Archive for the 'NASA' Category

On this episode of Talking Space, we recap a busy time for SpaceX, who completed their 3rd launch in less than 2 weeks with the launch of Intelsat 35e. In that time came the return of a SpaceX Dragon capsule from the ISS full of science. We then discuss the crew of the next Soyuz mission to the ISS passing their certification ahead of a launch at the end of the month. We also discuss a veteran astronaut, Julie Payette, who now has a new role in the Canadian government. We also go back to China where they recently encountered their 2nd failure in 3 launches, and this rocket was extra important, as you'll hear.

We then take a deep look at the revivial of the National Space Council and discuss what we think can be done and how to avoid errors made in previous iterations of the council. We then talk about the chairman of the council, Vice President Mike Pence, and his recent trip to the Kennedy Space Center, which was surprisingly more than just pomp and circumstance. We then stick with policy and look at a potential 6th branch of the US military involving space.

Lastly we look at plantary science and stunning images from NASA's Juno spacecraft around Jupiter and a look at an upcoming mission to Mercury called BepiColombo.

To view the images taken from Juno, visit http://missionjuno.swri.edu

Show recorded 7-12-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

 

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On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss a "double header" launch weekend for SpaceX, although we learn not to  use that phrase around a certain panel member. We discuss the effort it took for an east and west coast Falcon 9 launch with two barge landings over one weekend and what it means for the company and the entire industry. We then discuss an Indian launch carrying along an impressive array of CubeSats, and look at what vehicles are taking up these smaller payloads and if there's a market for them. We then look at some sounding rocket launches out of New Mexico and one particularly stubborn one out of Wallops Island, Virginia. We then move onto a recent failure of a Chinese Long March 3B upper stage and look into what the cause might be and if we'll ever find out.

We then take a mid-year look at NASA and their latest plans for future exploration. We begin with the cutting of the Asteroid Recovery Mission (ARM) and whether this was a smart idea or if science is being missed out on as a result. We also look at claims that NASA may not be as focused on Mars as a priority destination, and discuss the competition from private companies also aiming to get to Mars and sooner. Lastly we discuss a major milestone in NASA's attempt to create a quieter Supersonic Transporter, called QueSST 

To see images of the "rocket landing" from the Spaceport America Cup, visit https://twitter.com/JRNationFan388/status/878652184765837312 

To help friend of the show Miles O'Brien fight cancer, visit https://www.classy.org/team/120130

Show recorded 6-26-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kat Robison

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On this very special episode of Talking Space, we primarily focus on the recent launch of CRS-11, which our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at. First, we discuss the announcement of NASA's 12 new astronauts after the largest application pool in history. We then discuss the recent launches of India's GSLV 3, Japan's H-II A, and New Zealand's Electron. We also discuss the announcement that the US Air Force's X-37B will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 as opposed to the usual Atlas V.

During our CRS-11 coverage, we have for the first time in Talking Space history, both launch and landing audio of a Falcon 9 rocket and its first stage. We asked SpaceX's VP of Mission Assurance about the actual cost savings of flying a flight proven Dragon spacecraft. We then get to learn about the amazing science on this mission and the ISS. We hear from Dr. Karen Ocorr on the Fruit Flies 2 experiment. We hear from the head of the Air Force's project called ROSA, the Roll Out Solar Array. We also get an update on all the science happening aboard the ISS from the Associate Program Scientist for the ISS Camille Alleyne and get an insight into how much of an impact NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is having on science.

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

Show recorded 6-07-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Kat Robison

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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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On this extra packed episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the classified NROL-76 satellite. We also address a tweet sent to us regarding our view on SpaceX, a comment we get quite often and wanted to address. We also discuss the arrival of the Cygnus resupply vehicle to the International Space Station, and the return of a 4K camera from the station. This reportedly allowed more detailed science documentation, but our opinion of 4K, including the first live 4K broadcast from space? You'll have to listen. 

We then address some shake-ups happening at Roscosmos, and why one of the most decorated cosmonauts is choosing to leave. We then discuss the first of 22 dives taken by Cassini into the space between the rings of Saturn and what we're hoping to get as it nears its "Grand Finale". Of course, we had to discuss the announcement that the launch of NASA's SLS is now set for 2019, coming shortly after a report from the GAO stating that 2018 was highly unlikely. It's not just the rockets that are facing issues, but so are the aging spacesuits used by NASA.

Finally, we discuss Mark's time at the FIRST Robotics Championships in Houston, Texas. Mark discusses the tech inn, the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters. You'll also hear from Cathy Olkin, the Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Deputy Principal Investigator for NASA’s Lucy mission to study Trojan asteroids

For more information on FIRST, visit https://www.firstinspires.org/

To view the video Mark referenced in the episode, visit https://youtu.be/ZU3hHHFJT_k

To see Mark's "Get Smart" team at the competition, visit https://twitter.com/MaureenWilt/status/855618901685698560

Show recorded 4-29-2017

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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This week we’re (mostly) back to our regular programming, kicking off with two of our favorite subjects – the launches and landings of International Space Station crews, and it’s a busy season of shift changes via Kazakhstan. Since our last regular episode, we saw the conclusions of Expeditions 48 and 49 with some beautiful landings and the beginning of Expedition 50, with an additional 3 crewmembers scheduled to launch next week. Peggy Whitson, legendary astronaut, commander, and current holder of the record for spaceflight time for women, will not only add another long-duration mission to her impressive list of accomplishments, but will resume command for Expedition 51.

