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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Episode 621: The Dawn of Orion

• December 17th, 2014

On this special episode of Talking Space, we look at the launch of Orion, NASA's next manned capsule, and its unmanned maiden voyage on EFT-1. We discuss the mission itself from scrubs on December 4th all the way through a successful launch and landing in the early morning of December 5th. We look in depth at the mission itself, the goals it was to accomplish, and even analyze the NASA TV coverage of the event, which included live views of re-entry from a drone as well as onboard the capsule. We try to put to bed the comparisons between Apollo 4 and EFT-1 with the help of NASA's Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer. We also talk to a few NASA astronauts who are working on making Orion possible. Plus, as always with these launches, we have the raw launch audio as heard from just a few miles away, so get out your best headphones or crank up your car speakers and get ready for a wild ride.

We also take a look at a few other newsworthy stories for the week including some findings about Gale Crater on Mars, the future of Cygnus and Antares after the Orb-3 explosion, and SpaceX's upcoming mission which will land the first stage back on a barge.

Show recorded: 12/9/2014

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

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Episode 620: Catching a Comet

• November 22nd, 2014

On this episode of Talking Space: Rosetta and the way the Philae lander had captured the imagination of the public. Even though the lander has gone into "sleep mode', its batteirs starved for power, reports of Philae's passing may be greatly exaggerated.  NASA's OSIRIS-REx team was also carefully following the journey of  Philae. Launching in 2016, OSIRIS-Rex,will attempt a landing on an asteroid in the hopes of returning a surface sample to Earth.  The team moves on to discuss the upcoming EFT-1 test flight. Set to go for 7:02 on 4 December. There are 8 things to look for  during the Orion's flight that Jason Rhian of Spaceflight Insider profiles. So is Russia really saying  do svidaniya to the ISS partnership and building their own station in 2017? Thie Russian news service  RT Seems to think so.   Is this fact or is this claim as  IB Times thinks full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? The team takes this claim to task. Finally the panel looks at a Lunar mission for everyone. A UK based group, Lunar Mission One, is preparing a new mission to the lunar South Pole in ten years. and YOU can be a part of it

Show recorded: 11/19/2014

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

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Episode 619: Preparations and Evaluations

• November 14th, 2014
Expedition 41 is in the books and we revisit the landing and the passing of the baton to the Expedition 42 crew along with the International Space Station increment poster: a salute to  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by  Douglas Adams.

EFT-1 Preparations are rolling forward (in a literal sense) and the team discusses the  EFT1  press briefing about the Orion mission. The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission falls under the magnifying glass as they attempt to do what has never been done: land on a comet this week.

Orbital Sciences released their "Go Foward" plan in the wake of the 28 October Antares launch mishap. We examine all the pieces  of the recovery blueprint and offer opinion.  We end with a story of survival: How Peter Siebold Pilot of the doomed VSS Enterprise escaped as the craft disintegrated over the skies of California. Also offer an update on the progress of the crash which occurred on 31 October.

Recorded: Monday, 10 November 2014

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

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Episode 618: The Future Belongs to the Brave

• November 7th, 2014

On a sobering edition of Talking Space, the team gathers to discuss the loss of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two on 31 October, 2014 over the skies of the Mojave Desertin California. The ill fated test flight of the VSS Enterprise left the pilot, Peter Siebold,hospitalized and sadly took the life of  it's co-pilot Michael Alsbury. The acting administrator of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)Christopher A. Hart released some intriguing information during a late night 2 November Press conference that may be the first piece of the puzzle in determining the cause of the accident. Mark Ratterman offers additional insight into how the NTSB painstakingly conducts an accident investigation. 

The team then focuses back to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and discusses the information released by Orbital Sciences CEO David Thompson during an investor call on 29 October  concerning the failure of the Antares launch vehicle and the loss of the ORB3 Cargo Mission to the International Space Station. The ORB3 Cargo mission was launched on 28 October and disappeared  into a fireball over the skies of Virginia's Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport. The Cygnus cargo ship, Donald K Slayton, was to have docked with the orbiting platform on 2 November. The team discusses was known about the accident on the record date.   

Scaled Composites has set up an on line fund to help the family of Michael Alsbury, the pilot lost in the SpaceShipTwo accident. If you wish to contribute visit the GoFundMe site at this link

Show recorded 11/3/2014

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

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Episode 617: The Loss of Antares

• October 31st, 2014

On this special episode of Talking Space, we throw out our originally-scheduled show to discuss the loss of the Orbital Sciences Orb-3 mission. The Antares rocket had a failure upon launch and exploded within 20 seconds of lifting off. The rocket was unmanned, carrying a Cygnus spacecraft with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. In this episode we break down the facts of what is known and what is not known. We also discuss what was said in the press conference and where both Orbital and NASA stand. One interesting examination we look at is how all different forms of media covered the event from national news to local to Orbital themselves. We then look at the next steps in the investigation and the future state of the ISS as well as Orbital Science's contract with NASA for these resupply missions. Also included is a brief discussion of some of the science experiments onboard that were lost.

If you find any debris, DO NOT keep it as a souvenir or even touch it. Call the Incident Response Team at 757-824-1295.

This is obviously an ongoing story, and keep in mind this was recorded on the night of the launch failure. We will continue to update via Twitter and future episodes as information becomes available. Our hearts go out to the team at Orbital Sciences and to all of those who had experiments or equipment onboard.

Show recorded 10/28/2014

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Milulka, Kathryn "Kat" Robinson and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass

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Episode 616: Here Comes the Judge

• October 24th, 2014

The Talking Space team plays "catch-up" this week opening the discussion with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) decision. NASA decided on 16 September, 2014,  to go with the conical shaped spacecraft offered by Boeing (CST-100) and  SpaceX (Dragon Version 2)  over the Sierra Nevada Corporation lifting body design, Dreamchaser. This week, a judge with the US Claims Court allowed NASA to continue work on CCP related  activities while the US General Accounting Office considers SNC's challenge to the overall decision.

The International Space Station is becoming a very busy place with robotic cargo vehicles coming and going. The team gives a traffic report for the orbiting laboratory with cargo ships from SpaceX, Roscosmos and Orbital Sciences.

Want to go to Mars? You can, well okay, virtually. The team describes how to pick up your boarding pass not only for NASA's upcoming Exploration Test Flight 1, but for a future mission to the Red Planet.

Our Mars focus continues with the once every million year encounter that occurred on 19 October, 2014 when Comet Siding Spring made its historic close encounter with the fourth rock from the Sun.

Additional Links:
Aviation Week: NASA Document Spells Out Reasons for SNC's Commercial Crew Loss

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein
Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Gene Mikulka

Show Recorded 10/22/2014

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