Archive for the 'Spaceflight' 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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Talking Space is turning 10 seasons old...yet most of the topics involve new space surprisingly!

We begin focusing on SpaceX first with the return of CRS-13 and a look-ahead to the Falcon Heavy static fire test. Of course, we address the mystery behind the secret Zuma payload. Did it safely make it to orbit, did it come crashing back to earth, or is there something we're not being told? We get an ISS update including a preview of two spacewalks.

Next in our launch round-up, it's ULA with their NROL-47 mission and SBIRS GEO 4. Then it's over to India for a successful return of the PSLV plus a look at whether India could disrupt the international launch game. We also check out some smaller companies and their big impacts like RocketLab's Electron.

Then it's over to China whose rocket didn't blow up but still sent pieces crashing into the ground near crowded villages. Can the US partner with a country that just throws away rockets near people? We weigh in.

Lastly we remember two amazing astronauts in Bruce McCandless III and John Young who recently passed away.

Show recorded 1-16-2018

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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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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So many launches, so little time, and a few explosive news stories make this a jam-packed episode not to be missed! We begin by recapping the launches of the last two weeks, including three SpaceX launches in one day, Japan and China launching on the same day and both broadcasting them live, and an ESA mission launching on a unique rocket. We also had some unusual scrubs, including a Soyuz and an Atlas V, taking all V, er, 5 times to launch. We then look at some upcoming launches, including a mysterious "Zuma" payload and the move, once again, of the OA-8 mission.

Next it's onto the ISS, including looking at the most recent three spacewalks outside the orbiting platform. Also a scary story that a recent crewed Soyuz depressurized as it returned from orbit. We also disuss the major partnership between ULA and Bigelow Aerospace and their plans to have a lunar orbiting outpost. Lastly, we delve into a massive colission of two neutron stars, releasing gold and platinum, among other elements, out into space, and it being observed for the first time. We look into the significance of it and what it means for the future of science.

Show recorded 10-16-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelist: Gene Mikulka

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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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Talking Space is celebrating its 250th episode and 8 year anniversary speical with astronaut and artist Nicole Stott. We discuss with Nicole her time aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 20 and 21 crews. We discuss her time both working with the Space Shuttle program, as well as flying aboard shuttle and her roles in history with the program. We find out how she became an astronaut, who inspired her, and her words of advice to inspire others, especially girls, to get into STEM careers.

In addition to hearing her amazing stories, we discuss her art, includiing how you paint with watercolors in space. We also discuss her most recent project called the Space Suit Art Project, which allows child cancer patients to put their own art and space suits and flight suits, some of which go into space. Be sure to follow the project on Facebook and Twitter, and also check out this video of astronaut Jack Fisher wearing one of the suits in space.

To learn more about Nicole or to see and purchase her artwork, visit https://www.npsdiscovery.com/

We end with some thank yous as we recognize 8 years and 250 episodes of this show. Thank you to everyone who has ever downloaded this show, however many times you downloaded it. Also a huge thank you to anyone who has ever been on the show or helped make this show possible over our unbelievable tenure. Here's to 250 more!

Show recorded 9-5-2017

Host: Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Kat Robison and special guest astronaut and artist Nicole Stott

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