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A Free and Open Exchange of Ideas and Opinions on All Things Space: Now at!


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A Free and Open Exchange of Ideas and Opinions on All Things Space: Now at!




Episode 1602: IM-1 Lunar Lander Launches Successfully; Deep Cuts at JPL a Heartache

It’ll do your heart good to have a listen to the IM-1 launch audio snippet at the opening of this episode. This episode finds us still focusing on the Intuitive Machines IM-1 lunar lander launch and lunar landing attempt to come later this week. Chantelle Baier from 4Space joins us once again to talk about the launch and the lunar landing, scheduled for February 22, 2024. Both Larry and Mark witnessed the LM-1 launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at 1:05 a.m. on February 15th courtesy of 4Space. But first, we have plenty of news in the roundup: simulated year-long Mars missionannounced Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) layoffsFederal budget impasseUruguayGreece Next, the team and Chantelle discuss our impressions from the IM-1 launch, and hints at what may come next for 4Space. These lunar deliveries are part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative in support of the Artemis program. We’ll keep you informed as events unfold. We also discuss some details relating to the innovative EagleCam experiment aboard the lander. Some interesting video of the IM-1 after separation from the tumbling Falcon 9 upper stage can be found here. Finally, Mark eagerly shares a bit of background on a couple of engineers at Boeing who are diligently working on getting the Starliner’s re-entry parachutes sorted and ready for flight. This is the kind of folks you want packing your parachutes. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Our website now has a way to easily send us a voice message that we may use on the show: just click on the blue microphone icon at the bottom right of any page at Show recorded 02-17-2024. Host: Larry Herrin Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and special guest Chantelle Baier (Dr. Kat Robison and Sawyer Rosenstein will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin IM-1 Falcon 9 launch photo credit: SpaceX


Episode1601: Taking Non-Traditional Space Companies and Artisans From Concept to Launchpad: A Conversation With Chantelle Baier of 4Space

Welcome to the First Talking Space of 2024! The Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission is the second flight of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions. Its purpose is to have commercial entities be responsible for sending NASA science payloads and eventually cargo to the lunar surface to support human exploration of the Moon. NASA isn't the lead of the mission, but simply one customer of many. This new way of getting to the lunar surface opens a new door for not only researchers but also other non-traditional businesses who may never have thought of participating in spaceflight before to make their first bold steps into the space business. Bolted to the side of the Intuitive Machines NOVA-C IM-1 lander set for its lunar voyage is sculpture called “Moon Phases” conceptualized and designed by artist Jeff Koons. Consisting of 125 small and unique lunar phase sculptures, each one dedicated to someone who contributed to humanity for good in some way. It’s bolted to the side of the spacecraft set to be the first sculpture on the lunar south pole. But it was a long road from concept to the launch pad. Enter Chantelle Baier who founded 4Space in 2018 to take free thinkers, artisans, and non-traditional space companies, and help them take their talents and abilities to a higher level: above the Karman Line. In this installment, we talk to Ms. Baier about the journey Koon’s sculpture took, how 4Space was able to help a non-traditional entity take that step into the final frontier, and what the company can do for others who want to embark on that journey. We also discuss what may be on the horizon for 4Space in the future. Chantelle Baier has served on the boards of the Moon Village Association, the AIAA Technical Committee, Hewellet Packard’s Mars Home Planet Advisory Panel, Yuri’s Night Special Relations, and is a senior executive on the National Space Society’s Board of Directors where she serves at the organization’s Director and Creative Director. She also holds professional backgrounds in the areas of science, space, and fashion. Host: Mark Ratterman Panelist: Gene Mikulka Guest: Chantelle Baier Podcast Editor: Mark Ratterman


Episode 1515: What Do Aussies Think About Space?

