On this episode of Talking Space, the main focus is on Mars as three countries send missions to the red planet.

We discuss the United Arab Emirates first mission to the red planet and the implications it has for the country and that part of the world.

We then discuss China's mission which was also launched, their first solo mission to Mars, and discuss where their space program stands right now and if they could become a major player again in space.

Finally NASA is up with their Mars 2020 mission and the Perseverance rover.

We discuss some launch successes and one failure unfortunately for Rocket Labs of their Electron rocket and what it means for their future. We also discuss another delay of the James Webb Space Telescope and what you can do to see Comet NEOWISE before it disappears.

Kat Robison brings us a special piece on a space pioneer you may not have heard of, Ed Dwight. You can read the original article by clicking here.

Finally we remember U.S. Representative John Lewis and his surprising connection to the International Space Station.

 

Show recorded 7-19-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

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The “band” is back together to review some breaking news on the launch date for NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. We talk about the activities on the International Space Station, where NASA Astronauts Chris Cassidy performed a 6-hour 7-minute spacewalk to replace a set of lithium-ion batteries on the facility’s S6 truss. Completing this work will leave the ISS in an exemplary power configuration for the remainder of its operational life. 

Attention turns to a Pre-spacewalk briefing NASA’s Kenny Todd, and Steve Stich had good words on how well the SpaceX Crew Dragon is performing for its first-time on-orbit and information on when perhaps the Crew-1 mission could fly. Also included was a status on where Boeing was with remediation work on the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. 

There was an abrupt “changing of the guard” at NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations office. Kathy Lueders, the Director of the Commercial Crew Program, was promoted to Associate Administrator for the Human Operations and Exploration Directorate replacing Douglas Loverro. He resigned under a ‘dark cloud’ for what he called ‘a mistake’ in his final letter to the HEO organization. That “mistake” is now under the microscope of the NASA Inspector General’s office. 

 

The NASA Headquarters Building in Washington DC has a new name; we tell you who it is and why that honor was bestowed, plus give you a little hint about another historical figure of note we’re going to discuss on a future show. 

Our grand ‘pundit of podcasts’, Mark Ratterman has a NASA Podcast that you may wish to add to your diet of space news and information: NASA Johnson’s “Houston We Have a Podcast.” 

Want all of the Earth Observation satellite data that NASA, Europe and Japan have gathered about how the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted socioeconomic activity all in one place?  There’s now an appfor that! Introduced by all three space agencieson June 24th2020, it aggregates all of the data tracking air and water quality plus agricultural and economic activity all in one place. 

Show recorded 6-28-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

On this special episode of Talking Space, we devote the entire episode to the successful launch of Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.

The crew successfully launched in their Crew Dragon capsule on Demo-2, marking the first time humans have launched from the US since the end of the shuttle program in 2011.

We go through the differences between Space Shuttle and Crew Dragon all the way from the suit-up room to orbit.

We discuss the origins behind the spacecraft's name, Endeavour, along with a stow-away. We also talk about the small, New Jersey group that played a major role in the design of one of the aspects of the capsule.

Then it's a look at their mission so far and what's to come. Plus, we've heard so many people try and take credit for the commercial crew program, so how did we get to Demo-2?

Finally we reflect on the significance of the launch during a time of civil unrest and amidst a pandemic.

Show recorded 6-7-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

With astronauts set to return to space from U.S. soil for the first time in almost nine years, Talking Space is going back through the archives to bring you never-before-heard episodes on what it took to get to the historic Demo-2 launch in May 2020.

For this episode, we go back to January 2020 when SpaceX tested the in-flight abort capabilities of their Crew Dragon capsule. Hear what it sounded like from launch to explosion...to a surprise after the intentional destruction of a Falcon 9 booster.

Here's what it's like to root for a rocket to blow up. 

This episode also includes an EXCLUSIVE sit-down with the Demo-2 crew. Shortly after the abort test, 15 media members sat down and talked with the crew of Demo-2 ahead of their mission. The audio has never been released in its entirety...until now. Hear it inside this episode.

Show recorded 2-21-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

 

With astronauts set to return to space from U.S. soil for the first time in almost nine years, Talking Space is going back through the archives to bring you never-before-heard episodes on what it took to get to the historic Demo-2 launch in May 2020.

For this episode, we go back to March 2019 for the Demo-1 mission. This was the uncrewed version of the Demo-2 mission, instead with a "test dummy" onboard, even if SpaceX doesn't call it that.

Hear the sound of the launch, as well as hear of the significance of this mission from the heads of the Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center.

We'll also hear from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on why more innovation is happening now than during the entire Apollo program.

Show recorded 3-2019

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

In this installment of Talking Space, on the very day fifty years ago we look back at the accomplishment that was the Apollo 12 mission by letting its crew Mission Commander Charles " Pete" Conrad, Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon, and Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean tell their "travelers tales" to us during a post-flight press conference. 

