Archive for the 'Space Exploration History' Category

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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On this episode of Talking Space, we devote the entire show to the days leading up to the scrub of the launch of the shuttle Endeavour on Friday, April 29, 2011. Mark and Gene participated in press events at the Kennedy Space Center, and we discuss tours of launch pads, astronaut interviews, and more! Listen in for some spectacular stories you can ONLY hear here! Also, stay tuned for a STS-134 clip show.

To view the pictures mentioned in the show, click on the Photo Album link on our website, Below are some teaser images. (Two images were inserted here. To view them, please visit

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

Show Recorded - 5/1/2011


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On this episode, we invite back Elizabeth Howell as we talk about last week's decision to place shuttles in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Chantilly, Virginia/Washington DC; and New York City, New York. We talk about a press conference with Assistant Administrator of the Office of Strategic Infrastructure, Houston being upset about not getting a shuttle, and out opinion on their locations. Thank you as well to James Cook, Scott Orshan, and @Aries419 for sending us your input. We then discuss the allocation of Endeavour's Canadarm to a lucky Canadian institution and predict where it might go. Lastly, we talk about a story which fooled Mark a few weeks ago, but makes for some entertainment this episode.

Be sure to check out Elizabeth Howell at the Ottawa Business Journal by visiting and at her own site, Pars3c, at

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and special guest Elizabeth Howell

Show Recorded - 4/17/2011


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On this episode, we discuss the postponement of the STS-134 launch which we briefly mentioned last week. We also talk about some debris which avoided the ISS, sending its crew to safety onboard their Soyuz. We continue with our correct speculations last week about the SpaceX announcement of the Falcon Heavy. Following that, we move onto some big anniversaries, including the 30th anniversary of STS-1 and the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's 1st flight aboard Vostok-1. We speculate where the shuttles will go once they retire, and then reveal the announcement of where they'll go. Be sure to listen to find out their final resting places. We end with our reflections of 50 years in space and what Gagarin's flight meant to us.

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

Show Recorded - 4/10/2011


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This week we share the microphone with Frank Morring Jr., Senior Editor at AVIATION WEEK, and a journalist for 35 years, specializing in aerospace for the over 20 years. Frank joined AVIATION WEEK in 1989 as a defense/space reporter and senior space technology editor. In 2007 he was named deputy managing editor/space, responsible for coordinating space coverage across all bureaus and publications. Frank began his career working for his hometown daily in Huntsville, Alabama, and moved to Washington in 1979 as correspondent for the Birmingham Post-Herald. He later covered the Cold War Pentagon for Scripps-Howard News Service. Frank received a degree in comparative literature from Dartmouth College.

Read Frank's articles at

Host This week: Gina Herlihy, Panelists: Mark Ratterman & Gene Mikulka


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