Archive for the 'Robotics' Category

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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On this episode of Talking Space, the main focus is on Mars as three countries send missions to the red planet.

We discuss the United Arab Emirates first mission to the red planet and the implications it has for the country and that part of the world.

We then discuss China's mission which was also launched, their first solo mission to Mars, and discuss where their space program stands right now and if they could become a major player again in space.

Finally NASA is up with their Mars 2020 mission and the Perseverance rover.

We discuss some launch successes and one failure unfortunately for Rocket Labs of their Electron rocket and what it means for their future. We also discuss another delay of the James Webb Space Telescope and what you can do to see Comet NEOWISE before it disappears.

Kat Robison brings us a special piece on a space pioneer you may not have heard of, Ed Dwight. You can read the original article by clicking here.

Finally we remember U.S. Representative John Lewis and his surprising connection to the International Space Station.

 

Show recorded 7-19-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison

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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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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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This episode of Talking Space takes you to all the major launches, some launches which may be facing unexpected delays, and the launch of a kickstarter based on a great book.

We begin with our launch round-up, featuring a record-setting docking to the ISS, two launches in 24 hours in China, as well as the undocking of the final Orbital ATK Cygnus to the ISS...or is it the first Northrop Grumman Cygnus? Plus Rocket Lab is looking for a new launch site. We look at the possible sites and where we think it may go. We then look at the commercial crew program. We hear from NASA side, from those at Boeing and SpaceX, as well as a shocking report from the GAO about when they believe both companies will actually fly.

We then also look at the newest nominee for Deputy Administrator of NASA, along with a performance review so far on new administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Finally we discuss Gen. Chuck Yeager, a look back at his biography and where he's at now, including a kickstarter for a documentary about his historic career and life.

Also be sure to vote for us in the 2018 Podcast Awards! Voting is open until July 31st. https://www.podcastawards.com/ 

To view more info on the GoFundMe, check out https://www.gofundme.com/yeager-file.

To see Gen. Yeager on "What's My Line" check it out on YouTube https://youtu.be/04Tywtn5UJI 

Show recorded 6-15-2018

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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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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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 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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