Archive for the 'Robotics' Category

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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On this episode of Talking Space, we look at the duration records set by the recently-returned Expedition 43 crew, and a close look at why they were up there for so long (hint: the 2011 Soyuz age of reliability statement and a failed Progress launch come into play). Next we take a look at the mostly successful LDSD test and how a balloon can help us on Mars. Then it's onto a look at two recent satellite launches and their importance, LightSail and DSCOVR. We also discuss the Boeing CST-100 contract awarded by NASA and what that means for SpaceX, and we also look at SpaceX's pad abort test. Then it's on to everybody's favorite topic: the NASA budget, and what's being cut or funded this year. We finish off as always with our spinoff of the week, and this time it's Robonaut2 and what it's doing for robotics back on Earth with a company called Universal Robotics.

Show recorded: 5/21/2015

Host This Week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass

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On this episode of Talking Space, the team discusses the International Space Station One Year Mission. We also mention that the New Horizons spacecraft is just a little over 90 days away from its destination: Pluto. We then look at the ramifications of an article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle making an assertion that NASA is looking at leveraging the Moon as a true stepping stone to Mars. We also cite The Examiner's Mark Whittington, and a rebuttal to Mr. Berger's piece by Marcia Smith at SpacePolicyOnline . Mr. Berger stood by his piece in a later blog post. NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said during a public panel aired on NASA TV, “I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade." We discuss what that really means for us and how some main stream media outlets have reported on this story. Mark Ratterman wraps up his involvement with the First Robotics Competition  and what do the Mars Exploration Rovers have in common with Major League Baseball? We'll tell you in this week's NASA Spinoff Segment. 

The outro song is "Familiar Frontier " by Craft Lass. It is used with her permission. To purchase the file, visit https://craftlass.bandcamp.com/track/familiar-frontier. The song is also available on iTunes and Google Play.
Show recorded: 4/9/2015

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass 


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On this episode of Talking Space, we begin our two part discussion of a recent trip to Pasadena, California for SpaceFest VI. The event features astronauts, artists, and other vendors and speakers as a way to talk about current topics in the space community and meet some of the people who made the past possible. During this part, we talk about the events leading up to the event including a tour of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a visit to Endeavour at the California Science Center. We then begin talking about the opening event with the Apollo astronaut panel. Afterwards, we talk about what was on the floor of the event, and a special birthday celebration for an astronaut.

Tune in to Part 2 to hear about the panels and discussions as well as a look at another Californai conference that happened around the same time.

Images were inserted here. To view them visit http://talkingspaceonline.com

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka

Show recorded 06/06/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, we talk with the Executive Director and co-founder of Explore Mars, Chris Carberry. In the interview, we discuss what Explore Mars is all about, and as you can guess, it has a lot to do with Mars. We begin with discussing the upcoming "Humans 2 Mars", or H2M conference coming up in Washington D.C. from April 22nd to the 24th. We then go into his thoughts on manned vs. robotic, the best way to get to Mars, and jumping off points such as the moon and the ISS. We also go into some of the STEM programs that they are participating in, and look at the future of Mars exploration.

For more on Explore Mars, visit their website http://exploremars.org/.

For more on the H2M conference, visit http://h2m2014.exploremars.org/

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gina Herlihy, Mark Ratterman and special guest Chris Carberry from Explore Mars.

Show Recorded 4/7/2014

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Robots, Wheels and Wings literally covers these three topics with a couple of interviews and our comments. First we cover F.I.R.S.T. as in For Inspiration And Recognition Of Science And Technology http://www.usfirst.org/ Mark went to the March 15, 2014 Orlando, FL Regional FRC Robotics Competition. Along with seeing some real #omgrobots he interviewed former FIRST Regional Chairman and former NASA KSC Media Operations Group Manager Laurel Lichtenberger (who is also a SpaceFlightInsider.com Team Member). They talked about the incredible way FIRST and High School students come together redefining what team work is all about. For a video insight into the excitement that’s FIRST check out this 2014 NY Tech Valley Regional Highlight Video http://youtu.be/_ORIt5PC8uc Next up the unique testing of one fast set of wheels at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility with the Hennessy Venom GT http://www.venomgt.com/ We think you’ll agree that 270.49 mph is impressive.

