Archive for the 'Space Debris' Category

On this episode of Talking Space, we go from the high-highs of space exploration to the low-lows of launch scrubs.

We begin with the announcement of water being found on the light side of the moon. We talk about the unique way it was actually discovered...and what we need to know before we can mine it and use it during future missions.

Then it's onto the continuing story of OSIRIS-REx, which successfully captured its sample from asteroid Bennu. We'll look at the unexpected issue it encountered and why every sample won't be studied when it returns to earth.

Then it's a review of "Scrubtember" and "Scrubtober" which saw an entire month without a U.S. launch, and Talking Space was there for many of them. Hear what it's like to scrub with an engine fire...then scrub again...then scrub another time as the press grows anxious and frustrated, and what it took to finally break the bad luck streak.

Next new crewmembers are now aboard the ISS, including the historic way they got to the station...and why the next crew will also make history.

After that, do you know how many different groups or organizations need to get clearance before a rocket can launch from the U.S.? Mark Ratterman takes us inside licensing for rocket launches and landings.

Finally, we go in-depth into the Artemis Accords, the follow-up to the Outer Space Treaty, and the one article in particular that could cause problems as private companies begin mining the moon, Mars, and asteroids.


Show recorded10-27-2020

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison


Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

With Sawyer Rosenstein under the weather, the Talking Space Team is joined by singer song writer and space advocate, CraftLass with Gene Mikulka in the left seat.  We examine NASA’s new Astronaut Class and discuss the media’s reaction. The Wave At Saturn project to coincide with a photo NASA/JPL plans to take of Saturn’s ring with a cameo appearance by our home, Earth in the photo. We then move on to NASA’s Asteroid Initiative Industry and Partner Day, where the space agency asked, Academia, Industry, and anyone to help get humans to an Asteroid by setting up a Request For Information. We discuss an article by Policto article indicating Congress is trying to do away with the Asteroid Mission altogether and put in place a Constellation-Like program, featuring a Lunar and Mars base (with no additional funds to pay for it). and a little bit of a Twitter firestorm that happened when Gene Mikulka posted the article on his Twitter feed. The Houston Chronicle's SciGuy, Eric Berger, posted the results.

Host this week: Gene Mikulka. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman and special guest CraftLass

Show Recorded 06/19/2013

Read Full Post »

On this epside of Talking Space, we talk about the "earth-shattering" discovery made by Curiosity that rumors had been circulating around before the announcement. We then talk about Voyager 1 reaching a new part of the solar system. We then discuss an update on Orion, including some cracks and how "made in America" it is. On our second trip around the table, we discuss an interesting discussion on NPR involving Chuck Yeager. We then discuss some big news about Reaction Engines. Then, we discuss a free e-book NASA has made available. On our final trip around the table, we discuss Atlantis being angled in preparation for its display and the crew that will be staying aboard the ISS for 1 full year. Lastly, we then discuss the discovery of water on Mercury and if it really is a big deal or not.

To hear the NPR segment mentioned in the episode, visit

To download "Earth as Art" the free NASA e-book, visit

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

Show Recorded - 12/3/2012

Read Full Post »

On this episode, we return to our regular news show...except with a new round-table format, where the panelists find stories that are interesting to them and rotate sharing them with the team to discuss. On this episode, we cover the special announcement of SpaceX delaying their February 7th launch to the ISS. We then move on to the big story of the week: the Phobos-Grunt reentry and discuss where it landed and other debris-related stories. We then move on to a girl who snuck into a Russian rocket manufacturing facility. On our second go-around, we discuss Mars Science Laboratory's engine burn, and then stories involving both the blackness of space and the color of our own galaxy. On our third and final go-around, we discuss some information about Orion, satellites aiding in tsunami studies, and a new estimate of planets in our galaxy.

To learn more about space debris, listen to Episode 337

To see the website of the girl who snuck into the rocket facility (in Russian) visit

Also, feel free to let us know your thoughts on the new format by contacting us!

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

Show Recorded - 1/16/2012

Read Full Post »

On this episode of Talking Space, we discuss the successful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory or Curiosity, which our very own Gene Mikulka and Mark Ratterman were in Florida to witness. You will even get to here the actual sound of launch, and an interesting sound it is if you listen closely. We then move on to the next name to leave NASA: Mike Leinbach. We then continue on to some interesting articles posted regarding NASAs budget. We finish off our main topics with the attempts to salvage the Russian mission Phobos-Grunt.

In our Talking Space Mad Minute, we talk about the Twitter account @KillerCuriosity, a new location for a space shuttle simulator, the official hand-over of space shuttle Enterprise's title, ice in Florida, and some interesting facts about Plutonium.

A photo was inserted here. To view it, please visit

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

Show Recorded - 11/28/2011

Read Full Post »

Low Earth orbit is a mess, with flotsam floating around at speeds between 17,000 to 20,000 MPH. These pieces of space debris, some that are relics from the beginning of the space age are numerous. They are various sizes ranging from the very large, (spent boosters and the like) to the to the very small like bolts, washers and various pieces of small hardware. Their presence threatens communications and weather satellites, and yes piloted spacecraft and orbiting manned platforms like the International Space Station.

A report issued last week by the National Research Council indicated that the orbital debris problem may have reached a tipping point where collisions of decommissioned satellites, empty boosters and smaller pieces will continually collied with each other. The result:more debris in low earth orbit causing the problem to get worse. This may prevent future utilization of low earth orbit, and cause a threat to orbiting satellites and yes the International Space Station.

To talk about this problem further and discuss ways to solve this looming crisis, we asked two recent graduates of Singularity University's GSP 2011 class; Major Franz Gayl United States Marine Corps (ret) and the author of the book "It's Only Rocket Science", Doctor Lucy Rogers from the United Kingdom, both already quite accomplished in their respective fields to discuses the issue of space debris. Both had studied the issue of Earth Orbital Debris, and brainstormed ways to attempt to solve the problem while at Singularity university.

You may follow Dr. Lucy Rogers on Twitter. Her Twitter address is @DrLucyRogers


Space Debris Research -

Web site of Dr. Lucy Rogers -

Web Site for "It's Only Rocket Science" -

Singularity University -

Discovery News - "What Can We Do About the Space Junk Problem " by Dr. Lucy Rogers -

Read Full Post »

On this episode of Talking Space, we return from our three week summer break to catch you up on the latest in space news, starting with the successful launch of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, (GRAIL) mission which successfully launched to study the moon and our own Mark Ratterman was there to cover the launch. Mark also gets a special interview with Kim Guodace, a former shuttle vehicle engineer for United Space Alliance. We then move on to the failure of a Progress 44 resupply ship launched aboard a Soyuz and how it may leave the International Space Station unmanned. We move onto the topic of space debris including the UARS satellite scheduled to crash back to Earth at an unknown location. We then discuss some stunning shots of the lunar landing sites taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO. We finish off with pieces of metal on Spirit and Opportunity which were once a part of the World Trade Center towers which were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

Two images were inserted here. To view them, please visit

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

Show Recorded - 9/11/2011

Read Full Post »


Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App