First off, apologies are in order for our extended absence from your podcast-hungry ears. We try our best to record on a consistent basis, but sometimes there’s a perfect storm of Life Events getting in the way for the Talking Space team when it comes down to getting an episode in the can. We DID even record an episode with Gene and Larry that we could not air because Larry’s audio track for the recording was not usable due to, of all things, an intermittently malfunctioning microphone. Sometimes the Universe just plain conspires against us. In the News Roundup: First: Be encouraged and inspired. Watch an interview with former astronaut Jose Hernandez on This Week in Space, as well as his new biopic, A Million Miles Away. Here’s a link to the trailer. His daughter interviews him here. Next, we have an update on the Center for Biological Diversity, et al’s Starship lawsuit against the FAA, SpaceX, and a new defendant added recently: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Also, what’s happening now to qualify SpaceX for its IFT-3 launch license? We have all the latest. Also, a final reminder: Send your name to Europa aboard the Europa Clipper spacecraft - check in at or sign on at . The opportunity closes Dec. 31, 2023. Finally: Want a picture of yourself on Mars? At JPL? In the Mars Rover Mission Control room? Check out the Mars Perseverance Photo Booth here. Wrap-up and Impressions from ASCEND As promised last time, Kat provides a wrap-up overview and her impressions from the ASCEND conference, including the probable extension of the commercial spaceflight regulatory “learning period” and news on lunar communications regulations. What do Aussies Think About Space? The Australian Centre for Space Governance (ACSG) has sponsored a study designed to measure Australian attitudes and opinions about space. We’re proud that Talking Space’s own Dr. Kat Robison Hasani helped design the study in her role as a Senior Research Fellow at ACSG. She brings us up to speed on the survey’s findings. SpaceX 2023 Launch Count as of December 19, 2023: 92 SpaceX 2023 Projected Final Launch Count: 97 (almost made it to 100!) More Website Woes Yes, it’s true. Talking Space’s website – and email – are down again. And again, we’re “working the problem,” and will have things working again ASAP. The podcast itself has always been available wherever else you get your podcasts, as you know if you’re reading this. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at Show recorded 12-26-2023. Host: Mark Ratterman Panelist(s): Larry Herrin, Dr. Kat Robison Hasani Podcast Editor: Mark Ratterman


Episode 1514: Starship vs. the Fish People, MSR Woes and a Powerful Tale from ASCEND

There’s a lot going on this time around, as usual. First, in the news roundup: with a notable exceptionWallops Spaceport site mapHarry Strangerfirst asteroid flybyannouncedthree museums Then, Mark discusses a brief history and laments the lessened art of spacecraft call signs and aircraft nose art. He also informs us that Commander Callie continues her mission in NASA’s newest issue of its graphic novel. Next, Gene brings us up to speed on the wobbly future of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission in light of the findings of the recent Independent Review Board 2 report. The IRB2 report concluded, among other things, that there is “likely not enough funding available to accomplish any mission.” Say again, Houston? Finally, Kat brings us an initial teaser report and interview from the recent ASCEND conference with Lindsay Kaldon, Project Manager with NASA’s Fission Surface Power Project, managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Çenter in Cleveland, OH. You want to survive long-term on the Moon or Mars, you gotta have a lot of reliable electrical power! Thanks to all for the heads-up about issues with Talking Space’s website. It’s been down for a number of weeks now. We’re “working the problem,” and will have the site back up very soon. The podcast itself has always been available wherever else you get your podcasts, as you know if you’re reading this soon after it is published! UPDATE: The website has been restored as of the afternoon of November 7, 2023, and seems to be functioning normally. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 10-27-2023. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, Dr. Kat Robison and Larry Herrin Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin


Episode 1513: What’s a WR? How does it Affect Starship’s Next Launch Date?

So much has happened so fast in the last couple of weeks related to SpaceX’s pursuit of Starship’s Flight 2 launch license. Look at all these goings-on: list of 63 corrective actionsstatement@NASASpaceflight To try and make sense of all this, Larry and Gene are pleased to welcome back Eric Roesch (@ESGHound), who by now should be familiar to regular Talking Space listeners. Eric is an environmental engineer by trade. He is an environmental permitting expert who has written extensively about permitting-related activities related to the activities of SpaceX. Eric, Gene and Larry will take a deep dive to provide some clarity to all the above, as well as answers to questions like: their consultation with the FAA? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Contact Eric and read his writings: website:; Substack:; X/Twitter: @ESGHound; Also: Mashable story about the Bloomberg FOIA story. Show recorded 09-19-2023. Host: Larry Herrin Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka (Mark Ratterman, Sawyer Rosenstein and Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin


Episode 1512: Pretty Plasma Trail, But Not from Starship Anytime Soon?