We wind up this episode talking about wings thanks to our interview with John Godfrey, Owner of The Shuttle Landing Experience in Titusville, FL http://theshuttlelandingexperience.com/index.html John flies guests on any and all of three levels of tours seeing the Shuttle Landing Facility from the air like our Space Shuttle crews did time after time on their landings at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility. Hear about the Level 1, 2 and 3 Flights you can take when you’re visiting the Central Florida area.

Host this week Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Mark Ratterman
Special Guests: Laurel Lichtenberger  from our partner The Spaceflight Group http://spaceflightinsider.com/ and John Godfrey from The Shuttle Landing Experience http://theshuttlelandingexperience.com/index.html

Show Recorded 03/23/2014

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On this episode of Talking Space, the ship runs a little light, as Gene and Sawyer start with the wake-up of Rosetta after 31 months of hibernation, and we talk about the ambitious goals this mission has set. We then talk about the newest approved NASA budget and is it really a "hip hip hooray" like some are saying? We then start round two with a look at ESA's service module for Orion and rumors of a possible delay. We give the facts and weigh in our thoughts. We finish off with an interesting topic and one almost certain to cause debate: Should NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have been renamed after Neil Armstrong, and should any others be renamed. We finish off with a special segment from Mark who interviewed ULA TDRS-L Mission Integrator Bryan Bauerlin.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Gene Mikulka with Mark Ratterman and his guest ULA TDRS-L Mission Integrator Bryan Bauerlin 

Show Recorded 1/20/2014


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On this episode of Talking Space, we take an in-depth look at the issue with the coolant pump aboard the International Space Station, the first spacewalk to repair it, and its affect on the Orbital Science launch that was scheduled for earlier this month. We then talk about ESA's Gaia spacecraft, which plans to create an in-depth map of our Milky Way galaxy. We then talk about China's successful landing of its rover on the moon, about a publicity snafu, and how it has connections going all the way back to Apollo 11 in 1969. Lastly, we address a disgruntled listener letter which is in favor of cutting planetary science, and we give our reasons why we think NASA and planetary science should still be, and is, alive and kicking.

To read the congressman's letter to the President, visit http://bit.ly/1edPFGd

To read Wayne Hale's "It's Our Choice, Really" visit http://ephemeris.sjaa.net/0909/b.html

This is the last news show for Season 5! Don't miss a special look back at 5 seasons of Talking Space and space news on Tuesday, December 31, followed by a very special Apollo-related episode to kick off Season 6.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 12/23/2013

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We're not foolin' on this April Fools Day episode, recorded April 1st. We discuss some ISS news, with the new members of the Expedition 35 crew arriving to the station in under six hours, and our thoughts on whether it's a good idea or not. We then discuss a cool experiment onboard the station called ISERV. On our second trip around the table, we discuss SpaceX's CRS-2 mission coming to an end and some interesting things Elon Musk said on a teleconference. Also, we check in on the other member of the COTS program, Orbital. We then talk about a special anniversary for SpaceX. On our final trip around the table, we discuss a NASA PSA that is being petitioned to be shown before the new Star Trek movie, and why some of us think that might actually be a bad idea. We then talk about an engine test by XCOR which could affect a couple of different other companies. Lastly, we can't pass up a good joke, and the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) came through with Moon or Frying Pan.

For more on SERVIR and ISERV, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/servir/iserv_130325.html.

To view the SpaceX "First 11 Years" video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujX6CuRELFE&feature=youtu.be

Lastly, for a good laugh, can you differentiate between a moon or frying pan? Find out at http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?t=30890

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 04/01/2013

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