Archive for the 'Mars Exploration' Category

On this episodes we may be mentioning routine launches but it's anything but routine as we return for a news round-up.

On this episode we begin our launch round-up with some past and present SpaceX launches, including the Telstar-18V launch and the upcoming first RTLS mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. We also check in on our rover friends on Mars, Opportunity and Curiosity. One remains silent while the other deals with a data glitch.

We then move on to the ISS to discuss the recent Japanese cargo vehicle launch, the HTV, aboard an H-IIA rocket. This HTV vehicle, however, has a unique return capability. Hear all about it in the episode. Then, it's what we're calling "hole-gate". A look at the history behind the hole discovered on a Soyuz, how NASA and Russia handled it, and who really could be behind it. We also congratulate Japan on their first successful landing on an asteroid, and why members of the OSIRIS-REx team are watching closely.

Then we get into the big announcement from SpaceX of design changes to the BFR as well as the first private citizen to pay to fly aboard it. Elon Musk is saying 2023 but is that realistic or is it just "Elon Time"? We give our opinions and our thoughts on where the program should go.

Lastly it's a story you'll only hear on Talking Space, about NASA 502. The research plane flying in and out of the airport in Gainesville, Florida, where our own Mark Ratterman works. Find out why a NASA plane from California is in Florida and studying Hurricane Florence and why it has an odd disk underneath it.

For more information on the UAVSAR instrument, visit https://uavsar.jpl.nasa.gov/. 

[An image gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 9-23-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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From launch rates to renamings and of course two major announcements from the red planet, it's another jam-packed Talking Space.

We begin with our launch round-up, including China, Japan, and two manned missions. We discuss the return of Expedition 55 and the launch of Expedition 56 and what will make that mission unique. Then we look at SpaceX's recent launches, including their first ever Block 5 launch and what that means. We also look at their future launch plans including launch sites and a staggering number being put out for a launch rate.

We discuss what's going up on SpaceX's CRS-15 mission including more about our favorite creepy face, as well as the OA-9 launch from Orbital ATK, who is getting a new name. Orbital ATK has been acquired by Northrop Grumman to become Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and what's behind that deal.

Then we travel to Mars, where we look at the Opportunity rover, or try to as its blanketed by a massive dust storm. Is it dead? Not just yet. Hear from some of the scientists working on the MER program and what they're saying about this unprecedented storm. Plus while staying on Mars, did Curiosity find life? Not exactly, but we discuss a major find from the Mars Science Laboratory.

We finish with a congrats to the Juno team and two fond farewells.

Show recorded 6-14-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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What do you get after one month away? A boat load of news and some amazing interviews for our return from spring break.

We begin looking at the launches of the last month from all corners of the globe. We check out many of the major launch providers and their most recent missions. We also discuss the recent improvements in the quality of their webcasts and our thoughts on what that means for outreach.

We also discuss the announcement of two new NASA managers. First, NASA's new head of science and of course, the recently confirmed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. We discuss our opinions so far on both of them and what we hope for the future.

Of course we discuss NASA's next Mars lander which is now on its way, Mars InSight, however we get some "insight" from one of the people who worked on it at this year's Northeast Astronomy Forum, or NEAF.

At NEAF, we also hear from the authors of "Bringing Columbia Home" about the recovery efforts after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Plus we bring you an amazing story of a young girl from Cosovo who's taking the US by storm promoting astronomy outreach.

We also have to give a special shout-out to the ESA team working the Bepi Colombo Twitter account, @ESA_Bepi, on taking our wacky suggestion of needing a cute mascot. Make sure to check it out and tweet them if you love it.

Show recorded 5-2-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Kassy Tamanini

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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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7 years...5 blocks...27 engines...2 booster landings...one spectacular Falcon Heavy launch. All that in this episode of Talking Space.

On this very special episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful demonstration flight of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. The launch took off February 6th, 2018 at 3:45pm ET followed by the two side boosters landing a short time after. The core stage attempted to land on a barge but failed, and we'll explain why. 

Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was there, so be ready to immerse yourself in the sounds of 27 engines firing at once, and be prepared to get startled by six simultaneous sonic booms.

In addition to that, we discuss our thoughts on the payload, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster car with a dummy named "Starman" inside aimed for a mars orbital insertion distance without the insertion. You'll get our honest opinions on why some of us like the payload and others don't. In addition, Sawyer goes into everything that happened from L-1 until after the liftoff. Hear what it's like to go inside the pad, see more media at the press site than in at least 3 years if not more. You'll also hear both the good and bad of how the media was handled.

Lastly, we break down the numbers compared to other launch vehicles and see how powerful Heavy really is, and how those numbers led to a war of words on Twitter amongsome major private space companies.

