If it seemed like average people flying into space was something from the future, this episode is proof that the future is now...or is it?

In this episode of Talking Space, we start with the launch of the first all-civilian orbital mission, Inspiration 4. We report what it was like from the grounds of the press site (including some fantastic Falcon 9 launch audio) and the reception it received from the public. However it's not all cheers to a new era of spaceflight as some of our team members and the public say space isn't for everyone just yet. 

We also discuss the upcoming private Axios mission to the International Space Station getting a launch date, and how the launch of a Russian actress is delaying important work to the newly-installed Nauka modules, which has had some issues from the moment it arrived at the station.

We then dive into the delays for the Human Landing System because of a lawsuit. The question remains, even without the lawsuit, is 2024 still viable to land on the moon?

We then also discuss the reorganization of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. It left a lot of questions about what that means for the agency, especially this far along with Artemis, which we hope to answer.

Finally, we've heard about unruly passengers on commercial flights, but our FAA expert Mark Ratterman looks into what might happen if you get an unruly passenger on a spaceflight.

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Dr. Kat Robison

This episode takes us all over the world from the U.S. to Russia, from public to private. It's a global and low earth orbit episode of Talking Space.

Has Russia's Roscosmos become a little more "Space-X" like in their launch coverage to the point where they have started to rival NASA's? The team looks at the possibility.

The orbiting homestead called the International Space Station underwent some renovations, installing a set of a new set of ISS Roll Up Solar Arrays or iROSA's. These not only will this power up the station for the next set of demands the platform will face in the coming years but the roll-up arrays are also a technical demonstration for NASA's upcoming Artemis Lunar Program.  

NASA's Space Launch System core stage is in the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is being stacked for a launch attempt. This is just one more step for the first Artemis mission. The team discusses the SLS as a scientific exploration tool, to allow planetary spacecraft to reach destinations faster, so they can begin data collection and return expeditiously. 

China has launched the first segment of its Tiangong space station and the crew has arrived to live on the platform for 90 days. It shows that China is indeed pursuing its own agenda in space but will it produce the same level of science that the International Space Station has and will it be as friendly to work with?

Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos announced that he is flying on the inaugural "New Shepard" sub-orbital flight for paying clients on 20 July. A few days later Richard Branson then announced that he intended to fly on Virgin Galactic's first commercial sub-orbital mission before Bezos. Does this sub-orbital one-upmanship signal the start of a  new era, opening spaceflight for all, or is it just a case of two large egos? The team looks at the promise that both these spacecraft have as scientific and research platforms.

All this and more on this installment of Talking Space!

 

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Dr. Kat Robison, Gene Mikulka

 

 

 

 

 

 

The era of US crew transitions onboard the International Space Station has resumed with the launch of the Crew 2 mission to the orbiting facility and the return of the Crew 1 astronauts via the Commercial Crew Space X Crew Dragon Capsule. The flight is also is a moment of history in both the United States, Europe, and Japan in their space program as well, and the team brings all into perspective. Also, Sawyer Rosenstein was on hand for the Crew-2 Launch and collected some great sounds of the SpaceX Falcon 9 as it reaches for the Space Station with its multinational crew on board.

 

China places the first segment of its space station to orbit, but it's not without consequences to those back on Earth. The core stage of the Long March 5B booster was not equipped to be disposed of properly while on orbit. We explore some of the implications of this with our own Dr. Kat Robison.

 

A new NASA Administrator has been installed, and it's someone who is no stranger to US space policy and politics. Former Senator Bill Nelson has been sworn in as NASA's 14th Administrator, and the team has no shortage of observations and opinions to share on how the new Administrator's tenure may unfold.

 

The Human Landing System decision was handed down in recent weeks, but the single provider decision is not without controversy. We debate the wisdom of the decision and why the two other providers under consideration have filed protests.

 

To close the show for this week, we make the passing of a true gentleman who has forever made a mark in human space history. NASA Astronaut Michael Collins passed away at the age of 90 after a battle with cancer. The team celebrates his life and his accomplishments.

 

All that and more on this installment of Talking Space.

 

Show recorded: 5-4-2021

 

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Dr. Kat Robison, Gene Mikulka  

 

This episode is full of plenty of rockets and missions going up....and one that went down explosively.

On this episode, we begin with two crew launches. First the Soyuz MS-18 mission and why an American astronaut was added only a few months before launch. Plus a quick look ahead to Crew-2 aboard a Crew Dragon, and a possible new tradition started by the crew.

Next it's on to Mars, where the Ingenuity helicopter is set to take off. This isn't just significant for future Mars exploration. We go into the potential historical impact of a mini helicopter flying on another world.

Then it's onto the nominee for NASA's next administrator, former Senator Bill Nelson (D) Florida. Former administrator Jim Bridenstine thinks it's a good pick, but what does the panel think?

Then it's onto SpaceX. First, the farewell to Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief, the fairing recovery ships. What does this mean for reusability.