This episode brings lots of Space news from around the globe, as well as from our own back yards. Literally. First off: both Sawyer and Mark witnessed the plasma trail from the latest Crew Dragon reentry from their own back yards. A photo that looks … kind of like what they saw (taken by NASA) … is shown here. Next, we have plenty of news in the roundup, including: ) to support Aeolus satellite’s controlled reentry NROL 107need of serious maintenance – or demolitionNew Horizons Mission sagain its fourth flightbreaks the US space endurance recordannounce the Axiom 3 crew Then, the team discusses the 36-page report of the NASA Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) Independent Study Team. NASA formed this external, 16-member independent study team of experts in July 2022 to find a way we can use our open-source data and resources to help shed light on the nature of future UAP. The report is a summary of the proposed ways NASA can do that using mostly existing resources, as well as new, inexpensive crowdsourced methods to collect future UAP data in a scientifically rigorous manner. You can find a copy of the report here. Finally, we can’t let an episode go by without an update to the goings-on in the world of SpaceX and Starship: can be found here Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 09-14-2023. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Larry Herrin (Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Mark Ratterman Crew 6 Dragon reentry plasma trail photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky


Episode 1511: Looking Outside the Bubble – A Conversation With Nathan Price

How many people outside the space community know about the Artemis Moon to Mars program? What do people who don’t follow spaceflight think of the current program? If given a chance, would YOU go to the Moon or Mars? Our guest, Nathan Price, is attempting to explore these questions with people who don’t typically follow the space program all that closely. Countdown to the Moon aims to have a daily conversation with a single person about space exploration and their attitudes toward space. The purpose is to understand how the public perceives space exploration and make an electronic time capsule on how people in our time may perceive the future. After participating in the interview process, Talking Space’s Gene Milkulka decided to discuss with Nathan what was the driving force behind the project, and what has surprised him about the conversations he has had thus far. Nathan Price lives in the Houston, Texas area and founded the National Space Society’s North Houston chapter. He worked in Information Technology for 25 years. Recently he took the plunge into the space field, becoming a contractor at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and has started working towards the goal of being on console in the Mission Control Center. If YOU wish to participate in the Countdown to the Moon project, go to the projects Web page to schedule an appointment with Nathan or reach out to him on the site formerly known as Twitter at @GadgetNate. Show recorded on June 22, 2023. Guest: Nathan Price Podcast Host: Gene Mikulka Podcast Editor: Mark Ratterman


Episode 1510: Artemis III – A Different Mission?

ESA’s Aeolus earth observation satellite, launched in August 2018, ended its primary mission on July 28, 2023. It still had one final mission: a safe, fiery, controlled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere conducted by the European Space Agency flight controllers. Larry Herrin provides details of the importance of this maneuver. August 8, 2023 was Artemis II media day at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Free, and the Crew of the Artemis II mission, provided an update on the upcoming lunar reconnaissance mission. Jim Free was also asked about the status of the Human Landing System and how its progress may impact the Artemis III lunar landing attempt. Gene Mikulka reports. The link to the press conference on the NASA YouTube page can be found here. In a separate press telecon on August 7, Boeing Space and NASA gave updates on the progress of the Starliner capsule that will be used to transport crew to the international space station. Boeing’s Mark Nappi indicated that the capsule will be ready for the long-delayed Crewed Test Flight (CST) in March of 2024, pending the completion of remediation steps for the P-13 tape, which was found to be flammable and a required modification to the main reentry parachutes being made by partner company Airborne Systems. Click here to hear the entire press conference So you’re a farmer seeking computer programs to help with drought or looking to track storms that might impact your crops? Perhaps you’re a researcher looking for modeling software or trying to figure out how to predict lightning strikes. As Mark Ratterman reports, NASA has an app for that! There are about more than 1,000 free programs and algorithms free for the taking at We provide an update on the SpaceX Boca Chica lawsuit and other developments that we’ve been following: CNBC’s Lora Kolodny reports that the company still has yet to apply for an Industrial Wastewater Permit but, according to the report, still went ahead with a full pressure test of the flame deflector for the Starship launch pad (and used it for the Booster 9 static test) despite not having the required permit for such a discharge. The team discusses these developments and will continue to watch and report. UPDATE: According to on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, SpaceX submitted its long-awaited Mishap Investigation Report to the FAA for review. So whatever became of the American flag planted on the Moon by Apollo 11? Larry Herrin discusses a PhysOrg article about the history of the last-minute scramble to include it in the mission, the fate of the artifact and what might be its current state. And speaking of the Moon, once the astronauts of NASA’s Artemis program arrive on the lunar surface, they’ll need power systems for essential systems, transportation, and conducting experiments. Mark Ratterman explores two companies – Blue Origin and Zeno Power Systems – and describes their proposals to deliver energy to lunar explorers. Here is the Zeno Power Systems press release. Show recorded on 08-13-2023. Host this week: Larry Herrin Panel Members: Mark Ratterman & Gene Mikulka (Sawyer Rosenstein and Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin Transition Music Credit: Pixabay - StudioKolomna


