Archive for the 'Earth Science' Category

On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss how SpaceX's Falcon 9 delivers again sending the Inmarsat 5-4F Communications satellite into its proper orbit. The company also tested the core stage of its Falcon Heavy booster slated for a hopeful debut this year. A SpaceX employee was also in the news with some interesting words for the competition and what may have been a  mild rebuke of NASA Space Launch System. We report on NASA's 200th Spacewalk in support of ISS operations and in particular an enthusiastic NASA astronaut in Jack Fischer 

Vector Space Systems Conducted a successful test flight of its Vector-R booster capeable of carrying 50 Kg (110lbs) to low Earth orbit and set to take on CubeSat and microsat market. We examine the implications. During a May 12 press conference, NASA's Human Spaceflight Office announced the results of a study requested by the Trump NASA Landing Team, answering the question could the first mission for the Space Launch System carry humans? We discuss the press conference conducted by Robert Lightfoot, Interim NASA Administrator and William Gerstenmaier NASA Associate Administrator for Human Spaceflight answering the question will Exploration Mission 1 be piloted. We give you the answer and analysis of why the decision was made.

Show recorded 5-15-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

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This season launches with, well, a look at a few launches. First up is OA-7, the second launch of a commercial cargo flight featuring Orbital ATK’s Cygnus atop a ULA Atlas V rocket. The International Space Station is living up to the last word in the name with the departure and  arrival of new crews as well, including the launch of a Soyuz carrying 2 NASA astronauts, first-timer Jack Fisher and storied veteran Peggy Whitson. For the latter, this trip will result in yet another few barriers broken for women and all humans alike as she settles in for a long stay in orbit. Just because this is his first trip to space, though, doesn’t mean Jack Fischer doesn’t have plenty to say already, and we bring you part of an exclusive unaired interview with him in celebration of his first trip to the laboratory. On the other side of Russian rocketry, reports indicate that there are issues with not just a few Proton engines but all of them. What implications could this have, not only for future Proton flights but for Russian aerospace as a whole? Meanwhile, while we’ve been on hiatus, SpaceX has managed to get one step closer to their vision of reusability by carrying the CRS-9 cargo towards the ISS by successfully relaunching a booster that had already been to the station.

From new beginnings we move to a spectacular mission that will be coming to a close soon with the latest findings about Enceladus from Cassini. The liquid plumes escaping through the moon’s icy shell have now been shown to contain molecular hydrogen (H2), generating increased questions about the possibility of organic matter in the hidden oceans. Meanwhile, similar plumes have been spotted on Europa using data from the Hubble Space Telescope which, while not yet able to be analyzed for chemical content, makes us wonder all the more if we just might not be truly alone even in our solar system, even if our only non-terrestrial neighbors would be microorganisms. Continuing with the search for potential habitability outside Earth, we begin our dive into this year’s Northeast Astronomy Forum with the search for exoplanets in the “Goldilocks” zone and the work of MIT planetary scientist and astrophysicist Sara Seager, her team, and the citizen scientists of planethunters.org. Planet hunting is hardly the only way amateur enthusiasts can contribute, though, and astrophotography is not only an area where amateurs can contribute significantly to scientific knowledge but can even make you a different sort of professional. Robert Reeves is just a guy with a camera who fell in love with imaging the moon decades ago and is now known as one of its best portrait-takers. We share a few of his tips and tricks and encourage you to take a look around the internet for his images. While we ramp up to this year’s main astronomical event for America, the total solar eclipse in August, our friend Alex Shimp brings us more about the talk by Joe Rao, FiOS1 meteorologist, on his experiences with eclipses. Swinging back around to launches, we finish up NEAF by discussing the latest news from United Launch Alliance about their commercial crew plans and the designs they are currently working with for these new systems. Finally, we check in with our own Mark Ratterman on what it’s like to volunteer with a FIRST Robotics team on their way to the championships to bring this super-sized season premiere to a feel-good close.