Apollo 12 did a lot more than simply get hit lightning on its way to the Moon, Conrad and Bean brought on board their Lunar Module, Intrepid,  accomplished the first piloted precision landing on the lunar Ocean of Storms region some 500 feet away from where the Surveyor 3 spacecraft had landed some 31 months earlier. A precision landing was key to future exploration of the lunar surface.

The duo of Conrad and Bean performed a geological survey of the landing site, successfully set up the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package or ALSEP, and conducted a full inspection of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft, removing three items from the probe to return to Earth for material study.

Richard Gordon on board the Command Service Module Yankee Clipper was able to locate the landing site from lunar orbit and perform a photographic study of two future landing sites, the Fra Mauro Highlands targeted for Apollo 13 and the Descartes Region which would be the landing site for Apollo 16. 

Join us as we recount the story of Apollo 12 with those who lived it. 

Host: Gene Mikulka 

In this special edition of Talking Space, we look back into the NASA audio archives and discover a hidden gem that might get lost in United States space flight history. 

On November 9, 1967, months after the United States lost three intrepid explorers duing a spacecraft test, The Apollo Progam arose like the mythical phoenix and launched the most powerfull launch vehicle the world had ever seen, the 364-foot tall Apollo Saturn V Rocket. 

Apollo 4 set sail from a brand new port, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center from a brand new launch complex, Launch Complex 39, and with the sucesssfull conclusion of the mission some 8 hours 36 minutes and 59 seconds later, restored confidence in the US Human Spaceflight Program. 

What is to follow is the post flight press conference for Apollo 4. In attendaence were space flight giants, with names like Robert Seamans, George Muller, Kurt Debus, George Low, and Werner von Braun. 

Its a time capsule of sorts, a moment that paved the way for the human exploration of the lunar surface for the first time, but also may give a hint of future events in NASA’s Artemis program. 

Host:

Gene Mikulka 

After examining the current launch log book and going over some significant breaking news with the Mars Exploration Rover Mission and NASA's current lunar aspirations, the team discusses the latest findings from the New Horizons mission. We then celebrate the naming of the European Space Agency's Exomars mission rover.   The ExoMars set for a 2020 launch attempt will be called the Rosalind Franklin after the British chemist who helped discover the true nature of the structure of Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA.  Is the Mars One colonization effort finished after its bankruptcy filing or is it simply attempting to respawn? The team does its best to find out. In the final segment,  Mark Ratterman observes the passing of one of the Apollo Program's unsung heroes and we ask help in seeking out anyone who may have had an impact on Apollo's success to tell their story on the program.  We also mark the untimely passing of space flight historian and good friend, Kate Doolan

In this special edition of Talking Space, we talk to the man who was for many years was the voice of Shuttle Launch Control at the Kennedy Space Center, Mr. Hugh Harris.

Born in December of 1932 he served as an information specialist with the US Army from 1952 until 1954 and graduated from Western Reserve University in Ohio in 1956.  Mr. Harris worked as a reporter for a metropolitan daily newspaper, a magazine writer for Standard Oil,  and a radio personality at WMTR in Morristown, NJ.

 According to his NASA bioHe started his NASA career in 1963 as an information officer at what was then the Lewis Research Center, in Cleveland Ohio ( Now the John H. Glenn Research Center).  He was promoted to Chief Public Affairs Officer in 1968 and was transferred to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in 1975. ten years later he assumed the role of Deputy Director of the KSC Public Affairs Office.

Harris Earned NASA’s Equal Opportunity Medal in 1979 and was awarded Exceptional Service Medals in 1985 and 1988. He’s also earned a Distinguished Service Award. form the SPacecoast Chapter of Federally Employed Women for 1978-79

Harris retired from NASA in April of 1998 but still volunteers on occasion at the Public Affairs Office. He is the author of the e-book: Challenger an American Tragedy where he recounts his observations of that fateful day in January 1986, and the events thereafter.  

In this special edition of Talking Space, we observe the anniversary of Apollo 1 allowing the crew to tell their own story and talk to us through courtesy of the NASA Internet Audio Archive. 

While launch preparations for Apollo 1 were underway, NASA had held a press conference with the prime crew of what was then called Apollo-Saturn 204

Command Pilot: Virgil I. Grissom

Senior Pilot: Edward H. White II

and Pilot: Roger B. Chaffee

The newly announced back-up crew was also in attendance: 

Back-up Command Pilot: Walter M. Schirra,

Back-up Senior Pilot: Donn F. Eisele

Back-up Pilot: R. Walter Cunningham,  

Chief of the US Astronaut Corps Donald K. "Deke" Slayton was also made available to the press for this conference. 

The purpose of the press event was to introduce the new back-up crew for the flight and to highlight training for the upcoming mission of the then new 3 person spacecraft that would be the lynchpin to get the United States to the Moon.  

Rather than recount the doleful events from January 27, 1967, we decided to take a different approach and allow people who may not have been alive or were too young to hear from the astronauts and remember these courageous individuals as they prepared for what was to be the first piloted mission for the Apollo program. 

For More information on Apollo 1, visit the NASA History web site 

Host: Gene Mikulka 

 

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