Episode 1509: Starship Launch Delays – a Triple Whammy?

SpaceX’s effort to launch its second integrated test of Starship is likely facing a triple whammy of delays, including a new one that should really be of no surprise to the company. It certainly is no surprise to Eric Roesch, who joins us on this episode to discuss the latest developments in the saga. First, there’s the well-known environmental lawsuit brought by a consortium of environmental and tribal groups against the FAA and SpaceX. This case showed a little movement on July 25, 2023, and all the details on what did transpire in court filings on that date can be found here. Turns out that the latest filing in the case (as of this writing) would extend the deadline for proposing a briefing schedule as to summary judgment within 14 days of the Court’s resolution of Plaintiffs’ motion challenging the Administrative Record, if any is filed. And that resolution could come as late as December 2023 or January of 2024, or maybe even later. And all of this time may be used up just to get to the point where all sides agree on what the tools look like that they’re going to use to prosecute the case. Second, the FAA just reminded everyone on July 26th that SpaceX has not yet submitted a Mishap Investigation Report for its review. This report would outline what SpaceX needs to do to demonstrate to FAA that Starship is safe enough for another launch attempt. And the third element of the triple whammy? The new water deluge system freshly installed and tested beneath the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) has no Industrial Wastewater Permit to go with it. Eric gives us a full rundown of all the wonky stuff, as well as the inside scoop as to how long a delay this could cause (spoiler alert: it’s a long time!). And not only has SpaceX not applied for the permit yet, but according to Eric, SpaceX knew they had to do it way back when they wrote the latest Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) that governs the whole environmental shooting match. Is there something that SpaceX knows that we don’t, which will let them circumvent the Clean Water Act? How will SpaceX pull this off? Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 07-27-2023. Host: Larry Herrin Panelist(s): Larry Herrin (Sawyer Rosenstein, Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin


Episode 1508: Starship, ULA & STEM news

The environmental lawsuit brought by a consortium of environmental and tribal groups against the FAA and SpaceX has shown no visible movement since July 5, 2023, but we have all the details on what did transpire on that date. Turns out that since our recording date, another filing in the case would extend the deadline for proposing a briefing schedule as to summary judgment within 14 days of the Court’s resolution of Plaintiffs’ motion challenging the Administrative Record, if any is filed. And that resolution could come in the timeframe of December 2023 or January of 2024, or maybe even later. More on this to come next time! Believe it or not, there are a few other stories in the News Roundup: switcherooDIMPLEcourse-correction burns Next, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) says despite recent anomalies involving their Centaur V upper stage and the BE-4 engines built by Blue Origin, Vulcan should still fly this year, although behind schedule. We respectfully disagree. Then, we bring you a discussion on a subject near and dear to everyone’s heart here on the Talking Space team: STEM education programs and their importance in securing the future competitiveness of the USA, the future of our children and the well-being of the planet. FYI, STEM represents science, technology, engineering and math. NASA has recently awarded millions in STEM research grants to schools all over the country. All this may sound corny, but you can’t argue with how it’s changed lives. Also, here’s a STEM center success story that is very personal to Sawyer. Finally, a reminder from whence we came: This past week was the 54th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission, which carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the lunar surface for the first-ever manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969. Meanwhile, Michael Collins piloted the Command Module, which then took all three astronauts back home. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 07-16-2023. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelist(s): Mark Ratterman and Larry Herrin (Gene Mikulka and Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin Transition Music Credit: Pixabay - StudioKolomna


Episode 1507: A Secret Mission and … OceanGate’s Titan?

