Archive for the 'STEM' Category

This week we must sadly open with the news of the passing of John Glenn, whose list of accomplishments has been surpassed by none, serving America with honor both on and off our planet for almost all of his 95 years. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t get much better quickly as we discuss the recent failure of the Progress 65 resupply mission. We discuss the impact on ISS operations and the reliability of not just Progress, but other cargo resupply providers and what sort of payloads might be a bit more critical than others.

On the brighter side, we get an update on a SpaceX return to flight following their September 1, 2016 anomaly. Still brighter, after numerous attempts were thwarted by bad luck with weather and small glitches, Virgin Galactic completed the first free flight test of the VSS Unity, successfully gliding the new craft for the first time since the tragic loss of the VSS Enterprise.

Perhaps brightest of all, though, is our coverage from the successful launch of the first in a new line of extremely powerful weather satellites, NOAA/NASA GOES-R (now GOES-16). Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at Cape Canaveral to capture the sights and sounds of what turned out to be a spectacular night launch, and you really don’t want to miss our exclusive audio on this one (grab the headphones!). 

Then again, what’s brighter (to us) than our own sun? Pulling double special-duty this week, Sawyer brings an exclusive interview with Terry Kucera, an astrophysicist from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory and the STEREO Deputy Scientist. She brings us an update on the recently-recovered STEREO-B and hits home the importance of and ongoing efforts in understanding our local variable star in the Space Age.

[An image gallery was added here. To view amazing images from the GOES-R launch, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 12-05-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini

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On September 8 an Atlas V carrying the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission took off from Cape Canaveral and our own Sawyer Rosenstein brings you exclusive sounds and experiences right from the front row. This asteroid sample-collecting mission to Bennu aims to help us understand the origins of life, but this trip to the Kennedy Space Center also featured a look at the future – particularly technologies for in-situ resource collection and usage, recycling of all garbage generated in space, and otherwise enable long-distance human space travel and colonization. In addition, we have an early response to the NASA Office of the Inspector General report discussed in episode 808 (spoiler alert: it’s all about the money). While on the Cape, Sawyer also got a chance to check out LC-40, the scene of the recent SpaceX fast fire, and it’s not pretty. However, that’s apparently not slowing down Musk’s push toward Mars, nor ours. 

Scientists studying the features of Mars have published a paper radically changing the dates of when Mars had its most recent flowing waters, while another set studying rocks here on our own planet suspect that Marsquakes might be releasing bits of hydrogen into the Martian ground as they do here, which could have enormous implications for the red planet. Speaking of Musk, expectations for his highly-anticipated talk at the International Astronautical Congress next week in Guadalajara are just about all the space world is talking about already, and Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini will be there to bring it to you. However, they’re hardly going just for that, both panelists will be presenting their own work at IAC and give us a preview of what they’ll be talking about. Watch our social media over the next week to hear about it all first, and of course, come back for the next episode of Talking Space for full coverage (after you’ve devoured this one, of course).

An image gallery was inserted here. To view it in its entirety, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com.

Show recorded 09-19-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, 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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 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 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, 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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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 http://talkingspaceonline.com

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 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 with the Executive Director and co-founder of Explore Mars, Chris Carberry. In the interview, we discuss what Explore Mars is all about, and as you can guess, it has a lot to do with Mars. We begin with discussing the upcoming "Humans 2 Mars", or H2M conference coming up in Washington D.C. from April 22nd to the 24th. We then go into his thoughts on manned vs. robotic, the best way to get to Mars, and jumping off points such as the moon and the ISS. We also go into some of the STEM programs that they are participating in, and look at the future of Mars exploration.

For more on Explore Mars, visit their website http://exploremars.org/.

For more on the H2M conference, visit http://h2m2014.exploremars.org/

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Mark Ratterman and special guest Chris Carberry from Explore Mars.

Show Recorded 4/7/2014

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Robots, Wheels and Wings literally covers these three topics with a couple of interviews and our comments. First we cover F.I.R.S.T. as in For Inspiration And Recognition Of Science And Technology http://www.usfirst.org/ Mark went to the March 15, 2014 Orlando, FL Regional FRC Robotics Competition. Along with seeing some real #omgrobots he interviewed former FIRST Regional Chairman and former NASA KSC Media Operations Group Manager Laurel Lichtenberger (who is also a SpaceFlightInsider.com Team Member). They talked about the incredible way FIRST and High School students come together redefining what team work is all about. For a video insight into the excitement that’s FIRST check out this 2014 NY Tech Valley Regional Highlight Video http://youtu.be/_ORIt5PC8uc Next up the unique testing of one fast set of wheels at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility with the Hennessy Venom GT http://www.venomgt.com/ We think you’ll agree that 270.49 mph is impressive.

We wind up this episode talking about wings thanks to our interview with John Godfrey, Owner of The Shuttle Landing Experience in Titusville, FL http://theshuttlelandingexperience.com/index.html John flies guests on any and all of three levels of tours seeing the Shuttle Landing Facility from the air like our Space Shuttle crews did time after time on their landings at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility. Hear about the Level 1, 2 and 3 Flights you can take when you’re visiting the Central Florida area.

Host this week Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Mark Ratterman
Special Guests: Laurel Lichtenberger  from our partner The Spaceflight Group http://spaceflightinsider.com/ and John Godfrey from The Shuttle Landing Experience http://theshuttlelandingexperience.com/index.html

Show Recorded 03/23/2014

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