope in the Senate, though? NASA’s lioness in Maryland, Barbara McCluskey just might be making this a feature of her last term, and we discuss her ideas as well as the political upside to supporting NASA. Finally, we round things out with our new weekly feature on NASA Spinoffs with an explanation of just what Nissan means by “zero gravity seats” (and why you just might want them).

Show recorded: 4/28/2015

Host This Week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass

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Episode 703: Don’t Shoot the MESSENGER

• April 26th, 2015
 This week we look at the impending demise of NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft after being on orbit since 18 March, 2011. We also examine the SpaceX Cargo Resupply Mission Number 6 and discuss the science cargo on board, and the results of the Stage one landing attempt, critical to the company's booster re-usability formula. United Launch Alliance was also in the news, announcing it's booster replacement for the Delta IV and Atlas V, called "Vulcan" by popular vote. The team discusses Vulcan's roll out and implications. Also look at the progressthat OrbitalATK has made in getting Antares and Cygnus back to space.  

We turn our attention to the Northeast Astronomy Forum that took place at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. Some of the Guest speakers included NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC and Dr. Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director. Other speaker's included: Dr. Matt Penn Associate Astronomer of the National Solar Observatory, in Tucson AZ who introduced a plan to recruit the amateur astronomy community to track the 2017 US Solar Eclipse called Citizen Cate.  Ellyne Kinney Spano, Image Processing Lead of NASA'sOSIRISREx mission with ways how you can also get involved on the Mission to Asteroid Bennu. Dr. Jon Morseformally the director of NASA's Astrophysics Division and instrumental with the Hubble Space Telescope porgram, now Board of Director's Member of the BoldlyGo Institute  discussing the Institute's  Astro-1 Telescope. Kassy Showcases a set of Binoviews by a company called Denkmier that turns the sky into a 3D viewing experience. 

The team gives the final moments of the show to pay tribute to Jan DuRaine, Tireless STEM Educator and one of the first supports of the program.
Host This Week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass with a message from Mark Ratterman
Show Recorded 21 April, 2015.
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Episode 702: Much Ado About the Moon

• April 11th, 2015

On this episode of Talking Space, the team discusses the International Space Station One Year Mission. We also mention that the New Horizons spacecraft is just a little over 90 days away from its destination: Pluto. We then look at the ramifications of an article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle making an assertion that NASA is looking at leveraging the Moon as a true stepping stone to Mars. We also cite The Examiner's Mark Whittington, and a rebuttal to Mr. Berger's piece by Marcia Smith at SpacePolicyOnline . Mr. Berger stood by his piece in a later blog post. NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said during a public panel aired on NASA TV, “I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade." We discuss what that really means for us and how some main stream media outlets have reported on this story. Mark Ratterman wraps up his involvement with the First Robotics Competition  and what do the Mars Exploration Rovers have in common with Major League Baseball? We'll tell you in this week's NASA Spinoff Segment. 

The outro song is "Familiar Frontier " by Craft Lass. It is used with her permission. To purchase the file, visit https://craftlass.bandcamp.com/track/familiar-frontier. The song is also available on iTunes and Google Play.
Show recorded: 4/9/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass 

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Episode 701: Return to Flight

• March 29th, 2015

In our "Return to Flight" episode we discuss NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission   and it's implications for learning more about how space weather impacts life here on Earth. With the new International Space Station Commercial Cargo Contracts coming, two new players have come on the scene but with very familiar names. Sierra Nevada Space Systems puts its new entry, a cargo version of the Dreamchaser Spacecraft into consideration and Lockheed Martin puts its Jupiter Exoliner hat into the ring.The controversial Mars One program gets placed under the microscope as the team discusses the fallout from Elmo Keep's piece on the Medium web site. We launch a new segment, exploring how NASA technology impacts everyday life hear on Earth profiling medical spinoffs. Finally we look at a NASA sponsored program, FIRST Robotics. Our  Mark Ratterman is leading a team of students, Team 3556 " Get Smart" competing in the event.  

We're sorry for our absence over the last few months. Thanks for sticking with us, and we'll be back with plenty more episodes in 2015!

Show recorded: 3/23/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Gene Mikulka, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass..

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