Archive for the 'United Launch Alliance' Category

It's not just about getting to the sun, it's about the people behind the mission making it all happen. That's what this episode of Talking Space is all about.

We speak with four integral members of the Parker Solar Probe team. The mission launched successfully in early August. To hear more about the mission along with the spectacular Delta IV Heavy launch audio, be sure to check out Part 1 in Episode 1007.

In this episode, we begin speaking with Dr. Adam Szabo, the mission scientist for Parker Solar Probe. From him we learn more about the mission objectives, how the gravity assist will be different from those in the past, and how PSP fits in with the host of solar observing missions already in orbit.

Next, we speak with David McComas of Princeton University who is in charge of the ISʘIS experiment. We discuss more about the role of the instrument, along with his excitement, plus a person "struggle" so-to-speak that's he's used to his advantage and hopes to share with others.

Then, we hear from two of the mission's leads immediately following the successful liftoff. That includes project scientist and soon to be head of Heliophysics at NASA Nikki Fox and Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen about the status of the mission and what's next for the spacecraft as it nears its first Venus encounter to help slow it down.

Stay tuned for Part 3, following our normal news episode, featuring a Q&A which you can only hear in high quality in its entirety here with Dr. Eugene Parker. The session was held for a very limited audience before launch and has never been aired in its entirety, so stay tuned!

Show recorded 8-19-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka with special guest interviews recorded on location at the Kennedy Space Center.

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On part one of this extremely special three-part Talking Space, hear the sound of a Delta IV Heavy launching a mission to the sun and hear from the scientists behind it!

We begin with the successful launch of the Parker Solar Probe mission, which is set to "touch the sun". This mission will set many records, and you'll hear all about them. You'll hear about the delays and the successes, including the launch audio as the Delta IV Heavy roared into the early morning sky and continued to rumble for minutes after launch. Hear from some of the science heads on the mission, as well as the new NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green. 

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 coming out over the next three weeks where you'll hear more interviews from scientists, some exclusive behind-the-scenes access and a rare Q&A that you may never hear elsewhere in its entirety.

[A photo gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 8-19-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka with special guest interviews recorded on location at the Kennedy Space Center.

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What do you get after one month away? A boat load of news and some amazing interviews for our return from spring break.

We begin looking at the launches of the last month from all corners of the globe. We check out many of the major launch providers and their most recent missions. We also discuss the recent improvements in the quality of their webcasts and our thoughts on what that means for outreach.

We also discuss the announcement of two new NASA managers. First, NASA's new head of science and of course, the recently confirmed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. We discuss our opinions so far on both of them and what we hope for the future.

Of course we discuss NASA's next Mars lander which is now on its way, Mars InSight, however we get some "insight" from one of the people who worked on it at this year's Northeast Astronomy Forum, or NEAF.

At NEAF, we also hear from the authors of "Bringing Columbia Home" about the recovery efforts after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Plus we bring you an amazing story of a young girl from Cosovo who's taking the US by storm promoting astronomy outreach.

We also have to give a special shout-out to the ESA team working the Bepi Colombo Twitter account, @ESA_Bepi, on taking our wacky suggestion of needing a cute mascot. Make sure to check it out and tweet them if you love it.

Show recorded 5-2-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kassy Tamanini

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7 years...5 blocks...27 engines...2 booster landings...one spectacular Falcon Heavy launch. All that in this episode of Talking Space.

On this very special episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful demonstration flight of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. The launch took off February 6th, 2018 at 3:45pm ET followed by the two side boosters landing a short time after. The core stage attempted to land on a barge but failed, and we'll explain why. 

Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was there, so be ready to immerse yourself in the sounds of 27 engines firing at once, and be prepared to get startled by six simultaneous sonic booms.

In addition to that, we discuss our thoughts on the payload, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster car with a dummy named "Starman" inside aimed for a mars orbital insertion distance without the insertion. You'll get our honest opinions on why some of us like the payload and others don't. In addition, Sawyer goes into everything that happened from L-1 until after the liftoff. Hear what it's like to go inside the pad, see more media at the press site than in at least 3 years if not more. You'll also hear both the good and bad of how the media was handled.

Lastly, we break down the numbers compared to other launch vehicles and see how powerful Heavy really is, and how those numbers led to a war of words on Twitter amongsome major private space companies.

In the show we discuss the comparison between its announcement and its launch. To hear our initial reactions from 2011 right after it was announced, check out a special blog post with a segment from our very own show back in Season 3 by visiting the blog page on our website or clicking here.

To read the thread between Doug Ellison and Elon Musk on Twitter, click here

For the TechCrunch article on what it was like to be there, check out their site here.

