Archive for the 'Space Policy' Category

The Kepler Spacecraft ran into trouble last Friday but thanks to heroic effort by the team at  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,  Kepler’s search for Exoplanets can resume. We discuss the SpaceX Dragon Cargo Resupply Mission 8  and it’s cargo specifically the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to be attached to the International Space Station.  SpaceX also proved at least part of their business model by landing the first stage of their Falcon 9 booster on a drone ship. We discuss the implications. At the  32nd Space SymposiumUnited Launch Alliance and Bigelow Aerospace announced a partnership to loft Bigelow’s B330 expandable modules in 2020, thus creating a new independent space station separate from the ISS without NASA. The team looks at this groundbreaking deal. ULA was also making news this week at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), presenting it’s blueprint for a cis-lunar economy once more independent of NASA. All of this looks at space not just a place for exploration but economic opportunity, the team discusses and explores what a future could look like. 

In the second half of the show, the team opens up part one of it’s NEAF roundup with David Shoemaker  of the Advanced LIGO Project  and Hans Koeningsmann of SpaceX  The second half of our NEAF roundup will be coming up in Episode 806.

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panel Members: Kassy Tamanini & Gene Mikulka

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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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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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In this special edition, the Talking Space Team puts the  66th Annual International Astronautical Congress which took place in Jerusalem, Israel between October 12th and 16th into focus. Our first stop is a paper presented by our own Kat Robison on the issues surrounding scientists communicating the importance and relevance of their own research to the public.  

The theme for IAC 2015 this year was "Space: The Gateway for Mankind's Future" and we review the various gateways starting to open though the International Space Station, leveraging cis-lunar space, and finally humanity declaring "Earth independence" setting sail for Mars. The episode includes commentary from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and new European Space Agency Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner. On various concepts including analysis of NASA's Journey to Mars outline and ESA's vision for a permanent research outpost on the lunar surface

Commercial ventures were also a topic at IAC 2015 and the team examines a new launch services company, Bloostar with an interesting approach to placing 100 kg (220 lbs) payloads into orbit. 

We end our visit to Jerusalem with an interview Kat conducted with NASA astronaut Suni Williams who was selected to fly one of the first Commercial Crew missions to the International Space Station. 

Talking Space congratulates Kat Robison on her presentation at IAC 2015 and thanks both Kat and Kassy Tamanini for their work in preparing this episode.  

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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 of Talking Space, the team discusses the International Space Station One Year Mission. We also mention that the New Horizons spacecraft is just a little over 90 days away from its destination: Pluto. We then look at the ramifications of an article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle making an assertion that NASA is looking at leveraging the Moon as a true stepping stone to Mars. We also cite The Examiner's Mark Whittington, and a rebuttal to Mr. Berger's piece by Marcia Smith at SpacePolicyOnline . Mr. Berger stood by his piece in a later blog post. NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said during a public panel aired on NASA TV, “I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade." We discuss what that really means for us and how some main stream media outlets have reported on this story. Mark Ratterman wraps up his involvement with the First Robotics Competition  and what do the Mars Exploration Rovers have in common with Major League Baseball? We'll tell you in this week's NASA Spinoff Segment. 

The outro song is "Familiar Frontier " by Craft Lass. It is used with her permission. To purchase the file, visit https://craftlass.bandcamp.com/track/familiar-frontier. The song is also available on iTunes and Google Play.
Show recorded: 4/9/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass 


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In our "Return to Flight" episode we discuss NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission   and it's implications for learning more about how space weather impacts life here on Earth. With the new International Space Station Commercial Cargo Contracts coming, two new players have come on the scene but with very familiar names. Sierra Nevada Space Systems puts its new entry, a cargo version of the Dreamchaser Spacecraft into consideration and Lockheed Martin puts its Jupiter Exoliner hat into the ring.The controversial Mars One program gets placed under the microscope as the team discusses the fallout from Elmo Keep's piece on the Medium web site. We launch a new segment, exploring how NASA technology impacts everyday life hear on Earth profiling medical spinoffs. Finally we look at a NASA sponsored program, FIRST Robotics. Our  Mark Ratterman is leading a team of students, Team 3556 " Get Smart" competing in the event.  

We're sorry for our absence over the last few months. Thanks for sticking with us, and we'll be back with plenty more episodes in 2015!

Show recorded: 3/23/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman, Gene Mikulka, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass..

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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 http://talkingspaceonline.com]

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 talk about the recent Soyuz launch to the ISS, and the glitch that turned a few hour rendezvous into a two-day event. We look into what may have caused the event and look back at the classic "Era of Reliability" Russia declared at the end of the shuttle program in 2011. We then talk about a range outage that has delayed two launches until an unknown time and what it means for the future launch schedule for one of the commercial companies it affects. Next, we look at a wind measuring field finally getting a well-needed upgrade. On the second trip around the table, we talk about NASA's new spacesuit designs which the public can vote for, and how we probably wouldn't vote for any of them. Then it's on to our thoughts on some interesting comments made by Charlie Bolden and a discussion on the state of NASA. Then it's on to how NASA equipment helped predict sinkholes before they formed. For the third round, we discuss a record set by the mostly-classified X-37B and check out an award going to the Dawn spacecraft makers.

To vote for the next spacesuit design, visit http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/z2/

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman and the Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

Show Recorded 3/31/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, we return from a long hiatus to recap some of the space news of the last few weeks that was important to us. We begin with a look at the 2015 NASA Budget proposal and what that means for some NASA programs and what we think of the cuts and gains. Next, we talk about the ISS, including the release of a record 33 CubeSats and the return of the Expedition 37/38 crew from the station. On our second trip around the table, we discuss some launches, including GPS 2F-5 which involved a lot of possums, and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM which launched from Japan. On our final trip around the table, we talk about raining iron on a brown dwarf, and lastly review the first episode of the Cosmos reboot, Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

We want to hear from you about Cosmos. Send us your thoughts via email tomailbag@talkingspaceonline.com, tweet us @talkingspace, or post it on our Facebook wall atfacebook.com/talkingspace

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Mark Ratterman and the Spaceflight Group's Jason Rhian

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