In the show we discuss the comparison between its announcement and its launch. To hear our initial reactions from 2011 right after it was announced, check out a special blog post with a segment from our very own show back in Season 3 by visiting the blog page on our website or clicking here.

To read the thread between Doug Ellison and Elon Musk on Twitter, click here

For the TechCrunch article on what it was like to be there, check out their site here.

[A photo gallery was inserted here. To view it visit http://talkingspaceonline.com]

Show recorded 2-12-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Kat Robison with special guest Falcon Heavy

 

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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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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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The biggest launch round-up in Talking Space history and one of the biggest talks of the year...all in one show! On this episode, we begin with the launch round-up looking at the upcoming launches of an Atlas V, two Falcon 9s, a Long March, an H-II A, a Soyuz, and a Rockot rocket...all within less than two weeks of each other. We also have the announcement of the new launch date for the next Orbital ATK resupply mission to the ISS that will be once again on an Antares out of Virginia. We then discuss that exact company, Orbital ATK, being acquired by Northrop Grumman and what implications that might have, and what the motive was behind it. Could it have been too much competition? In addition, we discuss the BEAM module and how it may be getting more time in space. We also discuss spacewalks being made to repair some broken parts on the ISS on the same day as the first official meeting of the National Space Council. Although this was recorded before the actual meeting, we still speculate to the NSC's future.

Are NASA and Russia working together on a new lunar orbiting outpost? Well the stories are reporting that about the Deep Space Gateway, but you'll have to listen in to find out why most of the news stories you've probably read got it wrong. It's also with sadness but not much surprise that we announce another delay in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, now slipping to 2019. 

The biggest news has to be out of IAC. Although we will have a full wrap-up in a future episode, we had to discuss Elon Musk's speech. His talk announced the BFR, sometimes called the Big Falcon Rocket, and other people interpret the "F" for a different word. Regardless, this monster is expected to lead to the phase-out of all previous SpaceX rockets. It boasts the ability to send payloads to orbit, people to the ISS, create a moon base, and land cargo on Mars in 5 years with crew in 7. He also mentioned point-to-point travel on Earth using the rocket, getting anywhere in under an hour. How plausible is this? We discuss it and a lot more on this one!

Show recorded 10-4-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

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With the Eastern Range recently quiet, it's about to get busy...and fast! First, we discuss the successful launch of the Soyuz carrying three more crew members to the ISS, bringing the US side up to 4 crew members for the first time ever. We then discuss a crazy range shift as SpaceX's CRS-12 mission and the TDRS-M spacecraft set to launch aboard an Atlas V danced around with their launch days. There's Russian spacewalks and damaged antennas and static discharges to blame, and we'll help try and simplify it. In the end, you get two rockets set to launch in the same week. We also look ahead to the upcoming Falcon Heavy launch, currently slated for November. We then stick with the launch-sanity and the first ever Minotaur launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station scheduled for later this month.

Next, we discuss a scheduling issue that will most likely lead to a delay of the James Webb Space Telescope...again. In addition, we have another telescope, the FAST Telescope in China, that supposedly has nobody to run it. Conflicting reports from news outlets in the US and China indicate that they may be in search of an extremely qualified outsider to run the telescope, although the government says it's been staffed just fine since 2016.

Lastly, we finish with fun stories as NASA responds to a job application from a young nine year old from New Jersey. Also, we give you tips to not fry your eyeballs if you're planning on viewing the solar eclipse in the United States on August 21, and this goes for everyone both inside and outside of totality. For more safety information, visit http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Show recorded 8-7-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

 

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On this very special episode of Talking Space, with a new crew onboard the International Space Station, we go to Washington DC for the 2017 International Space Station Research and Development Conference, or ISSRDC. We learn all about the science happening on station, the future of the ISS, a look at the commercial partners, and some other topics you might not know had to do with ISS. We begin by talking with NASA astronaut and molecular biologist Dr. Kate Rubins about her time on station and her groundbreaking research on decoding genes in space. We also talk with the Principal Investigator for that project, Dr. Sarah Wallace, on what being able to work with DNA in space means for future space flight as well as right back here on Earth. Next, we listen in as students got to talk live with astronaut Jack Fischer onboard the ISS through ham radio and ARISS. Next, after our discussion last week about the merits of the National Space Council returning, we talk with a former member of the council, Courtney Stadd. Finally we take a look at Elon Musk's lunch keynote address and some major announcements regarding Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and future Mars exploration.

An image gallery was inserted here. To view it, visit http://talkingspaceonline.com

Show recorded 7-25-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka with special guest interviews with Dr. Kate Rubins, Dr. Sarah Wallace, Courtney Stadd and quotes from Elon Musk

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