You may ask, “Why are we talking about the OceanGate Expeditions’ Titan submersible tragedy in a podcast dedicated to space-related stuff?” The commonality with undersea exploration is the lack of Human Commercial Spaceflight Safety Regulations. Do we need more regulation? The team muses about this issue in this episode of Talking Space. But first, the News Roundup: interesting infohumanizeNROL-68ribbon-cutting ceremonyfinal launch of the Ariane 5signatoriesa report in Ars Technica.heading into its final phase. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 06-25-2023. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Larry Herrin (Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Mark Ratterman NROL-68 Mission Patch photo credit: NRO, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Delta IV Heavy launch photo credit: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., (June 22, 2023) A ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-68 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at 5:18 a.m. EDT on June 22. Photos by United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy opening a portal to the heavens Photo Credit: Lavie Ohana @Lavie154 @WeAreSpaceScout


Episode 1506: Shocking Answers to Your Starship Lawsuit Questions

Talk all you want about the delays caused by repairs/mods to the launch pad and re-certifying the Autonomous Flight Termination System, the real issue that is grounding Starship at Boca Chica is this one thing: The Lawsuit. You know … the one filed by a consortium of environmental groups and Indigenous tribes against the FAA alleging (based on the observable environmental damage wrought by the April test launch) FAA’s inadequate oversight and review of SpaceX’s plans and operations at Boca Chica. This time around, Larry Herrin and Gene Mikulka are joined by the guy who accurately predicted that the Starship test launch last April 20th would cause more damage than SpaceX or the FAA’s own calculations predicted in its worst-case scenario. His name is Eric Roesch, and he goes by the Twitter handle @ESGHound. Turns out, Eric has experience working both the consulting and regulatory sides of the fence in shepherding Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documents through the process; knows quite a bit about the related issues; and has some well-reasoned answers to questions like: The answers may surprise you! All will be revealed in this episode of Talking Space. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . How to contact Eric and read his writings: website: Substack: Twitter: @ESGHound Show recorded 06-21-2023. Host: Larry Herrin Panelist(s): Gene Mikulka (Mark Ratterman, Sawyer Rosenstein and Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin


Episode 1505: SpaceX Can’t Slow Down; Starliner’s Pet Black Swan

This episode is packed full of news and insights. Let’s get to it! In the News Roundup: second lunar lander partnershipscoops up a bargainUnity 25 successful test flightArtemis AccordsAxiom Ax2 Mission is accomplishedhave your name engraved Next, Larry brings us a story about Elon Musk’s companies (SpaceX and The Boring Company) making messes seemingly everywhere they go in Texas. Regulatory agencies can hardly keep up with the citations and Notices of Violation for environmental and public safety concerns. Regarding our coverage of an environmentalist group’s lawsuit against the FAA: while we did report that SpaceX also responded to the lawsuit with its own filing with the court a request to be included as a defendant in the lawsuit, we did not mention in the episode that SpaceX’s filing outlines the potential consequences for the company if the environmentalists prevail in the lawsuit. These consequences include negative outcomes for its business as well as damage to the “substantial national interest.” SpaceX also asserted that the scientific knowledge facilitated by Starship would suffer as a result. These are all valid concerns, and it’s likely there are ways to satisfy both sides of this issue without undue delay or unjustified expense. We’ll be following this issue closely. Finally, Gene and Sawyer provide detailed insights to the news that the first-ever crewed launch of the Boeing Starliner astronaut capsule has been delayed once again due to safety issues with the spacecraft’s parachutes and electrical wiring harness tape that were discovered in late May. Please be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topics we discuss. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 06-04-2023. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman and Larry Herrin (Dr. Kat Robison will return) Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin Transition Music Credit: Pixabay - StudioKolomna


Episode 1504: Space Debris Risks – Perception vs. Reality With a Little Human Nature Thrown In

