Archive for the 'Technology' Category

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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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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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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 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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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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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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SpaceX launched CRS3 successfully and the Falcon 9 first stage made a zero velocity soft landing in the Atlantic. We also noticed that typical NASA news conferences vs one with SpaceX is quite different. We look forward to Orbital making their first night launch mid-June from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport with cargo to the ISS. So, were you concerned about the problem on the ISS with MDM possibly impacting the SpaceX launch? Well of course now we know SpaceX was able to launch without delays related to that problem on orbit.
LADEE's mission is complete; we know some great science was accomplished and look forward to hearing more from the team involved. NASA selects Kathryn Lueders as Commercial Crew Program Manager at KSC.
The 1 year anniversary of the signing of a lease with PaR Systems took place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Hanger N. Listen to a short recording of KSC Director Bob Cabana talking about how important this is for the future of our space program. To see more about the incredible variety of work PaR Systems does and in particular the non-destructive testing capabilities go to http://www.par.com/non-destructive-testing/

Our next episode will be our 200th. You can count on another great interview with a NASA Astronaut (and no we're not telling who it is till next week)

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

Show recorded 04/22/2014
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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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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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