Archive for the 'Orion' 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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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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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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Falcon Heavy gets a launch date for very soon, and SLS gets an even further away launch date, along with more in this jam packed Talking Space! On this episode we have a busy launch round-up featuring the Vega rocket, SpaceX, a new Minotaur-C, China bouncing back from failure, and more. We also have the upcoming penultimate flight of the Delta II, a classified SpaceX payload, a first launch from SLC-40 since the AMOS-6 failure last year, and AMOS returning back to SpaceX with a new satellite. We discuss all of this, along with the newly announced launch date for the long-anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from LC-39A. However, they also had a bit of a setback with a Merlin engine exploding on the test stand in McGregor, Texas. 

We then go into the first hearing for NASA administrator candidate Jim Bridenstine and some of the bizarre questions asked of the controversial candidate. We then go into NASA pushing the launch of SLS most likely to mid-2020, and a report by the NASA OIG on how even that might be unreasonable. Then it's onto names on Mars and a KBO that needs a name. We also must sadly mention the passing of Gemini XI and Apollo XII veteran Richard "Dick" Gordon at age 88. We reminisce on our memories of one of the last of his kind.

Show recorded 11-8-2017

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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On this episode of Talking Space, we recap a busy time for SpaceX, who completed their 3rd launch in less than 2 weeks with the launch of Intelsat 35e. In that time came the return of a SpaceX Dragon capsule from the ISS full of science. We then discuss the crew of the next Soyuz mission to the ISS passing their certification ahead of a launch at the end of the month. We also discuss a veteran astronaut, Julie Payette, who now has a new role in the Canadian government. We also go back to China where they recently encountered their 2nd failure in 3 launches, and this rocket was extra important, as you'll hear.

We then take a deep look at the revivial of the National Space Council and discuss what we think can be done and how to avoid errors made in previous iterations of the council. We then talk about the chairman of the council, Vice President Mike Pence, and his recent trip to the Kennedy Space Center, which was surprisingly more than just pomp and circumstance. We then stick with policy and look at a potential 6th branch of the US military involving space.

Lastly we look at plantary science and stunning images from NASA's Juno spacecraft around Jupiter and a look at an upcoming mission to Mercury called BepiColombo.

To view the images taken from Juno, visit http://missionjuno.swri.edu

Show recorded 7-12-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman

 

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On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss how SpaceX's Falcon 9 delivers again sending the Inmarsat 5-4F Communications satellite into its proper orbit. The company also tested the core stage of its Falcon Heavy booster slated for a hopeful debut this year. A SpaceX employee was also in the news with some interesting words for the competition and what may have been a  mild rebuke of NASA Space Launch System. We report on NASA's 200th Spacewalk in support of ISS operations and in particular an enthusiastic NASA astronaut in Jack Fischer 

Vector Space Systems Conducted a successful test flight of its Vector-R booster capeable of carrying 50 Kg (110lbs) to low Earth orbit and set to take on CubeSat and microsat market. We examine the implications. During a May 12 press conference, NASA's Human Spaceflight Office announced the results of a study requested by the Trump NASA Landing Team, answering the question could the first mission for the Space Launch System carry humans? We discuss the press conference conducted by Robert Lightfoot, Interim NASA Administrator and William Gerstenmaier NASA Associate Administrator for Human Spaceflight answering the question will Exploration Mission 1 be piloted. We give you the answer and analysis of why the decision was made.

Show recorded 5-15-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, 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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