The final part of our exciting two-part special has us sitting in front of an Orion mock-up chatting with astronauts and project leads.

On this episode of Talking Space, we go into Building 9 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. While there we talk with NASA astronaut Steve Bowen in front of a full-scale mock-up of the Orion capsule that astronauts like Steve use to train everyday. We talk about how the astronaut corps has changed since the end of shuttle. Plus, hear how he used the full-scale mock-ups in the building such as the full International Space Station, a space shuttle trainer, and more. 

Next we hear from Jimmy Spivey, the Assistant Director for Orion in the Flight Operations Directorate at Johnson. We get an insight into the progress of the Orion program, how delays from ESA affect the training. We also go into what it takes to train the crew and to coordinate between mutliple NASA centers and countries. We also hear about how Orion and SLS integration is being tested. Most importantly, we hear what he has to say to the nay-sayers who think Orion and SLS will never fly.

We also discuss many of the other cool things in the building, including a full-scale BEAM module, s SARJ, and how Sawyer and Robin entered a fish bowl. All this in the final episode of Season 9. Later this motnh, stay tuned for the debut of Season 10!

Talking Space would like to thanks Brandi Dean and the team at NASA Johnson Space Center's Office of Communications for their assistance with both parts of this special. 

Show recorded 12-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison and special guest spaceflight contributor for WIRED Magazine Robin Seemangal

 

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Ever wondered how commercial crew training happens at NASA's Johnson Space Center? Well our team, with the help of an astronaut, take you to Houston for a better idea.

On this episode of Talking Space, we go to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in the first part of our two-part special. Sawyer along with WIRED Magazine space contributor Robin Seemangal take the trip. In this part, we take you inside the building where astronauts and mission controllers are training on the new commercial crew systems. Go onboard "the bridge" in the middle of a docking simulation. Then, go inside the full scale trainer, hear the thrusters firing, and learn more about the automation involved with new commercial crew vehicles. Veteran NASA astronaut Mike Fincke,who's assisting with commercial crew, helps out along the way, along with some of the trainers themselves.

Next we journey over to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, home to one of the world's largest swimming pools. Inside is a mock-up of the entire ISS...and two astronauts training. Go onto the floor of the pool deck and into the "fish bowl" viewing area above and learn what it's like to be there during astronaut training. Also find out why it's not just the ISS inside the pool.

Next week we release part 2, which goes inside "Building 9", the mock-up facility. Hear about the mock-ups, and learn all about the Orion program training. We'll talk with another astronaut involved in training for the Orion program and to one of the heads of the Orion program itself to learn about training, progress of the vehicle, and what it takes to learn how to fly America's next spacecraft.

Show recorded 12-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison and special guest spaceflight contributor for WIRED Magazine Robin Seemangal

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Our launch roundup turns into a lack-of-launch roundup and we actually break news for the first time in the show's history. All that and more on our penultimate Season 9 show.

We being this episode discussing the indefinite delay of the classified Zuma mission aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. We also discuss CRS-13, the first mission to fly from SLC-40 since a failure last year. That mission, flying a previously-flown booster and capsule, also delayed. To round out the SpaceX pushes, we discuss another delay in Falcon Heavy to sometime in 2018. We also talk about another Russian rocket failure and the dumb reason why it failed, that along with a look at their less than stellar 2017 record.

We then reflect on three years since EFT-1 and reminisce on the day and look towards the future. We then get an update on DreamChaser after their most recent drop test. Lastly, we venture out of the solar system as Voyager 1 tests out one of its systems for the first time in decades.

Show recorded 12-5-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kat Robison

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Falcon Heavy gets a launch date for very soon, and SLS gets an even further away launch date, along with more in this jam packed Talking Space! On this episode we have a busy launch round-up featuring the Vega rocket, SpaceX, a new Minotaur-C, China bouncing back from failure, and more. We also have the upcoming penultimate flight of the Delta II, a classified SpaceX payload, a first launch from SLC-40 since the AMOS-6 failure last year, and AMOS returning back to SpaceX with a new satellite. We discuss all of this, along with the newly announced launch date for the long-anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from LC-39A. However, they also had a bit of a setback with a Merlin engine exploding on the test stand in McGregor, Texas. 

