Archive for the 'Orbital ATK' Category

A new episode and a new crew make their way to the international space station, we highlight the members of Expedition 47 and Astronaut Jeff Williams who will assume command of the station under Expedition 48, and break the US endurance record for time in space during this increment. Only weeks after they have wrapped up the OA4 mission, OrbitalATK is is poised to launch the Cygnus cargo craft the SS Rick Husband  to the ISS. We profile one of its experiments the Spacecraft Fire Experiment or SAFFIRE which will study how fires develop and spread in a confined space.

Could the US establish its own lunar base by 2022? NASA Ames Astrobiologist Chris McKay seems to think so, and do it for $10 Billion, about the price of a US Aircraft Carrier. The base according to Dr. McKay’s would be established under the McMurdo Antarctic base model, and could be set up rather quickly. Dr. McKay’s paper was first published in the New Space Journal and in light of ESA’s Lunar Village concept we discuss the merits of both ESA’s and Dr. McKay’s vision.

Host: Gene Mikulka
Panel Members: Kat Robison & Kassy Tamanini

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This week we take a journey from the halls of Congress out through our solar system, and then journey out to a point 1.3 billion light years away from home. On February3rd, the Space Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology met to discuss the current status of NASA’s Journey to Mars, and how it may survive past the current presidential administration. We examine the winners and losers in the 2017 NASA budget proposal. NASA announces the Exploration Mission 1 Launch Director and we discuss the Cygnus OA-6 Mission launch delay.

The Year In Space increment on board the International Space Station is coming into the home stretch, while back on Earth, the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is completed.

European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission continues, but without the Philae lander that made landfall on Comet 67P in November. There has been no response from Philae since July and ESA has announced they will stop trying to contact the spacecraft. We discuss some of the highlights and lessons learned from this milestone mission.  NASA releases  a terrain map of Pluto’s ‘heart’ region, based on New Horizon’s spacecraft data , revealing a few big surprises.

The final story: the discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of two massive black holes. These waves reached our own planet this past September and were detected by the freshly-upgraded advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), providing the first proof of parts of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. What does this mean and why is it so exciting? We break it down for you

The LIGO comic by Talcott Starr discussed in the episode can be found here and make sure to give it a like if you enjoy it.

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini



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Come along with the Talking Space Team  to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as we bring to you the sights and sounds leading up to the return to flight of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Cargo spacecraft (named after pioneering Astronaut  Donald K. Slayton) and the resumption of ISS logistics delivery missions from US Soil.  In this special expanded show, we discuss the mission , designated OA4, the  Cygnus itself and just why we are launching from Florida and not the usual home port for Cygnus of Wallops Island, Virginia. Also why we are flying on United Launch Alliance’s AtlasV and not OrbitalATK's Antares booster. With wind measurements playing a huge factor in this launch (wind delayed in the launch three times) Mark Ratterman takes us on a tour of a key instrument, NASA’s Doppler Radar Wind Profiler. Once fully commissioned the system will  make sure the “highway to space” is safe for launch vehicles leaving KSC.  We spend some time with Mr. Frank DeMauro, OrbitalATK’s Vice President of Human Spaceflight Systems to discuss his career, his role in supporting this return to flight mission, and what the future holds for the Cygnus spacecraft.

There was a bit of controversy surrounding Space Exploration Technologies (Space X) and their future return to flight plans, we discuss. We also look at the company’s progress with reimagining historic Launch Complex 39-A.  We also make commentary as to why we think their message last week surrounding their future launch plans became somewhat muddled.

In a future show, we will profile progress being made by United Launch Alliance at LaunchComplex 41 to support human missions. We’ll also examine Boeing’s efforts to get the former Orbiter Processing Facility 3 now known as the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility ready to fabricate the CST-100 Starliner , and NASA’s Launch Equipment Testing Facility , making sure that connections on the new Mobile Launcher will support the Space Launch System and Orion.