Talk about risky! This time around, the two cousins are being left alone to see what mischief they can get up to. Good thing there’ll be an adult in the room. Mark Ratterman and Larry Herrin are joined by our guest, NASA’s Dr. Mary K. Kaiser, to discuss the omnipresent issue of space debris. We are “flexing” once again from our usual format to bring you a wide-ranging discussion that will cover how scientists objectively calculate risk versus subjective risk perception; dealing with Low-Probability/High-Consequence Risks; and the realities of basic human nature. How does all this relate to the issue of space debris and the world’s willingness to do something about it? We’re about to find out! As mentioned, our guest for this discussion is Dr. Mary K. Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser spent 30 years as a research psychologist in the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. She now serves as a consultant to the Human Factors Technical Discipline Team at the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC). This fascinating scientist spends her days worrying about things as diverse as subjective risk perception and innovative spacecraft instrument display technologies. She has authored or co-authored dozens of scientific papers, holds two patents, and is the self-published author of a novel, “The Muse of Kill Devil Hills,” available now on Amazon. Then, see and hear Dr. Kaiser’s NASA NESC Academy presentation on “Miserable Risk Estimation: "Managing" Low-Probability, High-Consequence Risks" here. If you want to hear even more about Dr. Kaiser’s very interesting career, keep listening after the main podcast for a big Easter egg’s worth of conversation we left there for you! Let us know what you think of our new “flexible” format and your thoughts on this week’s show. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 5-15-2023. Host: Larry Herrin Panelists: Mark Ratterman Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin Gene Mikulka, Sawyer Rosenstein and Dr. Kat Robison will be back.


Episode 1503: Of Spaceplanes and Starships

In this installment, we welcome Larry Herrin, a former 10-year-old Apollo astronaut, as the newest pundit on the Talking Space podcasting team. We forgot to mention in the show that Larry is also Mark Ratterman’s cousin! As his inaugural contribution, Larry tells us about a relatively new, reusable, rocket-powered spaceplane designed and built by New Zealand-based Dawn Aerospace. You can find out more at Dawn Aerospace’s website. Then Gene, Mark, and Larry take on the story of the week: The first launch of the SpaceX Starship on the morning of April 20. The team discusses the launch itself, the ramifications of the launch (citing “The Next 30 Trips” blog and the" ESG Hound " blog ), the fallout from residents, the mishap investigation which has grounded the Starship program, and what may happen in the months ahead. NOTE: Since this recording, several conservation groups have brought legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for granting the Starship launch license to SpaceX. This will be a story we will be following. Let us know what you think of our new “flexible” format and your thoughts on this week’s show. You can always reach us at . Show recorded 4-30-2023. Host: Mark Ratterman Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Larry Herrin Podcast Editor: Larry Herrin Sawyer Rosenstein and Dr. Kat Robison will be back.


Episode 1502: 50-50 and More

We start this week off with a roundup of news from NASA with the announcement of the Artemis II crew, its Mars Habitat, the second independent review of the Mars Sample Return, and a celebration of two missions hitting 50 - 50 orbits for Juno and 50 flights for Ingenuity (and you can even an audio recording of the Mars helicopter here). We then chatted about Blue Origin’s Club for Future and the FAA licensing of Starship’s launch attempt. The first of our main stories was a discussion of the successful launch of ESA’s JUICE mission to study the icy moons of the Jovian system, including taking some selfies as it began its journey. We wrapped up with a report from the recent NASA student launch competitions, which you can see for yourself on MSFC’s YouTube. Show recorded 4-16-2023 Panelists: Dr Kat Robison and Mark Ratterman


Episode 1501: New Season, New Era

Talking Space returns for its fifteenth season with a new format! First up, we have a brief roundup of news, including Kathy Lueders retirement from NASA, with Ken Bowsersox set to take over Space Operations on May 1st, the cessation of Virgin Orbit’s operations, more delays with Starliner, Soyuz’s uncrewed return to Earth, and a special report on one of our favorite non-rocket vehicles at KSC from Mark. We then head down under as Kat provides an update on Australian space news, including AUKUS in space, NASA’s visit to Canberra and Adelaide, including their announcement of a new Indigenous internship at JPL, and the first woman to be trained under the Australia Flag, Katherine Bennell-Pegg – who also happens to be the Director of Space Technology at the Australian Space Agency. Mark continues our show with a discussion of the next Artemis RS-25, and shares some facts about the engines from Aerojet Rocketdyne that were even new to us on the show. Gene rounds the show off with a discussion of the complicated funding and politics of the VERITAS mission to Venus, which has encountered delays and setbacks (and what amounts to a “soft cancellation”), despite being on budget and time and the exciting announcement of volcanic activity on Venus. We dedicate this show to the memory of Helene Smith. Please be sure to let us know what you think of the new format and let us know your thoughts on the topics of the show. Show recorded: 4-1-2023 Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Mark Ratterman, & Dr. Kat Robison