Last but no least, it's all about SN-11, the Starship test flight from Boca Chica (or Starbase depending on your preference) Texas. The mission went up under heavy fog before exploding before landing. What does this mean for the program? Can you still get enough data from just telemetry as opposed to visuals? What led to the decision to fly on that day and how is the FAA somehow involved? Also, is SpaceX learning from these test flights or is it just for show? We look at all these questions and more.

Show recorded 4-7-2021

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman,

 

One week, three crafts, one planet. On this first episode of Season 13 we're aiming for Mars.

We discuss three successful missions arriving at the red planet within one week of each other, the "Hope" mission from the United Arab Emirates, China's Tianwen-1 Mission, and the most discussed mission of the three, NASA's Perseverance Rover. We go into all of the amazing firsts so far, and what the mission should accomplish during its time on the red planet. Also, find out why Mark doesn't like calling the rover "Percy".

Next, we discuss the future for RocketLab, including their CEO literally eating their hat as they announce the design of a new rocket.

Finally we discuss the Inspiration 4 mission, which will send ordinary people to space along with helping a good cause...but is it really giving anybody a chance to go, or is it favoring certain people more than others?

Show recorded 3-1-2021

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Dr. Kat Robison

 

Better late than never, so here's an episode full of launch and landing audio!

We begin with the launches Talking Space was fortunate to be at, including the first launch of the upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon, the much delayed Delta IV Heavy carrying NROL-44, and a launch and Return to Launch Site (RTLS) landing of a Falcon 9 booster from NROL-108.

We also discuss the recent launch and landing attempt for SpaceX's Starhopper SN-8 mission, and why ending in an explosion isn't necessarily a bad thing. They're not the only ones doing tests. Virgin Galactic is as well, and we've got the latest on their tests to get back into flight.

Finally we take a look at the NASA Authorization Bill, which looks at where the money will go for NASA's budget...and it definitely leaves a little to be desired...or does it? Listen to find out all the details.

Show recorded 12-4-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

 

From the Earth to the Space Station to the Moon, Talking Space is proud to be a part of history!

On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of the Crew-1 mission, sending four astronauts to the International Space Station.

We discuss all of the major historical achievements made during this mission. We also discuss what the atmosphere is like at the press site for a crew launch, in particular during a pandemic, and if the fan fare and unique feeling of a crew launch still exist.

We also end up discussion fashion and whether the public was really interested in this launch.

Next we discuss Rocket Lab's foray into reusability, and discuss the one thing we wish we knew to determine if reusability, especially from a company like SpaceX, is feasible.

We also discuss China's successful landing on the moon and the scientific and cultural significance of this mission.

Finally we say farewell to the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which has collapsed since this was recorded. We look into the main factors that led to the crash, since we believe it wasn't just storms or wear-and-tear behind the damage.

Show recorded 11-25-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

On this episode of Talking Space, we go from the high-highs of space exploration to the low-lows of launch scrubs.

We begin with the announcement of water being found on the light side of the moon. We talk about the unique way it was actually discovered...and what we need to know before we can mine it and use it during future missions.

Then it's onto the continuing story of OSIRIS-REx, which successfully captured its sample from asteroid Bennu. We'll look at the unexpected issue it encountered and why every sample won't be studied when it returns to earth.

Then it's a review of "Scrubtember" and "Scrubtober" which saw an entire month without a U.S. launch, and Talking Space was there for many of them. Hear what it's like to scrub with an engine fire...then scrub again...then scrub another time as the press grows anxious and frustrated, and what it took to finally break the bad luck streak.

Next new crewmembers are now aboard the ISS, including the historic way they got to the station...and why the next crew will also make history.

After that, do you know how many different groups or organizations need to get clearance before a rocket can launch from the U.S.? Mark Ratterman takes us inside licensing for rocket launches and landings.

Finally, we go in-depth into the Artemis Accords, the follow-up to the Outer Space Treaty, and the one article in particular that could cause problems as private companies begin mining the moon, Mars, and asteroids.

 

Show recorded10-27-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

 

On this episode of Talking Space, we tackle two major stories, the launch of Mars 2020 and the landing of Crew Dragon Endeavour.

We start with the launch of the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter. We look at some of the unique items onboard, as well as listen to the launch audio we recorded from a few miles away. In addition to the mission, we talk about what it's like to cover a launch during a pandemic (with special thanks to the 45th Space Wing) and how a Mars spacecraft sterilizer is helping in the fight against COVID-19.

Then it's onto SpaceX and the successful return of the Crew Dragon capsule from the ISS. We look at the successes and some of the items they found need to be improved, including stray boats and possibly toxic hypergolic fuels.

Finally, we debate a tweet by President Donald Trump about the state of NASA. Mark and Gene get into an interesting debate over the state of the space program and who we can thank for where we are today.

Show recorded 8-10-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

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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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