Archive for the 'Lunar Exploration' Category

August 4th, 2022, was one of the most active launch days in recent memory. The Talking Space Team attempts to check all the boxes bringing a little insight into each one, including some launch audio from the Mighty AtalsV that carried the SIBRSGEO 6 into orbit and the scream of the Falcon 9 as it took South Korea’s KPLO probe to the Moon. 

 We briefly discuss some debris left from a Chinese rocket that showered down on the Philippines and some flotsam from the SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk that impacted an Australian sheep paddock.  

The war in Ukraine has impacted everything for the worse. The repercussions have been felt far and wide, and the space sector has not been immune. The Northrup Grumman Antares 230 launch vehicle is another victim of the war; the fabrication shop for its core stage located in Ukraine was destroyed. With only enough parts to assemble two more rockets, Northrup Grumman has a plan for a domestic version of Antares, which will take an unusual alliance of a bold new corporate venture and an old lion ready to learn new tricks. 

Speaking of Russia, is Roscosmos leaving the International Space Station Partnership like the mainstream media is saying? We provide real context around the story.

Artemis -1, the first launch of a new program to return humans to the Moon, create a sustainable presence there, and move on to Mars, is set for an August 29th launch attempt. We discuss the mission objectives for this first flight, the non-human crew, and the implications for this test flight. 

Dr. Kat Robeson brings a NASA JPL article to our attention concerning the Antarctic Ice Shelf and the loss of mass it may have experienced. We also mention that on the day we recorded ( August 11th ), operational control of the  Landsat 9 Earth Observation Satellite was turned over to the US Geological Survey from NASA. We end the show reminding all that while exploring the heavens is a vital part of space, looking down at our planet is just as critical. 

 

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Dr Kat Robison & Gene Mikulka 

Engineer and Editor: Mark Ratterman 

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On a very SpaceX-centric edition of Talking Space to start 2022, The team looks at the SpaceX Polaris Program that hopes to test elements needed for operating the SpaceX Starship, including the first Extra-Vehicular Activity or Spacewalk for a private space mission.

We take a look at the SpaceX Starship update event held at the SpaceX Boca Chica, Texas, on February 11th, which was heavy on theater but light on news. There are also questions on the future status of the SpaceX Boca Chica location (AKA “Starbase”) due to environmental concerns, and the FAA has pushed back the decision on certifying the location for launching orbital flight missions due to the number of petitions filed. We explore the reasons for the controversy.

There has been a delay in the rollout of the Space Launch System rocket for the Artemis 1 mission, and we explore the reasons for the delay.

We wrap up with some good news on the International Space Station mission receiving an extension into the year 2030 and the progress being made on the commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope.

All this on this first edition of Talking Space for 2022!

Show recorded: 2-14-2022

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

 

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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

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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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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

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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 

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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

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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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The Talking Space Team says hello to 2019 with a wrap up of 2018 launch activities and a very spirited discussion of what the future may bring in the area of commercial space launch here in the US with new major players coming on the field. How will they fair against the international commercial launch services companies long term for new business? 

We’ll travel with New Horizons spacecraft to Ultima Thule and recap the flyby that occurred New Years Day 2019 and update about the mission’s progress. We also fly out to check on the progress of the OSIRIS-REx mission orbiting the Asteroid Bennu, and the Mars Insight mission. 

We then review China’s and humanity’s first landing on the lunar far side and discuss the implications of this historic moment. However, does it mean that China is now the lead in space or is it an exaggeration? Also, we examine how China handled the coverage of the mission thus far. 

All this and more in this first edition of Talking Space for 2019. 

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein, Panel Member Gene Mikulka 

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What would Talking Space sound like if it were able to reach across the gulf of time to 1968 fifty years ago and cover the Apollo 8 mission: humanity’s first piloted spacecraft to successful orbit the Moon and return home to Earth? 

That is what this episode tries to answer bringing to you some of the historic moments from the Apollo 8 mission, the first to carry humans beyond Earth’s gravity well into deep space to explore the Moon with human eyes and close up photography. This installment makes extensive use of NASA's audio archive from that time period, and we thank the space agency for making these moments in history available for use. It also includes the historic Christmas Message that the flight will be long remembered for. This installment is a tribute of sorts to the individuals known and unknown who made the voyage of Apollo 8 possible 50 years ago.

This installment makes extensive use of NASA's audio archive from that time period, and the Apollo 8 press kit itself. We thank the space agency for making this historical material available for use.

This episode is a tribute of sorts to the individuals known and unknown who made the voyage of Apollo 8 possible 50 years ago.

It's also an audio holiday greeting card to you our listeners to say thank you for your continued support of the program during both the good and challenging times. We'll be back in 2018 next time! 

From all of us at Talking Space, Season’s Greetings and hopes for a happy and prosperous New Year. 

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