Archive for the 'Aviation History' Category

50 Falcons, falling stations, private ISS, the dreaded NASA budget and a lot of hate mail...all in one episode! 

On this episode of Talking Space, we begin with our launch round-up including GOES-S, the 50th Falcon 9 launch, and the return of three crewmembers from the ISS and the preparations for the next launch later this month. Then it's onto a creepy talking head that'll be soon heading to the ISS, as well as another space station, Tiangong-1, that could fall pretty much anywhere as professionals track it and amateurs buy umbrellas. Next it's the dreaded NASA budget review, including a meeting with NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and congressional budget officials. In this is the discussion of potentially privatizing the ISS, getting NASA out of low earth orbit, and dealing with NASA's "leaning tower of KSC". 

We finish  up with the Areceibo Radio Telescope getting new owners, a chance to get your name on the Parker Solar Probe, and a much-needed clarification segment. In this segment, we discuss and clarify all of our points regarding Falcon Heavy after some heated feedback on our last episode. Also be sure to stay past the outro music for a fun surprise.

To read Kat's published paper, click here.

To get your name on NASA's Parker Solar Probe, click here.

Show recorded 3-7-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kat Robison

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The final part of our exciting two-part special has us sitting in front of an Orion mock-up chatting with astronauts and project leads.

On this episode of Talking Space, we go into Building 9 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. While there we talk with NASA astronaut Steve Bowen in front of a full-scale mock-up of the Orion capsule that astronauts like Steve use to train everyday. We talk about how the astronaut corps has changed since the end of shuttle. Plus, hear how he used the full-scale mock-ups in the building such as the full International Space Station, a space shuttle trainer, and more. 

Next we hear from Jimmy Spivey, the Assistant Director for Orion in the Flight Operations Directorate at Johnson. We get an insight into the progress of the Orion program, how delays from ESA affect the training. We also go into what it takes to train the crew and to coordinate between mutliple NASA centers and countries. We also hear about how Orion and SLS integration is being tested. Most importantly, we hear what he has to say to the nay-sayers who think Orion and SLS will never fly.

We also discuss many of the other cool things in the building, including a full-scale BEAM module, s SARJ, and how Sawyer and Robin entered a fish bowl. All this in the final episode of Season 9. Later this motnh, stay tuned for the debut of Season 10!

Talking Space would like to thanks Brandi Dean and the team at NASA Johnson Space Center's Office of Communications for their assistance with both parts of this special. 

Show recorded 12-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison and special guest spaceflight contributor for WIRED Magazine Robin Seemangal

 

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Ever wondered how commercial crew training happens at NASA's Johnson Space Center? Well our team, with the help of an astronaut, take you to Houston for a better idea.

On this episode of Talking Space, we go to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in the first part of our two-part special. Sawyer along with WIRED Magazine space contributor Robin Seemangal take the trip. In this part, we take you inside the building where astronauts and mission controllers are training on the new commercial crew systems. Go onboard "the bridge" in the middle of a docking simulation. Then, go inside the full scale trainer, hear the thrusters firing, and learn more about the automation involved with new commercial crew vehicles. Veteran NASA astronaut Mike Fincke,who's assisting with commercial crew, helps out along the way, along with some of the trainers themselves.

Next we journey over to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, home to one of the world's largest swimming pools. Inside is a mock-up of the entire ISS...and two astronauts training. Go onto the floor of the pool deck and into the "fish bowl" viewing area above and learn what it's like to be there during astronaut training. Also find out why it's not just the ISS inside the pool.

Next week we release part 2, which goes inside "Building 9", the mock-up facility. Hear about the mock-ups, and learn all about the Orion program training. We'll talk with another astronaut involved in training for the Orion program and to one of the heads of the Orion program itself to learn about training, progress of the vehicle, and what it takes to learn how to fly America's next spacecraft.

Show recorded 12-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison and special guest spaceflight contributor for WIRED Magazine Robin Seemangal

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Our launch roundup turns into a lack-of-launch roundup and we actually break news for the first time in the show's history. All that and more on our penultimate Season 9 show.

We being this episode discussing the indefinite delay of the classified Zuma mission aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. We also discuss CRS-13, the first mission to fly from SLC-40 since a failure last year. That mission, flying a previously-flown booster and capsule, also delayed. To round out the SpaceX pushes, we discuss another delay in Falcon Heavy to sometime in 2018. We also talk about another Russian rocket failure and the dumb reason why it failed, that along with a look at their less than stellar 2017 record.

We then reflect on three years since EFT-1 and reminisce on the day and look towards the future. We then get an update on DreamChaser after their most recent drop test. Lastly, we venture out of the solar system as Voyager 1 tests out one of its systems for the first time in decades.

Show recorded 12-5-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kat Robison

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Talking Space is celebrating its 250th episode and 8 year anniversary speical with astronaut and artist Nicole Stott. We discuss with Nicole her time aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 20 and 21 crews. We discuss her time both working with the Space Shuttle program, as well as flying aboard shuttle and her roles in history with the program. We find out how she became an astronaut, who inspired her, and her words of advice to inspire others, especially girls, to get into STEM careers.

In addition to hearing her amazing stories, we discuss her art, includiing how you paint with watercolors in space. We also discuss her most recent project called the Space Suit Art Project, which allows child cancer patients to put their own art and space suits and flight suits, some of which go into space. Be sure to follow the project on Facebook and Twitter, and also check out this video of astronaut Jack Fisher wearing one of the suits in space.

To learn more about Nicole or to see and purchase her artwork, visit https://www.npsdiscovery.com/

We end with some thank yous as we recognize 8 years and 250 episodes of this show. Thank you to everyone who has ever downloaded this show, however many times you downloaded it. Also a huge thank you to anyone who has ever been on the show or helped make this show possible over our unbelievable tenure. Here's to 250 more!

Show recorded 9-5-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison and special guest astronaut and artist Nicole Stott

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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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