We then go into the first hearing for NASA administrator candidate Jim Bridenstine and some of the bizarre questions asked of the controversial candidate. We then go into NASA pushing the launch of SLS most likely to mid-2020, and a report by the NASA OIG on how even that might be unreasonable. Then it's onto names on Mars and a KBO that needs a name. We also must sadly mention the passing of Gemini XI and Apollo XII veteran Richard "Dick" Gordon at age 88. We reminisce on our memories of one of the last of his kind.

Show recorded 11-8-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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So many launches, so little time, and a few explosive news stories make this a jam-packed episode not to be missed! We begin by recapping the launches of the last two weeks, including three SpaceX launches in one day, Japan and China launching on the same day and both broadcasting them live, and an ESA mission launching on a unique rocket. We also had some unusual scrubs, including a Soyuz and an Atlas V, taking all V, er, 5 times to launch. We then look at some upcoming launches, including a mysterious "Zuma" payload and the move, once again, of the OA-8 mission.

Next it's onto the ISS, including looking at the most recent three spacewalks outside the orbiting platform. Also a scary story that a recent crewed Soyuz depressurized as it returned from orbit. We also disuss the major partnership between ULA and Bigelow Aerospace and their plans to have a lunar orbiting outpost. Lastly, we delve into a massive colission of two neutron stars, releasing gold and platinum, among other elements, out into space, and it being observed for the first time. We look into the significance of it and what it means for the future of science.

Show recorded 10-16-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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The biggest launch round-up in Talking Space history and one of the biggest talks of the year...all in one show! On this episode, we begin with the launch round-up looking at the upcoming launches of an Atlas V, two Falcon 9s, a Long March, an H-II A, a Soyuz, and a Rockot rocket...all within less than two weeks of each other. We also have the announcement of the new launch date for the next Orbital ATK resupply mission to the ISS that will be once again on an Antares out of Virginia. We then discuss that exact company, Orbital ATK, being acquired by Northrop Grumman and what implications that might have, and what the motive was behind it. Could it have been too much competition? In addition, we discuss the BEAM module and how it may be getting more time in space. We also discuss spacewalks being made to repair some broken parts on the ISS on the same day as the first official meeting of the National Space Council. Although this was recorded before the actual meeting, we still speculate to the NSC's future.

Are NASA and Russia working together on a new lunar orbiting outpost? Well the stories are reporting that about the Deep Space Gateway, but you'll have to listen in to find out why most of the news stories you've probably read got it wrong. It's also with sadness but not much surprise that we announce another delay in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, now slipping to 2019. 

The biggest news has to be out of IAC. Although we will have a full wrap-up in a future episode, we had to discuss Elon Musk's speech. His talk announced the BFR, sometimes called the Big Falcon Rocket, and other people interpret the "F" for a different word. Regardless, this monster is expected to lead to the phase-out of all previous SpaceX rockets. It boasts the ability to send payloads to orbit, people to the ISS, create a moon base, and land cargo on Mars in 5 years with crew in 7. He also mentioned point-to-point travel on Earth using the rocket, getting anywhere in under an hour. How plausible is this? We discuss it and a lot more on this one!

Show recorded 10-4-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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Talking Space is celebrating its 250th episode and 8 year anniversary speical with astronaut and artist Nicole Stott. We discuss with Nicole her time aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 20 and 21 crews. We discuss her time both working with the Space Shuttle program, as well as flying aboard shuttle and her roles in history with the program. We find out how she became an astronaut, who inspired her, and her words of advice to inspire others, especially girls, to get into STEM careers.

In addition to hearing her amazing stories, we discuss her art, includiing how you paint with watercolors in space. We also discuss her most recent project called the Space Suit Art Project, which allows child cancer patients to put their own art and space suits and flight suits, some of which go into space. Be sure to follow the project on Facebook and Twitter, and also check out this video of astronaut Jack Fisher wearing one of the suits in space.

To learn more about Nicole or to see and purchase her artwork, visit https://www.npsdiscovery.com/

We end with some thank yous as we recognize 8 years and 250 episodes of this show. Thank you to everyone who has ever downloaded this show, however many times you downloaded it. Also a huge thank you to anyone who has ever been on the show or helped make this show possible over our unbelievable tenure. Here's to 250 more!