[A photo gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 2-12-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Kat Robison with special guest Falcon Heavy

 

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Talking Space is turning 10 seasons old...yet most of the topics involve new space surprisingly!

We begin focusing on SpaceX first with the return of CRS-13 and a look-ahead to the Falcon Heavy static fire test. Of course, we address the mystery behind the secret Zuma payload. Did it safely make it to orbit, did it come crashing back to earth, or is there something we're not being told? We get an ISS update including a preview of two spacewalks.

Next in our launch round-up, it's ULA with their NROL-47 mission and SBIRS GEO 4. Then it's over to India for a successful return of the PSLV plus a look at whether India could disrupt the international launch game. We also check out some smaller companies and their big impacts like RocketLab's Electron.

Then it's over to China whose rocket didn't blow up but still sent pieces crashing into the ground near crowded villages. Can the US partner with a country that just throws away rockets near people? We weigh in.

Lastly we remember two amazing astronauts in Bruce McCandless III and John Young who recently passed away.

Show recorded 1-16-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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Falcon Heavy gets a launch date for very soon, and SLS gets an even further away launch date, along with more in this jam packed Talking Space! On this episode we have a busy launch round-up featuring the Vega rocket, SpaceX, a new Minotaur-C, China bouncing back from failure, and more. We also have the upcoming penultimate flight of the Delta II, a classified SpaceX payload, a first launch from SLC-40 since the AMOS-6 failure last year, and AMOS returning back to SpaceX with a new satellite. We discuss all of this, along with the newly announced launch date for the long-anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from LC-39A. However, they also had a bit of a setback with a Merlin engine exploding on the test stand in McGregor, Texas. 

We then go into the first hearing for NASA administrator candidate Jim Bridenstine and some of the bizarre questions asked of the controversial candidate. We then go into NASA pushing the launch of SLS most likely to mid-2020, and a report by the NASA OIG on how even that might be unreasonable. Then it's onto names on Mars and a KBO that needs a name. We also must sadly mention the passing of Gemini XI and Apollo XII veteran Richard "Dick" Gordon at age 88. We reminisce on our memories of one of the last of his kind.

Show recorded 11-8-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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So many launches, so little time, and a few explosive news stories make this a jam-packed episode not to be missed! We begin by recapping the launches of the last two weeks, including three SpaceX launches in one day, Japan and China launching on the same day and both broadcasting them live, and an ESA mission launching on a unique rocket. We also had some unusual scrubs, including a Soyuz and an Atlas V, taking all V, er, 5 times to launch. We then look at some upcoming launches, including a mysterious "Zuma" payload and the move, once again, of the OA-8 mission.

Next it's onto the ISS, including looking at the most recent three spacewalks outside the orbiting platform. Also a scary story that a recent crewed Soyuz depressurized as it returned from orbit. We also disuss the major partnership between ULA and Bigelow Aerospace and their plans to have a lunar orbiting outpost. Lastly, we delve into a massive colission of two neutron stars, releasing gold and platinum, among other elements, out into space, and it being observed for the first time. We look into the significance of it and what it means for the future of science.

Show recorded 10-16-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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The biggest launch round-up in Talking Space history and one of the biggest talks of the year...all in one show! On this episode, we begin with the launch round-up looking at the upcoming launches of an Atlas V, two Falcon 9s, a Long March, an H-II A, a Soyuz, and a Rockot rocket...all within less than two weeks of each other. We also have the announcement of the new launch date for the next Orbital ATK resupply mission to the ISS that will be once again on an Antares out of Virginia. We then discuss that exact company, Orbital ATK, being acquired by Northrop Grumman and what implications that might have, and what the motive was behind it. Could it have been too much competition? In addition, we discuss the BEAM module and how it may be getting more time in space. We also discuss spacewalks being made to repair some broken parts on the ISS on the same day as the first official meeting of the National Space Council. Although this was recorded before the actual meeting, we still speculate to the NSC's future.

Are NASA and Russia working together on a new lunar orbiting outpost? Well the stories are reporting that about the Deep Space Gateway, but you'll have to listen in to find out why most of the news stories you've probably read got it wrong. It's also with sadness but not much surprise that we announce another delay in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, now slipping to 2019. 

The biggest news has to be out of IAC. Although we will have a full wrap-up in a future episode, we had to discuss Elon Musk's speech. His talk announced the BFR, sometimes called the Big Falcon Rocket, and other people interpret the "F" for a different word. Regardless, this monster is expected to lead to the phase-out of all previous SpaceX rockets. It boasts the ability to send payloads to orbit, people to the ISS, create a moon base, and land cargo on Mars in 5 years with crew in 7. He also mentioned point-to-point travel on Earth using the rocket, getting anywhere in under an hour. How plausible is this? We discuss it and a lot more on this one!

