Archive for the 'Space Exploration History' Category

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

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

Show recorded 06/06/2014

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On our 200th episode of Talking Space, we welcome on decorated fighter pilot and two-time shuttle astronaut Bob Springer. We begin with his military career and his favorite planes to fly. We also talk about his time in the TOPGUN program. Then it's onto how he got from test piloting to being a space shuttle mission specialist. Then it's on to his flights, including two that never flew and the connection the flights, and Bob, had to the Challenger Disaster. The other flights included STS-29 and STS-38. Finally, we talk about his work with Boeing, the Kennedy Space Center, and his vision for the future.

Below is the STS-38 patch as described in the episode:

[An image was inserted here. To view it, visit]

A huge thank you to everybody who has helped the show grow to what it is today, allowing us to create 200 episodes!

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and special guest astronaut Bob Springer

Show recorded 04/17/2014


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On this episode of Talking Space, we welcome The Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian to discuss his trip to see TDRS-L launch. Along with talking about the launch and TDRS-L, we discuss some other experiences he had while at the Kennedy Space Center including some insider information on Dreamchaser as well as a "look" at Orion. We wrap things up with a happier look at NASA's Remembrance Week.

For more on The Spaceflight Group, visit and follow them on Twitter@SpaceflightGrp and like them on Facebook 

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka with special guest Jason Rhian of The Spaceflight Group

Show Recorded 1/27/2014


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On this episode of Talking Space, our first news show in 2014, we discuss a whole bunch of commercial news. We discuss Virgin Galactic's latest test flight of SpaceShipTwo, SpaceX's most recent launch of Thaicom 6 aboard a Falcon 9 v1.1, and Orbital's Antares launch bringing Cygnus to the ISS. In regards to Orbital, we also look at the man behind the name of this particular Cygnus capsule, C. Gordon Fullerton. We then look at National Geographic's upcoming live two hour show from the International Space Station and what in particular they plan on doing that excites us the most. We then talk about the recent announcement extending the life of the space station until 2024. Finally, Mark brings us a special follow-up interview with NASA's Social Media Manager and Deputy Manager John Yembrick and Jason Townsend. 

For more on NASA Socials, visit

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Emily Carney, Gene Mikulka, with Mark Ratterman and his guests NASA's Social Media Manager John Yembrick and NASA's Deputy Social Media Manager Jason Townsend

Show Recorded 1/13/2013


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This Episode of Talking Space brings you a recording from August 7th 2013 at the Alachua County Library Headquarters branch in Gainesville, FL. The presenter is Peter Chitko from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Peter Chitko is employed by NASA as the Mechanical Division Engineering Technical Integration Manager.  In 1983, he joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, which was the launch site and preferred landing site for NASA’s Space Shuttles, so, with 30 years of experience, he has a wealth of information about Florida history and space travel.

Mr. Chitko’s presentation at the Alachua County Florida Library added the very interesting aspect of spaceflight to the theme “Viva Florida 500”. Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative to highlight the 500 years of historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León to the land he named La Florida in 1513. While Florida’s Native American heritage dates back more than 12,000 years, Spain’s claim in 1513 began a new era. 2013 marks 500 years of history and diverse cultural heritage in Florida – a claim no other state in America can make – and Viva Florida 500 promotes the place where the world’s cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America. The Viva Florida 500 commemoration is ongoing throughout 2013, and includes hundreds of events statewide. The goal is to promote 500 years of Florida’s history – its people, places and cultural achievements – and this important milestone in American and Florida history.

My apologies for the moments you miss here with this audio only recording. Mr. Chitko played several videos of key events from the Apollo program. Unfortunately the acoustics of the conference room we were in, made that audio (on my recording) difficult to understand. However I think you will find Mr. Chitko easy to understand and I ask you to let your mind’s eye fill in the pictures or video you have certainly seen before. Mr. Chitko will be telling us about the space race, about the Apollo Program and a little about what is ahead for NASA.

I want to thank Mr. Peter Chitko of NASA Kennedy Space Center and the Alachua County Library for permission to record this presentation. Several of us there felt this was an outstanding presentation from an extremely knowledgeable speaker. Thank you NASA for sharing your best with communities far and wide.

During the last two minutes of this recording you'll hear the question I asked Mr. Chitko and I think you'll find his answer well worth waiting for.

Host: Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 08/07/2013


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On this episode we discuss the multiple launch attempts by SpaceX of the SES-8 satellite. Frustration at lack of information provided by SpaceX to the press gets considerable attention from the Talking Space panel. Will it change when crew launches begin? We sure hope so. Did you know Kimbal Musk, brother of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started a blog in November of 2005? It is named “Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets” - Kimbal Musk also has a twitter account @kimbal though most of his recent tweets are not SpaceX related.

Comet ISON got our attention, now we say goodbye as its first trip around the sun did not end as so many hoped. Sorry but no incredible December holiday views of ISON are expected. Here is a link to the SDO Mission Blog and the post from November 29, 2013 describing the challenge that observing sun grazing comets presents.