Episode 1407: The ”Endurance” of Commercial Crew

The Talking Space team was on site as the Crew-5 astronauts and cosmonaut made their way to the ISS. Hear the launch audio plus what went on behind the scenes when a hurricane threatened the mission and ground infrastructure. Full show notes coming soon.


Episode 1406: Launchapalooza

August 4th, 2022, was one of the most active launch days in recent memory. The Talking Space Team attempts to check all the boxes bringing a little insight into each one, including some launch audio from the Mighty AtalsV that carried the SIBRSGEO 6 into orbit and the scream of the Falcon 9 as it took South Korea’s KPLO probe to the Moon. We briefly discuss some debris left from a Chinese rocket that showered down on the Philippines and some flotsam from the SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk that impacted an Australian sheep paddock. The war in Ukraine has impacted everything for the worse. The repercussions have been felt far and wide, and the space sector has not been immune. The Northrup Grumman Antares 230 launch vehicle is another victim of the war; the fabrication shop for its core stage located in Ukraine was destroyed. With only enough parts to assemble two more rockets, Northrup Grumman has a plan for a domestic version of Antares, which will take an unusual alliance of a bold new corporate venture and an old lion ready to learn new tricks. Speaking of Russia, is Roscosmos leaving the International Space Station Partnership like the mainstream media is saying? We provide real context around the story. Artemis -1, the first launch of a new program to return humans to the Moon, create a sustainable presence there, and move on to Mars, is set for an August 29th launch attempt. We discuss the mission objectives for this first flight, the non-human crew, and the implications for this test flight. Dr. Kat Robeson brings a NASA JPL article to our attention concerning the Antarctic Ice Shelf and the loss of mass it may have experienced. We also mention that on the day we recorded ( August 11th ), operational control of the Landsat 9 Earth Observation Satellite was turned over to the US Geological Survey from NASA. We end the show reminding all that while exploring the heavens is a vital part of space, looking down at our planet is just as critical. Host: Sawyer Rosenstein Panelists: Dr Kat Robison & Gene Mikulka Engineer and Editor: Mark Ratterman


Episode 1405: Launch Weather for the Win(d)

On this episode of Talking Space with Mark Ratterman and Dr Kat Robison we have an excellent interview from Mark with Kennedy Space Center’s Dr Kristin Smith and Kathy Rice, both of whom are in KSC's weather office. Special thanks to KSC’s public affairs team, especially Mary MacLaughlin, who make it possible to bring interviews like this to our listeners. Mark talks with Kristin and Kathy about NASA’s Tropospheric Doppler Radar Wind Profiler (TDRWP) which monitors weather in the upper atmosphere like upper level winds (which we all know are very important on launch days). Kathy and Kristin explain how users, from NASA to SpaceX, utilize this important data and how it differs from other tools, such as weather balloons. The data from TDRWP is publicly available. Also, check out this link for info on how it was tested with ham radio operators and this site for more info on the whole system at KSC. Mark and Kat also have a brief chat (and please forgive her technical difficulties!) about a few space news topics before the interview. Kat shares about a history making series of launches in Australia at the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC) in the Northern Territory. The series of three sounding rocket launches to study astrophysics were the first NASA launches from a fully commercial spaceport and were undertaken in partnership with Equatorial Launch Australia. She and Mark also discuss the first deep field image from JWST, which includes light from one galaxy which traveled 13.1 billion years to JWST’s mirrors. Find out more and see the rest of JWST’s first images here. Show recorded: 7-24-2022 Hosts: Mark Ratterman & Dr. Kat Robison Special Guests: Dr. Kristin Smith and Kathy Rice