Talking Space wishes to thank NASA’s George Diller and OrbitalATK’s Frank DeMauro for their time with us.

For additional photographs/images go to our Team Blog page

Show recorded 12-07-2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein

Commentators: Mark Ratterman & Gene Mikulka

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This Past week, The Expedition 45 Crew on board the International Space Station had to contend with a bit of a power wrinkle that may require a spacewalk next year to repair. They also observed a moment of silence (as do we) for those lost in the Paris Terrorist Attacks. Preparations continue for the Cygnus OA4 Cargo craft at the same time, NASA further delays the announcing the winners of the second round of Commercial Resupply contracts.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden continues to be adamant that NASA will not take a lead role in Europe’s “lunar village”. Does that leave the door open for Federal Aviation Administration? What happened to the Martian atmosphere, NASA’s MAVEN in orbit around Mars has found the answer. The Martian Moon, Phobos may become rubble, and Virgin Galactic hires its first woman pilot, Kelly Latimer..

Show recorded 11-16-2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka

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The International Space Station celebrated its “crystal anniversary” of occupation on November 2nd, marking 15 years that humans have been continuously on board the orbiting facility. The Expedition 45 Crew paused to reflect on the anniversary and what it means for the future of space exploration going forward. During an investor conference call, CEO David Thompson of Orbital ATK says his company is on track for the Cygnus cargo vehicle to return to flight.  NASA released its findings into the October 28th 2014 Orbital ATK Antares launch mishap, we discuss the findings.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says his agency is “doomed” if “Journey to Mars” roadmap is abandoned. The Cassini spacecraft captures a plume from Saturn’s Moon Enceladus while making an historic close flyby. Finally we profile the humble beginnings of the Paragon Space Development Corporation.  

 Show recorded 11-02-2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein,

Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka

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 There's a new "Ironman" in space flight: Current Space Station commander,  astronaut Scott Kelly , broke the US space endurance record recently and is gearing up for two upcoming US spacewalks on October 28th and November 6.  


We open the strange case of star KIC8462852 some 1480 light years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan that's is behaving in a weird manner. The conclusion: Aliens? You be the judge. A swan of a different feather: the  Cygnus, cargo space craft built  by OrbitalATK arrived at the Kennedy Space Center  in preparation of the OA-4 mission and its return to flight. We also discuss return to flight efforts by SpaceX and Virgin Galactic  and examine the implications surrounding NASA's Venture Class CubeSat launch contracts recently announced.  


Mark Ratterman sat down with former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott to discuss her start in aviation and Kat Robison gives us a sneak peak at her experiences at the International Astronautical Conference  held in Jerusalem, Israel. 


Finally we celebrate the life of  a legendary figure in spaceflight who's contributions still reverberate though the years even today: NASA's George Mueller who we lost on 12 October. 


Presenters this week: Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka

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So you want to be a Martian? On October 1st  NASA  held an event at the Kennedy Space Center to explain more about the agency's push to send the first humans to Mars and our own Mark Ratterman was there and provides insights. We highlight Two Deserts, One Sky a  project by Danielle Adams a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, and briefly discuss  new solar power technology.   United Launch Alliance (ULA) puts 100 successful  launches in the books sending Mexico's Morelos-3 communications satellite into orbit on into orbit on October 2nd. However as the company looks toward Launch 101, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing heads into uncharted territory and uncertain waters as a launch services provider. The team discusses.the challenges that lay ahead for the firm.  


On September 28 NASA announced the confirmation that brine water has at certain times, been collecting on the surface of Mars.  The initial report made on 4 August 2011 (which we discussed   on Episode 334 )  was confirmed with a NASA press conference  and the team examines the announcement itself, the reaction to the announcement  in some circles, and   the implications not only for NASA's planned human Mars exploration efforts, but for the future of human solar system exploration going forward.  


Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein, 

Panel members:  Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass) & Gene Mikulka

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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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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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 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.
Listen now!
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