Archive for the 'Roscosmos' Category

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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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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We talk about the ISS Expedition #48 crew returning to Kazakhstan via the Soyuz TMA20M capsule and upcoming crew and cargo missions. Gravitational waves are causing a ripple effect in the science community. LIGO and its' value, well the science community is recognizing a need for greater emphasis on this type research. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft finds the Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko less than a month before the end of the Rosetta mission. Adding to the list of found spacecraft, the NASA Deep SpaceTracking Network located spacecraft STEREO-B. Hopefully future news will include establishing positive control and resumption of solar science observation. JUNO is sending spectacular pictures of Jupiter including never before seen images of the Polar Regions. JUNO is changing our understanding of the planet in dramatic ways. Citizen science is real, check out JunoCam to learn what regular people have a voice in. We again discuss the cost paid per astronaut for NASA to use Roscosmos to launch and return our astronauts to the International Space Station. So sad too bad.

Speaking of bad, on September 1, 2016 SpaceX lost the AMOS-6 Falcon 9 rocket/payload on the pad during an engine test. Investigations into the SpaceX described “anomaly” are ongoing and as of September 17 no information has been updated on the SpaceX website since September 2nd (the day after the rocket was lost). The Talking Space crew talks more about this unfortunate “anomaly” than what we’ve heard from SpaceX so far. Investigations into these type events often take more time than one anticipates....#justsayin. The Talking Space Team reminisces about our 7 years of bringing news and more to you our listener. Thank all of you for joining us here.

Show recorded 09-06-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kassy Tamanini, Kat Robison

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This episode takes off with the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the second pair of satellites for the U.S. Air Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). Looking ahead to the company’s next launch for the NASA mission OSIRIS-REX and even further to the test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, we also discuss their not-quite-as-high-tech but welcome efforts to upgrade the company’s launch stream for the public. Continuing with the return of crewed spaceflight to American shores, we take a look at the results of the RS-25 engine firing test for NASA’s Space Launch System and upcoming tests for the program intended to take us to Mars. SpaceX’ launch of the JCSAT satellites rounds out a very busy August for the space industry before the month has even concluded.

At the other end of the launch process, spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed the first International Docking Adapter on the ISS to enable docking of a variety of spacecraft, including the upcoming commercial crew vehicles.

As commercial access to the ISS increases there is an idea of extending the life of the station by selling it off when the space agencies involved end their cooperative agreements to keep the orbiting lab afloat. Is this feasible? Are there other options for using the station beyond the current plans and what would it take to make them happen? What is the future of not just the ISS but laboratories in orbit?

In the even nearer future, Russia has announced their plans to reduce the amount of cosmonauts on station just after news broke of plans to invest in researching a trip to the moon. Again, is this feasible? We discuss the relationship between dreaming and pragmatism when it comes to space exploration, particularly in the two premier spacefaring nations.

After all this speculation on the future of space exploration, we take a look back at the days when America was dreaming and preparing for all of this with the X-15. Mark brings our attention to the White Eagle Aerospace blog with just a little sample of the fascinating histories they are preserving over there. We highly recommend visiting the site, with a warning that you might not be able to pull yourself away for a few hours.

Show Recorded 08-22-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, and Kassy Tamanini
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We start off our sixth anniversary show with an update on the recent Soyuz missions and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko’s one year mission on the International Space Station, which has just passed the halfway point. From there, we bring things back down to Earth with a discussion on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s unsolicited $2B offer to purchase United Launch Alliance and the Department of Defense’s likely position on the offer.


Heading back off planet, we then jump into a discussion about the release of the most recent New Horizons photographs including one particular picture that shows a fantastic contrast between old and new geography on Pluto.


After wrapping up the news for this week, we all took some time to reflect on six years of Talking Space. We talk about the first show, and our favorite moments, including a live broadcast from STS-135, the final shuttle mission, a live interview with then relatively unknown CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield from that same broadcast, meditate on some thoughts from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, and on the future of space travel and Talking Space. We conclude the episode with a request to you, our audience - we want to hear your memories of the last six years too! Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ using the hashtag #TS6 or send us an email or audio clip to mailbag@talkingspaceonline.com.


Thank you for six years of Talking Space, and we look forward to many more!


Show Recorded 9/14/2015


Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein

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

Audio Engineer: Kassy Tamanini (CraftLass)

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So what is that white stuff that NASA’s Dawn spacecraft found in Occator Crater on Ceres? What about that four mile high mountain or “pyramid”? We sort the wheat from the chaff. The International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 44 crew partook of the first edible harvest from the NASA’s VEGGIE experiment becoming the first humans to harvest food grown in space while on orbit. We highlight efforts to use Asteroids as fueling depots for future deep space missions, and mention the successful spacewalk conducted by cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko on the station’s Russian segment. We look at an unusual experiment flying on board  Japan’s HTV 5 cargo vehicle to be launched to the ISS on Sunday August 16th. CBS News had a worthy feature on light pollution and its impact on ground based astronomy, we visit the piece for comment.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent a letter to Congress saying due to Congressional action, NASA was forced to extend the launch services contract with Russia into 2019 to the tune of $490 Million. Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle had some thoughts on that topic similar to our own and we debate.  We visit the NTSB’s findings of the October 31 Virgin Galactic accident  released on July 28th..

Our Spinoff of the week: A NASA Sensor allows plants to send a text to farmers to say “Can I have some water, please?”

Click Here for more information on the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)

Show recorded 8/3/2015

Hosts this week: Kassy Tamanini a.k.a. CraftLass & Gene Mikulka

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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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