Archive for the 'Orbital ATK' Category

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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Hear the launch and landing of a Falcon 9, the inspiring story of two grieving parents, and the head of the ISS program, all in one jam-packed episode! On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss two recent launches. First we discuss the TDRS-M launch which took off on an Atlas 5. This was the first Atlas 5 launch in almost 4 months for United Launch Alliance, but theirr winning streak still continues. We also briefly mention a recent spacewalk conducted by the Russians, which had an impact on the next mission we discussed, the CRS-12 launch which brought supplies and lots of science to the ISS.

Our own Sawyer Rosenstein was at the launch. Hear the launch audio and then brace yourself for the startling sonic booms and engine roar of the first stage landing back. You'll get to hear from a group of boy scouts and what role they had on this ISS resupply mission. Next, one of the best stories to come out of this launch is one you've probably never heard. Hear from Jimmy and Lorna Hering, who aren't just the mayor of McGregor, Texas and his wife. They lost their son Rhett at 15 years old in a tragic accident. The community around them decided to get together to celebrate the life of a boy they called selfess and caring in what is being called the #RhettRevolution. Help spread the revolution by visiting their website at http://rhettrevolution.org.

We at Talking Space would also like to do something special for the family. They hoped the revolution would spread worldwide, and we'd like to help. Perform an act of kindness and share it with us on social media using the hashtag #RhettRevolution and tag Talking Space. If you don't have social media, use the contact form on our website or email us mailbag@talkingspaceonline.com and mention where you're from.

Lastly, we have an exclusive post-ISSRDC interview with the head of the International Space Station Program and NASA, Kirk Shireman. Hear about some problems with station you'd likely forget about, and how the station is getting better as it gets older.

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

Show recorded 8-18-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, and Kat Robison

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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 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 season launches with, well, a look at a few launches. First up is OA-7, the second launch of a commercial cargo flight featuring Orbital ATK’s Cygnus atop a ULA Atlas V rocket. The International Space Station is living up to the last word in the name with the departure and  arrival of new crews as well, including the launch of a Soyuz carrying 2 NASA astronauts, first-timer Jack Fisher and storied veteran Peggy Whitson. For the latter, this trip will result in yet another few barriers broken for women and all humans alike as she settles in for a long stay in orbit. Just because this is his first trip to space, though, doesn’t mean Jack Fischer doesn’t have plenty to say already, and we bring you part of an exclusive unaired interview with him in celebration of his first trip to the laboratory. On the other side of Russian rocketry, reports indicate that there are issues with not just a few Proton engines but all of them. What implications could this have, not only for future Proton flights but for Russian aerospace as a whole? Meanwhile, while we’ve been on hiatus, SpaceX has managed to get one step closer to their vision of reusability by carrying the CRS-9 cargo towards the ISS by successfully relaunching a booster that had already been to the station.

From new beginnings we move to a spectacular mission that will be coming to a close soon with the latest findings about Enceladus from Cassini. The liquid plumes escaping through the moon’s icy shell have now been shown to contain molecular hydrogen (H2), generating increased questions about the possibility of organic matter in the hidden oceans. Meanwhile, similar plumes have been spotted on Europa using data from the Hubble Space Telescope which, while not yet able to be analyzed for chemical content, makes us wonder all the more if we just might not be truly alone even in our solar system, even if our only non-terrestrial neighbors would be microorganisms. Continuing with the search for potential habitability outside Earth, we begin our dive into this year’s Northeast Astronomy Forum with the search for exoplanets in the “Goldilocks” zone and the work of MIT planetary scientist and astrophysicist Sara Seager, her team, and the citizen scientists of planethunters.org. Planet hunting is hardly the only way amateur enthusiasts can contribute, though, and astrophotography is not only an area where amateurs can contribute significantly to scientific knowledge but can even make you a different sort of professional. Robert Reeves is just a guy with a camera who fell in love with imaging the moon decades ago and is now known as one of its best portrait-takers. We share a few of his tips and tricks and encourage you to take a look around the internet for his images. While we ramp up to this year’s main astronomical event for America, the total solar eclipse in August, our friend Alex Shimp brings us more about the talk by Joe Rao, FiOS1 meteorologist, on his experiences with eclipses. Swinging back around to launches, we finish up NEAF by discussing the latest news from United Launch Alliance about their commercial crew plans and the designs they are currently working with for these new systems. Finally, we check in with our own Mark Ratterman on what it’s like to volunteer with a FIRST Robotics team on their way to the championships to bring this super-sized season premiere to a feel-good close.

Show recorded 4-15-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Alex Shimp, and Kassy Tamanini

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This week we’re (mostly) back to our regular programming, kicking off with two of our favorite subjects – the launches and landings of International Space Station crews, and it’s a busy season of shift changes via Kazakhstan. Since our last regular episode, we saw the conclusions of Expeditions 48 and 49 with some beautiful landings and the beginning of Expedition 50, with an additional 3 crewmembers scheduled to launch next week. Peggy Whitson, legendary astronaut, commander, and current holder of the record for spaceflight time for women, will not only add another long-duration mission to her impressive list of accomplishments, but will resume command for Expedition 51.

In other launch news, China’s Long March 5 joined the list of successfully-launched heavy lift vehicles last week while Worldview 4’s Atlas 5 launch issues spread across the country to affect GOES-R. It’s not all bad news for United Launch Alliance and their workhorse rocket, though, as Orbital ATK announced they will use it to launch another Cygnus on an ISS cargo mission. This time, rather than using it as a backup, it is for the additional rocket power enabling Orbital ATK pack a bit more cargo into Cygnus. Meanwhile, their competition, SpaceX, is narrowing down their investigation of the anomaly that took out the AMOS-6 mission, and is still planning to return to flight this year.