On December 1, 2013 at 1730 UTC China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched a Long March 3B carrying the Chang’e-3 lander/rover to the moon. It was a welcome surprise to find @CCTVnews (China Central Television) provided live streaming coverage of the launch. They also requested participation from social media! The multiple camera views, commentary and length of coverage from prior to launch to after payload separation were appreciated by spaceflight enthusiasts eager to follow along. The European Space Agency is supporting Chang’e-3 to the moon. See this link to read more

Emily brings us an introduction to her article on SpaceFlight Insider about the 30 years of spaceflight participation by European Space Agency. You’ll appreciate ESA even more for their contributions to manned spaceflight, exploration and certainly the International Space Station. Also we talk about the Spaceflight Insider Team and hear that “we ain’t seen nothing yet” regarding future plans. Here is the link to Emily’s December 1, 2013 ESA article

The Kepler Space Telescope is in the news again. A new plan may allow Kepler to reacquire its pointing ability and continue searching for exoplanets. Some great reading material is available for FREE from NASA. They have ebooks available supporting Kindle and other ebook readers. How about their most recent title"NASA's First A:Aeronautics from 1958-2008" Go to to find your next great read.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman. Guest Panelist: Emily Carney from our partner The Spaceflight Group

Show recorded 12/02/2013


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On this episode of Talking Space we discuss release of the Cygnus capsule from the ISS and an upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9.1 Dragon launch. Also the most recent test flight of the SpaceX Grasshopper and the reusability it may provide.
Sierra Nevada readies for a drop test of their Dreamchaser test vehicle. Did you hear about the concern raised on twitter that the Near Earth Object discovered Oct 8th could hit earth on a future pass in 2032. Odds are 1 in 63,000  of a hit from this 1300 ft long object. Gene says don't worry, rest easy and check the facts from sources like NASA or the B612 Foundation.
Want to be part of the Mars Artic 365 Mission? Crew of 6 volunteers will spend 365 days at Flashline Mars Artic Research Station at Devon Island near Resolute in Nunavut, Canada. See for all the details.

There has been a launch delay of a Minotaur 1 from Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility due to the US Government shutdown. Original launch date was Nov 4 and is now scheduled for Nov 19. Also a Delta IV was scheduled to launch on Oct 23 but is being delayed to look into possible problems following an Oct 2012 Delta IV launch due to reduced thrust the second stage RL10B-2 engine.
How about a sleeping trip to the Red Planet? Well the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program announced 2013 Phase I and II Selections. One of which included a proposal from Spaceworks Enterprises Inc. for research on a "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars".
See for links to all selections.

Jellyfish born in space have difficulty adapting when returned to earth. Swimming does not come naturally in 1 G following birth in microgravity. Sawyer brings us the story "Debugging a Live Saturn V". Take a few minutes and read this for yourself from the memoirs of a Saturn V "Rocket Scientist", it is phenomenal!

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 10/21/2013


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On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss the journey of Endeavour from Los Angeles International Airport through the narrow streets to its new home at the California Science Center. The shuttle got in later than expected, and we explain why. We then discuss the Red Bull Stratos jump, where Felix Baumgartner jumped from 24 miles to a safe landing on Earth, breaking some pretty impressive world records and almost not surviving. Lastly, we discuss the Dragon docking to the ISS, the failure of the Orbcomm payload which hitched a ride on the Falcon 9, and then we get into interviews. Mark sits down with many members of the CRS-1 NASA Social and get their opinion on the debate brought up last week of social media versus traditional media.

Special thanks to the following for their interviews. You can click on a Twitter username to follow them.

*Note, these are in order of how they appeared on the show:

Adam Kostecki @AIAspeaks

Manya Susoev @ManyaS

Kara Haas @greenposgirl

Emily Carney @emilyc1978

Stacey Severn @FanciFlautist

Robert Neff @5wa

Richard Hay @WinObs

Molly Wood @mollywood

For info on how to help the Planetary Society, visit

As well, apologies for the occasional audio issues, specifically in the beginning.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 10/15/2012


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On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory or Curiosity, which our very own Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman were in Florida to witness. You will even get to here the actual sound of launch, and an interesting sound it is if you listen closely. We then move on to the next name to leave NASA: Mike Leinbach. We then continue on to some interesting articles posted regarding NASAs budget. We finish off our main topics with the attempts to salvage the Russian mission Phobos-Grunt.

In our Talking Space Mad Minute, we talk about the Twitter account @KillerCuriosity, a new location for a space shuttle simulator, the official hand-over of space shuttle Enterprise's title, ice in Florida, and some interesting facts about Plutonium.

A photo was inserted here. To view it, please visit

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 11/28/2011


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On this episode of Talking Space, we start with the update on STS-134, the final flight of Endeavour, and its new launch date. By the way, don't miss our live launch coverage beginning on May 16th at 8:30am EDT on! We then discuss the 50h successful Atlas V launch. We move on to SpaceX's possibility of combining two of their preparatory flights, COTS-2 and COTS-3, possibly leading them to an ISS docking sooner than later. Following that, we crack open some history books on the 50th anniversary of Alan Shepard's flight, the first American in space. The next topic became the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the amazing Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Lastly, we went on to discuss a spacesuit for sale and the recovery of the BTS-1 team, consisting of a rubber chicken (@Camilla_SDO), a teddy bear, (@AstroFuzz), and a stuffed pig (@SkyeBleu). We wish them all the best!

For more information on the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, visit

Please note: We did have technical problems, and we realize some audio is muffled or is skipping and difficult to understand. We are aware of the problem and working to fix it.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Gene Mikulka, and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 5/9/2011


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