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On this very special two-part episode celebrating four years of Talking Space, we talk with PGAVDestinations, the company behind the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In this first part, we discuss how they got the space shuttle and their reactions to finding out what they'd be building. We then go in depth into the behind-the-scenes of the building surrounding the shuttle. This includes discussions on the design of the outside of the building, the large model solid rocket boosters and external tank, the structure of the building, and how you get a shuttle in the building, safely, on an angle, suspended above the ground. Also, we find out how you maintain the shuttle now that it's on display and "keep the good dirt and get rid of the bad dirt", plus much more!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where we go inside the actual exhibit and look at the reveal, the exhibit itself, and everyone's favorite parts.

For more info on PGAV Destinations, visit

For more info on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and to buy tickets, visit

The exterior of the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit as viewed from the road leading up to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Credit: Sawyer Rosenstein

                                                                                   A close-up of Atlantis inside the exhibit with scorch marks visible on the

 thermal blanket. Credit: Sawyer Rosenstein

To view all images related to this episode, visit

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman Special Guests From PGAV Destinations: Vice President and Project Manager Emily Howard, Exhibit Designer Doug Nickrent, Graphic Designer Amanda Yates, Architect Dave Myers

Show Recorded 08/21/2013

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On this episode of Talking Space, we start by tie everything in to the ISS. We begin with a discussion on whether or not the ISS will make it past its current planned deorbit date, and not because of age, but because of budget and politics. We then discuss how the world isn't going to end as the sun's poles flip. We then discuss an upcoming conference which we've talked a lot about in the past, the 100 Year Star Ship Symposium, and look at some of this year's topics. On our second trip around the table, we discuss a system that tracks space debris and how the sequester is set to shut it down eminently. Mark then takes us on a quick trip with three stories in three minutes. On our final trip around the table, we discuss some new updates with Reaction Engines and single stage to orbit systems. We then look at Elon Musk's new "Hyperloop" system which could revolutionize high speed rail systems. We finish off with how lasers and communications are making their way to the ISS.

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

Show Recorded 08/12/2013

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On this episode of Talking Space, we begin with the news of Deputy Administrator Lori Garver's departure from NASA and discuss who may be next to fill the position. We then discuss the successful launch of the HTV-4 to the space station as it "screamed" into the sky. We also go into detail about some of the unique items it's bringing to the ISS. We then talk about the development of the X-56A and NASA's role in it. On our second trip around the table, we discuss an image released by the Ames Research Center which caused some controversy as the funding of the project was investigated. We then talk about a new control center which opened at the Marshall Space Flight Center, which at one point was threatened to be shut down. On our final trip, we talk about the Orion capsule passing its PDR, but an article in the Houston Chronicle says that it may be grossly over budget, and we're not talking a few million dollars more, here. Finally, we discuss a space shuttle replica available on eBay for the bargain price of $350,000 and who we think should buy it.

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

Show Recorded 08/5/2013

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On this episode of Talking Space, we return from our two-week summer hiatus to bring you the news of our absence. We start with a discussion of the rapid, four-orbit approach the next ISS resupply vehicle took, Progress 52. In the conversation, we discuss the recent spacesuit failure which resulted in astronaut Luca Parmitano's spacesuit filling with water. Sticking with Russia, we discuss the latest findings of the Proton rocket failure back on July 1st, and talk about the future of Russian rockets and their current reliability. We then discuss some vibration tests that will shake things up in the science world, which came as a result of Ares 1-X. On our second trip around the table, we discuss Lori Garver's comments at the NewSpace convention about going to an asteroid as well as bringing up some budget woes. We then move on to looking at the first trailer for the reboot of the "Cosmos" series. This version with Neil DeGrasse Tyson will air on Fox, but do we think it'll stand up to the original, or can it even be compared? Lastly, we reflect on the Apollo 11 anniversary with some great space pictures.

To view the fluid structure video Mark discussed, visit

To look at the lunar images, specifically the image Mark referenced, visit

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

Show Recorded 07/29/2013

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On this special episode of Talking Space, Mark Ratterman interviews Andy Scheer, a spacetweep from Merrit Island, FL also known as @apacheman Andy is husband to Jen Scheer @flyingjenny and father to their new baby, Fara. Starting in July 2000 Andy worked at Kennedy Space Center Pads 39B and 39A. He was part of the PRSD Power Reactant Storage and Distribution Shop team working on Orbiter Fuel Cell Systems and ground support equipment at the launch pad. We talk about the shuttle days plus his earlier work with the US Army, Cessna Aircraft Company and current employment with SpaceX at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Also Andy tells us his thoughts and some tips about the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex “Atlantis Exhibit”. 