Moving from launches to space itself, we turn to NASA Goddard for some celebration and investigation. The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) set yet another world record, this time for using GPS at the highest altitude. We also had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Noah Petro, also at NASA Goddard, about his background in lunar geology and the upcoming supermoon. Be sure to check out this cool visual! Finally, we close out this episode with a discussion of the successful failure of the ESA’s Schiaparelli lander.

Show recorded 11-07-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini

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We begin this episode with an ending, as Rosetta joined its companion, Philae, on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on September 30, with confirmation arriving at mission control in Darmstadt at 11:19 UTC. This is hardly a time for mourning, but rather the celebration of an ambitious mission accomplished and still more data to learn from. While we await those studies we invite you to check out the latest installment of Rosetta’s cartoon and the short film Ambition.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Orbital ATK was preparing to return the Antares to flight. Carrying their Cygnus cargo ship full of supplies headed to the International Space Station, this launch has been plagued by storms in the Atlantic and other delays, and our own Gene Mikulka headed down early to keep an eye on the process and discusses what this launch means for the launch facility, the area around it, as well as for Orbital ATK and NASA.

Speaking of recovering from mishaps, this brings us down to the Kennedy Space Center and the investigation of what happened with SpaceX’ AMOS-6. Was it the second stage helium tank… or could it have been sabotage? The Washington Post reports that an official from SpaceX wanted to investigate the roof of a United Launch Alliance building known as the SMARF. We discuss the rumors, innuendo, known facts, and when there might be some concrete answers that will allow SpaceX to prepare for future launches safely. Looking further ahead, how will this incident affect the larger space industry?

Looking still further ahead, we begin our coverage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress with a breakdown of Elon Musk’s presentation, Making Humans an Interplanetary Species with insights from in the room by Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini. Is Musk’s plan to not only have SpaceX be the first to land on Mars but to move 100 people at a time to the red planet realistic? From the details he revealed (and didn’t) to the way the event was managed, we’ve got plenty to comment on.

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

Show recorded 10-10-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini

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On our own return to flight episode, we discuss several upcoming events ; NASA’s Osiris Rex, a sample return mission to the asteroid Bennu is scheduled for launch on 8 September 2016. The team looks at the mission objectives and the unique configuration of the United Launch Alliance (ULA)  AtlasV carrying the spacecraft. SpaceX too is making news with two upcoming commercial launches out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OrbitalATK is also returning it’s Antares booster to flight next month launching the Cygnus cargo craft from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA Wallops.  We also explore a SpaceNews piece indicating that the USAF awarded two National Reconnaissance Office Launch Contracts for the DeltaIV rocket in 2020 and 2023 with SpaceX mysteriously not even filing a protest.

The NASA Advisory Council met during the final week of July and issued a warning concerning the Commercial Crew Program and the dangers of the program falling behind schedule. It may impact US ISS crew access. We also explore completely the recent Government Accounting Office Report on NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion Exploration Vehicle, criticizing budget estimates and schedule.

Don’t forget about the Upcoming Pleiades Meteor Shower, peaking on August 11th and 12th If you are inclined, take a look at a Kickstarter project  to help restore the observatory at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona  where Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto.

Show Recorded 08-08-2016

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panel Members: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman
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A new episode and a new crew make their way to the international space station, we highlight the members of Expedition 47 and Astronaut Jeff Williams who will assume command of the station under Expedition 48, and break the US endurance record for time in space during this increment. Only weeks after they have wrapped up the OA4 mission, OrbitalATK is is poised to launch the Cygnus cargo craft the SS Rick Husband  to the ISS. We profile one of its experiments the Spacecraft Fire Experiment or SAFFIRE which will study how fires develop and spread in a confined space.

Could the US establish its own lunar base by 2022? NASA Ames Astrobiologist Chris McKay seems to think so, and do it for $10 Billion, about the price of a US Aircraft Carrier. The base according to Dr. McKay’s would be established under the McMurdo Antarctic base model, and could be set up rather quickly. Dr. McKay’s paper was first published in the New Space Journal and in light of ESA’s Lunar Village concept we discuss the merits of both ESA’s and Dr. McKay’s vision.

Host: Gene Mikulka
Panel Members: Kat Robison & Kassy Tamanini

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This week we take a journey from the halls of Congress out through our solar system, and then journey out to a point 1.3 billion light years away from home. On February3rd, the Space Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology met to discuss the current status of NASA’s Journey to Mars, and how it may survive past the current presidential administration. We examine the winners and losers in the 2017 NASA budget proposal. NASA announces the Exploration Mission 1 Launch Director and we discuss the Cygnus OA-6 Mission launch delay.

The Year In Space increment on board the International Space Station is coming into the home stretch, while back on Earth, the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is completed.

European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission continues, but without the Philae lander that made landfall on Comet 67P in November. There has been no response from Philae since July and ESA has announced they will stop trying to contact the spacecraft. We discuss some of the highlights and lessons learned from this milestone mission.  NASA releases  a terrain map of Pluto’s ‘heart’ region, based on New Horizon’s spacecraft data , revealing a few big surprises.

The final story: the discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of two massive black holes. These waves reached our own planet this past September and were detected by the freshly-upgraded advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), providing the first proof of parts of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. What does this mean and why is it so exciting? We break it down for you

The LIGO comic by Talcott Starr discussed in the episode can be found here and make sure to give it a like if you enjoy it.

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Kat Robison and Kassy Tamanini



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