In other launch news, China’s Long March 5 joined the list of successfully-launched heavy lift vehicles last week while Worldview 4’s Atlas 5 launch issues spread across the country to affect GOES-R. It’s not all bad news for United Launch Alliance and their workhorse rocket, though, as Orbital ATK announced they will use it to launch another Cygnus on an ISS cargo mission. This time, rather than using it as a backup, it is for the additional rocket power enabling Orbital ATK pack a bit more cargo into Cygnus. Meanwhile, their competition, SpaceX, is narrowing down their investigation of the anomaly that took out the AMOS-6 mission, and is still planning to return to flight this year.

Moving from launches to space itself, we turn to NASA Goddard for some celebration and investigation. The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) set yet another world record, this time for using GPS at the highest altitude. We also had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Noah Petro, also at NASA Goddard, about his background in lunar geology and the upcoming supermoon. Be sure to check out this cool visual! Finally, we close out this episode with a discussion of the successful failure of the ESA’s Schiaparelli lander.

Show recorded 11-07-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini

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This week we divert a little from our usual format to bringyou some very special information. Most importantly, we respond to listener Kevin Streitmatter, who was wondering where the candidatesfor President of the United States stand on our favorite issue. Since thewinner will set America’s space policy for the next 4-8 years and could deeplyaffect not only the current and future missions of NASA but the burgeoningcommercial space industry, knowing their positions on space is crucial for anyspace advocate. However, since space is hardly a hot campaign topic, findingthis information requires a bit of digging. Fortunately, we not only lay outand discuss the stated positions of the candidates on this episode, but KatRobison has turned our voterguide into a handy cheat sheet to help U.S. voters make an informeddecision, including links to great sources to learn even more.

Continuing our coverage of the 67th InternationalAstronautical Congress (IAC) from the previous episode, we dip into this year’stheme, Making Space Accessible andAffordable to all Countries by bringing you an exclusive interview with theCEO, Stefan Gardefjord, and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing,Guillermo Bosch, of SSC, the umbrella ofthe Swedish Space Corporation and their varied group of companies. From their50-year history to what’s now and coming next, they lay out their vision forthe future of the industry and the role they can play in making access to spacea reality for a far wider range of clients.

Sometimes Talking Space doesn’t just cover the news butbecomes part of the story, as both our correspondents pulled double-duty bypresenting at IAC this year. First up, Kat Robison introduces her paper fromthe main conference, U.S. PolicyConsiderations on International Cooperation Beyond 2024. She considered thepotential paths for cooperation on projects beyond the International SpaceStation and the relationship between public statements by various spaceagencies and what might actually be possible. With human space flight to the moonand Mars on the tips of everyone’s tongues, what will succeed and who will beinvolved? Delving further into the moon, we focus in on some of the technicalpapers presented in the lunar exploration symposium and how both today’s andtomorrow’s space engineers and designers are working on sustaining life long-termon the moon and beyond.

Kat was also invited to present at the International StudentForum and she gives us some highlights of the other presentations at thatIAC-associated event before outlining her research into public opinion on space.While the data isn’t exactly rich, her efforts to bring together what there iscan give us some insight into what the general public is thinking about space,and you just might be surprised by some of the patterns she’s unearthing.

Studying public opinion is one part of understanding how toreach voters, Kassy Tamanini explores another fundamental aspect – grassrootsadvocacy for space issues. Her IAC paper, FolkSpace: Using Music to Advocate for Space to the Voting Public, outlines herown experiences with public engagement and the lessons that can be applied notonly to her efforts but grassroots outreach anyone can perform.

We at Talking Space hope this super-sized episode inspiresall of you, wherever you live or are from, regardless of political affiliationsor leanings, to use whatever talents you possess to engage with the politicalprocess as well as the people around you to support the exploration of space.

Show recorded 10-24-2016

Host Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini

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We begin this episode with an ending, as Rosetta joined its companion, Philae, on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on September 30, with confirmation arriving at mission control in Darmstadt at 11:19 UTC. This is hardly a time for mourning, but rather the celebration of an ambitious mission accomplished and still more data to learn from. While we await those studies we invite you to check out the latest installment of Rosetta’s cartoon and the short film Ambition.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Orbital ATK was preparing to return the Antares to flight. Carrying their Cygnus cargo ship full of supplies headed to the International Space Station, this launch has been plagued by storms in the Atlantic and other delays, and our own Gene Mikulka headed down early to keep an eye on the process and discusses what this launch means for the launch facility, the area around it, as well as for Orbital ATK and NASA.

Speaking of recovering from mishaps, this brings us down to the Kennedy Space Center and the investigation of what happened with SpaceX’ AMOS-6. Was it the second stage helium tank… or could it have been sabotage? The Washington Post reports that an official from SpaceX wanted to investigate the roof of a United Launch Alliance building known as the SMARF. We discuss the rumors, innuendo, known facts, and when there might be some concrete answers that will allow SpaceX to prepare for future launches safely. Looking further ahead, how will this incident affect the larger space industry?

Looking still further ahead, we begin our coverage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress with a breakdown of Elon Musk’s presentation, Making Humans an Interplanetary Species with insights from in the room by Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini. Is Musk’s plan to not only have SpaceX be the first to land on Mars but to move 100 people at a time to the red planet realistic? From the details he revealed (and didn’t) to the way the event was managed, we’ve got plenty to comment on.

An image was inserted here. To view it, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com.

Show recorded 10-10-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini

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