Show recorded 9-5-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison and special guest astronaut and artist Nicole Stott

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How do you describe a solar eclipse on the radio? Listen and find out! On this episode, we begin with the return of the Expedition 52 and looking at the records set by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. All this happening ahead of the next crewed launch on September 12. Then it's onto recent launches, including the Formosat-5 launch aboard a Falcon 9 and the ORS-5 launch on the first ever Minotaur out of Cape Camaveral. We also look at the first major failure of India's PSLV in tis more than 20 years of flying.

With the recent announcement of a nominee for the currently vacant NASA Administrator position, we discuss the pros and cons of the current choice. Then it's onto our main topic...the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. Both Kat and Sawyer were in the path of totality. Hear how "fantastic" it really is and hear what the pictures in the show notes below don't convey. Hear how far people came and what it took to organize a party for 10,000+ people traveling to a small town just for the eclipse.

Finally, Gene Mikulka reports from Podcast Movement 2017 with special guest Daniel Druhora from USC's Escape Velocity podcast to discuss how to convey STEM through podcasting.

[An image gallery was added here. To view it, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 9-4-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Mark Ratterman and Kat Robison with a special guest interview by Gene Mikulka

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Hear the launch and landing of a Falcon 9, the inspiring story of two grieving parents, and the head of the ISS program, all in one jam-packed episode! On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss two recent launches. First we discuss the TDRS-M launch which took off on an Atlas 5. This was the first Atlas 5 launch in almost 4 months for United Launch Alliance, but theirr winning streak still continues. We also briefly mention a recent spacewalk conducted by the Russians, which had an impact on the next mission we discussed, the CRS-12 launch which brought supplies and lots of science to the ISS.

Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at the launch. Hear the launch audio and then brace yourself for the startling sonic booms and engine roar of the first stage landing back. You'll get to hear from a group of boy scouts and what role they had on this ISS resupply mission. Next, one of the best stories to come out of this launch is one you've probably never heard. Hear from Jimmy and Lorna Hering, who aren't just the mayor of McGregor, Texas and his wife. They lost their son Rhett at 15 years old in a tragic accident. The community around them decided to get together to celebrate the life of a boy they called selfess and caring in what is being called the #RhettRevolution. Help spread the revolution by visiting their website at http://rhettrevolution.org.

We at Talking Space would also like to do something special for the family. They hoped the revolution would spread worldwide, and we'd like to help. Perform an act of kindness and share it with us on social media using the hashtag #RhettRevolution and tag Talking Space. If you don't have social media, use the contact form on our website or email us mailbag@talkingspaceonline.com and mention where you're from.

Lastly, we have an exclusive post-ISSRDC interview with the head of the International Space Station Program and NASA, Kirk Shireman. Hear about some problems with station you'd likely forget about, and how the station is getting better as it gets older.

[A photo album was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 8-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kat Robison

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With the Eastern Range recently quiet, it's about to get busy...and fast! First, we discuss the successful launch of the Soyuz carrying three more crew members to the ISS, bringing the US side up to 4 crew members for the first time ever. We then discuss a crazy range shift as SpaceX's CRS-12 mission and the TDRS-M spacecraft set to launch aboard an Atlas V danced around with their launch days. There's Russian spacewalks and damaged antennas and static discharges to blame, and we'll help try and simplify it. In the end, you get two rockets set to launch in the same week. We also look ahead to the upcoming Falcon Heavy launch, currently slated for November. We then stick with the launch-sanity and the first ever Minotaur launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station scheduled for later this month.

Next, we discuss a scheduling issue that will most likely lead to a delay of the James Webb Space Telescope...again. In addition, we have another telescope, the FAST Telescope in China, that supposedly has nobody to run it. Conflicting reports from news outlets in the US and China indicate that they may be in search of an extremely qualified outsider to run the telescope, although the government says it's been staffed just fine since 2016.

Lastly, we finish with fun stories as NASA responds to a job application from a young nine year old from New Jersey. Also, we give you tips to not fry your eyeballs if you're planning on viewing the solar eclipse in the United States on August 21, and this goes for everyone both inside and outside of totality. For more safety information, visit http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Show recorded 8-7-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

 

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