Show recorded 10-4-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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Hear the launch and landing of a Falcon 9, the inspiring story of two grieving parents, and the head of the ISS program, all in one jam-packed episode! On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss two recent launches. First we discuss the TDRS-M launch which took off on an Atlas 5. This was the first Atlas 5 launch in almost 4 months for United Launch Alliance, but theirr winning streak still continues. We also briefly mention a recent spacewalk conducted by the Russians, which had an impact on the next mission we discussed, the CRS-12 launch which brought supplies and lots of science to the ISS.

Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at the launch. Hear the launch audio and then brace yourself for the startling sonic booms and engine roar of the first stage landing back. You'll get to hear from a group of boy scouts and what role they had on this ISS resupply mission. Next, one of the best stories to come out of this launch is one you've probably never heard. Hear from Jimmy and Lorna Hering, who aren't just the mayor of McGregor, Texas and his wife. They lost their son Rhett at 15 years old in a tragic accident. The community around them decided to get together to celebrate the life of a boy they called selfess and caring in what is being called the #RhettRevolution. Help spread the revolution by visiting their website at http://rhettrevolution.org.

We at Talking Space would also like to do something special for the family. They hoped the revolution would spread worldwide, and we'd like to help. Perform an act of kindness and share it with us on social media using the hashtag #RhettRevolution and tag Talking Space. If you don't have social media, use the contact form on our website or email us mailbag@talkingspaceonline.com and mention where you're from.

Lastly, we have an exclusive post-ISSRDC interview with the head of the International Space Station Program and NASA, Kirk Shireman. Hear about some problems with station you'd likely forget about, and how the station is getting better as it gets older.

[A photo album was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 8-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kat Robison

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This season launches with, well, a look at a few launches. First up is OA-7, the second launch of a commercial cargo flight featuring Orbital ATK’s Cygnus atop a ULA Atlas V rocket. The International Space Station is living up to the last word in the name with the departure and  arrival of new crews as well, including the launch of a Soyuz carrying 2 NASA astronauts, first-timer Jack Fisher and storied veteran Peggy Whitson. For the latter, this trip will result in yet another few barriers broken for women and all humans alike as she settles in for a long stay in orbit. Just because this is his first trip to space, though, doesn’t mean Jack Fischer doesn’t have plenty to say already, and we bring you part of an exclusive unaired interview with him in celebration of his first trip to the laboratory. On the other side of Russian rocketry, reports indicate that there are issues with not just a few Proton engines but all of them. What implications could this have, not only for future Proton flights but for Russian aerospace as a whole? Meanwhile, while we’ve been on hiatus, SpaceX has managed to get one step closer to their vision of reusability by carrying the CRS-9 cargo towards the ISS by successfully relaunching a booster that had already been to the station.

From new beginnings we move to a spectacular mission that will be coming to a close soon with the latest findings about Enceladus from Cassini. The liquid plumes escaping through the moon’s icy shell have now been shown to contain molecular hydrogen (H2), generating increased questions about the possibility of organic matter in the hidden oceans. Meanwhile, similar plumes have been spotted on Europa using data from the Hubble Space Telescope which, while not yet able to be analyzed for chemical content, makes us wonder all the more if we just might not be truly alone even in our solar system, even if our only non-terrestrial neighbors would be microorganisms. Continuing with the search for potential habitability outside Earth, we begin our dive into this year’s Northeast Astronomy Forum with the search for exoplanets in the “Goldilocks” zone and the work of MIT planetary scientist and astrophysicist Sara Seager, her team, and the citizen scientists of planethunters.org. Planet hunting is hardly the only way amateur enthusiasts can contribute, though, and astrophotography is not only an area where amateurs can contribute significantly to scientific knowledge but can even make you a different sort of professional. Robert Reeves is just a guy with a camera who fell in love with imaging the moon decades ago and is now known as one of its best portrait-takers. We share a few of his tips and tricks and encourage you to take a look around the internet for his images. While we ramp up to this year’s main astronomical event for America, the total solar eclipse in August, our friend Alex Shimp brings us more about the talk by Joe Rao, FiOS1 meteorologist, on his experiences with eclipses. Swinging back around to launches, we finish up NEAF by discussing the latest news from United Launch Alliance about their commercial crew plans and the designs they are currently working with for these new systems. Finally, we check in with our own Mark Ratterman on what it’s like to volunteer with a FIRST Robotics team on their way to the championships to bring this super-sized season premiere to a feel-good close.

Show recorded 4-15-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Alex Shimp, and Kassy Tamanini

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