Since no meetup would be complete without fun with fellow spacetweeps we talk about the Endless BBQ.

Host this week: Mark Ratterman with a segment by Sawyer Rosenstein. Special Guest: Andy Scheer

Show Recorded 07/6/2013

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On this special, patriotic episode of Talking Space, Sawyer and Mark head to Florida for the grand opening of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex. On top of walking you through the exhibit, we talk with the people who worked on the exhibit, designed it, organized it, and astronauts who flew on the shuttle. You'll hear what the grand opening sounded like and what the exhibit sounds like, including the grand Atlantis reveal. Interviews include KSCVC COO Bill Moore, KSCVC's Andrea Farmer, astronauts Bill Readdy, Ken Ham, and Jim Halsell, and more!

To view the image taken by Michelle Ham during the STS-124 launch, visit


Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Member: Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 07/2/2013

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On this episode of Talking Space, we begin by discussing IRIS, the next solar mission, and a little bit of a status update on the company launching it, Orbital Sciences. We then take a look at the recent spacewalk on board the ISS in preparation for a new module and look at the future of the station. We then talk about the relation between an UAV taking off from an aircraft carrier and the GOES-13 satellite. On our second trip around the table, we discuss a solar plane making its trip across the country and what that means for the future of aviation. We then discuss China's Shenzhou 10 mission concluding and if we have anything to fear with China. We then discuss how you can get your name on a spacecraft heading to Mars, as well as your haiku. On our final trip around the table, we discuss a crowd-sourced message being sent light years away. Finally, we talk about chocolate in space, but not just any chocolate. 

For more on what the ISS is doing for cancer research, visit

For more on the solar flight, visit

For more information on Chance Chocolate, check out their Tumblr at

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

Show Recorded 06/24/2013

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On part two of our two-part special on SpaceFest V, we invite attendee Libby Norcross to join us as we discuss the rest of the Sunday panels, which included the Mars and asteroid panels. Discussed are the benefits of going to Mars, robots vs. humans, and what the experts such as Emily Lakdawalla and Peter Smith think about the idea of commercial companies such as Mars One and Inspiration Mars. We then hear from the asteroid panel, which includes discussions on commercial mining, how much science that actually gives, and if we're blurring the line of science fiction and science fact too soon. You'll hear from experts such as Deep Space Industries' Rick Tumlinson and Geoff Notkin, Planetary Resources' Chris Lewicki, and planetary scientist Dan Durder.

For more on Libby, visit

As well, our thoughts go out to Gene Mikulka and his family as they deal with a difficult time.

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Libby Norcross, Mark Ratterman

Show Recorded 06/10/2013

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On this special two-part episode of Talking Space, we begin by discussing last week's Soyuz launch before devling into the weekend-long event in Tucson, AZ. The event involved vendors and artists who specialize in space, as well as an impressive panel of astronauts which spanned every single American manned space flight program from Mercury to shuttle. On top of the astronauts were many panels and discussions. You'll hear bits from the talks by Dr. Carolyn Porco famous for working on Cassini and Prof. Brian Cox. We then jump to the Apollo astroanuts panel and hear their views on where we are and where we should be going in space.

Tune in next week for two of the best panels of the show: the panel on Mars and on asteroids, which includes thoughts from members of the private sector.

NOTE: This show was recorded on the week of May 27th, however due to technical difficulties, it was released this week, so some news is out of date.

For the Apollo panel transcript, visit

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

Show Recorded 05/28/2013

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On this episode of Talkling Space, the regular gang is dealing with illness and traveling on the road. However, Mark Ratterman comes to the rescue with a phenomenal interview about something this show has become known for: space debris. Mark interviews Alex von Eckartsberg, who recently returned from the Sixth European Conference on Space Debris in Darmstadt, Germany. Alex discusses some shocking numbers about how bad our debris problem is. Also discussed is the current means for trying to avoid debris, avoid collisions, what to do with defunct satellites, and what the plan is for the future. Is it too late to stop pollution near earth orbit?

For more information on Alex and space debris, visit her blog at You can also follow Alex on Twitter @StarlingLX

Host this week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Mark Ratterman and special guest Alex von Eckartsberg

Show Recorded 05/16 and 5/21/2013

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