Archive for the 'Aviation History' Category

On this extra packed episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the classified NROL-76 satellite. We also address a tweet sent to us regarding our view on SpaceX, a comment we get quite often and wanted to address. We also discuss the arrival of the Cygnus resupply vehicle to the International Space Station, and the return of a 4K camera from the station. This reportedly allowed more detailed science documentation, but our opinion of 4K, including the first live 4K broadcast from space? You'll have to listen. 

We then address some shake-ups happening at Roscosmos, and why one of the most decorated cosmonauts is choosing to leave. We then discuss the first of 22 dives taken by Cassini into the space between the rings of Saturn and what we're hoping to get as it nears its "Grand Finale". Of course, we had to discuss the announcement that the launch of NASA's SLS is now set for 2019, coming shortly after a report from the GAO stating that 2018 was highly unlikely. It's not just the rockets that are facing issues, but so are the aging spacesuits used by NASA.

Finally, we discuss Mark's time at the FIRST Robotics Championships in Houston, Texas. Mark discusses the tech inn, the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters. You'll also hear from Cathy Olkin, the Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Deputy Principal Investigator for NASA’s Lucy mission to study Trojan asteroids

For more information on FIRST, visit https://www.firstinspires.org/

To view the video Mark referenced in the episode, visit https://youtu.be/ZU3hHHFJT_k

To see Mark's "Get Smart" team at the competition, visit https://twitter.com/MaureenWilt/status/855618901685698560

Show recorded 4-29-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

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This episode takes off with the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the second pair of satellites for the U.S. Air Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). Looking ahead to the company’s next launch for the NASA mission OSIRIS-REX and even further to the test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, we also discuss their not-quite-as-high-tech but welcome efforts to upgrade the company’s launch stream for the public. Continuing with the return of crewed spaceflight to American shores, we take a look at the results of the RS-25 engine firing test for NASA’s Space Launch System and upcoming tests for the program intended to take us to Mars. SpaceX’ launch of the JCSAT satellites rounds out a very busy August for the space industry before the month has even concluded.

At the other end of the launch process, spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed the first International Docking Adapter on the ISS to enable docking of a variety of spacecraft, including the upcoming commercial crew vehicles.

As commercial access to the ISS increases there is an idea of extending the life of the station by selling it off when the space agencies involved end their cooperative agreements to keep the orbiting lab afloat. Is this feasible? Are there other options for using the station beyond the current plans and what would it take to make them happen? What is the future of not just the ISS but laboratories in orbit?

In the even nearer future, Russia has announced their plans to reduce the amount of cosmonauts on station just after news broke of plans to invest in researching a trip to the moon. Again, is this feasible? We discuss the relationship between dreaming and pragmatism when it comes to space exploration, particularly in the two premier spacefaring nations.

After all this speculation on the future of space exploration, we take a look back at the days when America was dreaming and preparing for all of this with the X-15. Mark brings our attention to the White Eagle Aerospace blog with just a little sample of the fascinating histories they are preserving over there. We highly recommend visiting the site, with a warning that you might not be able to pull yourself away for a few hours.

Show Recorded 08-22-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, and Kassy Tamanini
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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 a sobering edition of Talking Space, the team gathers to discuss the loss of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two on 31 October, 2014 over the skies of the Mojave Desertin California. The ill fated test flight of the VSS Enterprise left the pilot, Peter Siebold,hospitalized and sadly took the life of  it's co-pilot Michael Alsbury. The acting administrator of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)Christopher A. Hart released some intriguing information during a late night 2 November Press conference that may be the first piece of the puzzle in determining the cause of the accident. Mark Ratterman offers additional insight into how the NTSB painstakingly conducts an accident investigation. 

The team then focuses back to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and discusses the information released by Orbital Sciences CEO David Thompson during an investor call on 29 October  concerning the failure of the Antares launch vehicle and the loss of the ORB3 Cargo Mission to the International Space Station. The ORB3 Cargo mission was launched on 28 October and disappeared  into a fireball over the skies of Virginia's Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport. The Cygnus cargo ship, Donald K Slayton, was to have docked with the orbiting platform on 2 November. The team discusses was known about the accident on the record date.   