Show recorded 4-15-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Alex Shimp, and Kassy Tamanini

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This week we must sadly open with the news of the passing of John Glenn, whose list of accomplishments has been surpassed by none, serving America with honor both on and off our planet for almost all of his 95 years. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t get much better quickly as we discuss the recent failure of the Progress 65 resupply mission. We discuss the impact on ISS operations and the reliability of not just Progress, but other cargo resupply providers and what sort of payloads might be a bit more critical than others.

On the brighter side, we get an update on a SpaceX return to flight following their September 1, 2016 anomaly. Still brighter, after numerous attempts were thwarted by bad luck with weather and small glitches, Virgin Galactic completed the first free flight test of the VSS Unity, successfully gliding the new craft for the first time since the tragic loss of the VSS Enterprise.

Perhaps brightest of all, though, is our coverage from the successful launch of the first in a new line of extremely powerful weather satellites, NOAA/NASA GOES-R (now GOES-16). Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at Cape Canaveral to capture the sights and sounds of what turned out to be a spectacular night launch, and you really don’t want to miss our exclusive audio on this one (grab the headphones!). 

Then again, what’s brighter (to us) than our own sun? Pulling double special-duty this week, Sawyer brings an exclusive interview with Terry Kucera, an astrophysicist from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory and the STEREO Deputy Scientist. She brings us an update on the recently-recovered STEREO-B and hits home the importance of and ongoing efforts in understanding our local variable star in the Space Age.

[An image gallery was added here. To view amazing images from the GOES-R launch, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 12-05-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini

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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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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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 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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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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On this episode of Talking Space, we begin our two part discussion of a recent trip to Pasadena, California for SpaceFest VI. The event features astronauts, artists, and other vendors and speakers as a way to talk about current topics in the space community and meet some of the people who made the past possible. During this part, we talk about the events leading up to the event including a tour of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a visit to Endeavour at the California Science Center. We then begin talking about the opening event with the Apollo astronaut panel. Afterwards, we talk about what was on the floor of the event, and a special birthday celebration for an astronaut.

Tune in to Part 2 to hear about the panels and discussions as well as a look at another Californai conference that happened around the same time.

Images were inserted here. To view them visit http://talkingspaceonline.com

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka

Show recorded 06/06/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, we talk about the recent Soyuz launch to the ISS, and the glitch that turned a few hour rendezvous into a two-day event. We look into what may have caused the event and look back at the classic "Era of Reliability" Russia declared at the end of the shuttle program in 2011. We then talk about a range outage that has delayed two launches until an unknown time and what it means for the future launch schedule for one of the commercial companies it affects. Next, we look at a wind measuring field finally getting a well-needed upgrade. On the second trip around the table, we talk about NASA's new spacesuit designs which the public can vote for, and how we probably wouldn't vote for any of them. Then it's on to our thoughts on some interesting comments made by Charlie Bolden and a discussion on the state of NASA. Then it's on to how NASA equipment helped predict sinkholes before they formed. For the third round, we discuss a record set by the mostly-classified X-37B and check out an award going to the Dawn spacecraft makers.

To vote for the next spacesuit design, visit http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/z2/

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman and the Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

Show Recorded 3/31/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, we return from a long hiatus to recap some of the space news of the last few weeks that was important to us. We begin with a look at the 2015 NASA Budget proposal and what that means for some NASA programs and what we think of the cuts and gains. Next, we talk about the ISS, including the release of a record 33 CubeSats and the return of the Expedition 37/38 crew from the station. On our second trip around the table, we discuss some launches, including GPS 2F-5 which involved a lot of possums, and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM which launched from Japan. On our final trip around the table, we talk about raining iron on a brown dwarf, and lastly review the first episode of the Cosmos reboot, Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

We want to hear from you about Cosmos. Send us your thoughts via email tomailbag@talkingspaceonline.com, tweet us @talkingspace, or post it on our Facebook wall atfacebook.com/talkingspace

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Mark Ratterman and the Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

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