Scaled Composites has set up an on line fund to help the family of Michael Alsbury, the pilot lost in the SpaceShipTwo accident. If you wish to contribute visit the GoFundMe site at this link

Show recorded 11/3/2014

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn "Kat" 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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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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On this episode of Talking Space, we close out 2013 and Season 5 by looking back at some of our favorite moments from our first 5 seasons on the air, both from the show, from personal experience, and from space news in general. Enjoy moments from shuttle launches to exhibit openings to some words from past episodes that have a totally new meaning all these years later. We hope you enjoy listening back to our last 5 seasons as we've had making each and every episode so far.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 12/23/2013

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On this episode we discuss the multiple launch attempts by SpaceX of the SES-8 satellite. Frustration at lack of information provided by SpaceX to the press gets considerable attention from the Talking Space panel. Will it change when crew launches begin? We sure hope so. Did you know Kimbal Musk, brother of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started a blog in November of 2005? It is named “Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets” http://kwajrockets.blogspot.com/2005/11/kwajalein-and-rockets.html - Kimbal Musk also has a twitter account @kimbal though most of his recent tweets are not SpaceX related.

Comet ISON got our attention, now we say goodbye as its first trip around the sun did not end as so many hoped. Sorry but no incredible December holiday views of ISON are expected. Here is a link to the SDO Mission Blog and the post from November 29, 2013 describing the challenge that observing sun grazing comets presents. http://sdoisgo.blogspot.com/2013/11/where-was-comet-ison.html

On December 1, 2013 at 1730 UTC China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched a Long March 3B carrying the Chang’e-3 lander/rover to the moon. It was a welcome surprise to find @CCTVnews (China Central Television) provided live streaming coverage of the launch. They also requested participation from social media! The multiple camera views, commentary and length of coverage from prior to launch to after payload separation were appreciated by spaceflight enthusiasts eager to follow along. The European Space Agency is supporting Chang’e-3 to the moon. See this link to read more http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Helping_China_to_the_Moon

Emily brings us an introduction to her article on SpaceFlight Insider about the 30 years of spaceflight participation by European Space Agency. You’ll appreciate ESA even more for their contributions to manned spaceflight, exploration and certainly the International Space Station. Also we talk about the Spaceflight Insider Team and hear that “we ain’t seen nothing yet” regarding future plans. Here is the link to Emily’s December 1, 2013 ESA article http://spaceflightinsider.com/space-flight-news/european-space-agency-celebrates-30-years-of-manned-spaceflight-looks-toward-the-future/

The Kepler Space Telescope is in the news again. A new plan may allow Kepler to reacquire its pointing ability and continue searching for exoplanets. Some great reading material is available for FREE from NASA. They have ebooks available supporting Kindle and other ebook readers. How about their most recent title"NASA's First A:Aeronautics from 1958-2008" Go to http://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/ to find your next great read.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman. Guest Panelist: Emily Carney from our partner The Spaceflight Group http://spaceflightinsider.com/

Show recorded 12/02/2013

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On this epside of Talking Space, we talk about the "earth-shattering" discovery made by Curiosity that rumors had been circulating around before the announcement. We then talk about Voyager 1 reaching a new part of the solar system. We then discuss an update on Orion, including some cracks and how "made in America" it is. On our second trip around the table, we discuss an interesting discussion on NPR involving Chuck Yeager. We then discuss some big news about Reaction Engines. Then, we discuss a free e-book NASA has made available. On our final trip around the table, we discuss Atlantis being angled in preparation for its display and the crew that will be staying aboard the ISS for 1 full year. Lastly, we then discuss the discovery of water on Mercury and if it really is a big deal or not.

To hear the NPR segment mentioned in the episode, visit http://sciencefriday.com/segment/11/30/2012/scifri-book-club-has-the-right-stuff.html

To download "Earth as Art" the free NASA e-book, visit http://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/earth_art_detail.html

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded - 12/3/2012

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