Astronomy & Space

THE CASE FOR SPACE: Interview with DR ROBERT ZUBRIN: How the Revolution in Spaceflight opens up a Future of Limitless Possibility

The Case for Space by Dr Robert Zubrin
The Case for Space
by Dr Robert Zubrin

Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics and also president of The Mars Society.  He’s also the author of many critically acclaimed books, including “Mars Direct”, “How to Live on Mars” and “Entering Space”. He has appeared on major media including CNN, BBC, the Discovery Channel, & NPR.  In this interview Dr. Zubrin joins us to discuss his newly released book, “The Case for Space”, an insightful look at how the revolution in spaceflight opens up a future of limitless possibility.

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Down to Earth SPACEMAN Mike Massimino shares his journey as a NASA astronaut

Mike Massimino

Mike Massimino served as a NASA astronaut from 1996 to 2014 and is a veteran of two space flights to the Hubble Space Telescope. He became the first person to tweet from space and played himself in several episodes of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. A graduate of Columbia University & MIT, Mike currently lives in New York City, where he is a professor at Columbia and an advisor at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

For more information about Mike, visit https://www.mikemassimino.com/

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DR THOMAS ZURBUCHEN: Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

Dr Thomas Zurbuchen
Portrait of Thomas Zurbuchen taken on Monday, October 17, 2016 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

In this interview we go onsite at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. for an in-depth conversation with Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Thomas is an award-winning astrophysicist, with honors including receiving the National Science and Technology Council Presidential Early Career for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) Award in 2004 and three NASA Group Achievement awards.

Since day one at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington, DC, Zurbuchen has focused on inspiring learners of all ages and fostering an inclusive team of science leaders. Encouraging people to dive deeper and earn the future by striving for excellence today are key factors to the integrated approach he has adopted. Zurbuchen has created an environment where teams work together to achieve ambitious goals, excel well beyond the intended result and have the resources and support to achieve things they never thought were possible.

During his career, Zurbuchen has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles in refereed journals in solar and heliospheric phenomena. He has also been involved with several NASA science missions involving Mercury, the Sun and more. His experience here has driven his passion of cultivating leaders and highlighting talent throughout the agency. He has also been an advocate of sharing NASA’s messages on social media and can be found on Twitter at the handle @Dr_ThomasZ.

For more information, visit https://science.nasa.gov

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SPACEX Falcon Heavy Arabsat-6A – Behind the Scenes

Watch this engaging podcast on YouTube!
Falcon Heavy Arabsat-6A by Chuck Fields
Photo by Chuck Fields

Go behind the scenes with us as we set up cameras at the launch pad, met some incredible people and witnessed the first commercial launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy, complete with the incredible landing of the boosters at Cape Canaveral.

Featured in this episode are interviews with Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd, rocket launch photographer Erik Kuna, and STEM/teacher Jamie Groh. We discuss what it's like photographing this historic launch; the first commercial flight of the new Block 5 Falcon Heavy, with more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff (10% more than last year’s version) and a 140,000+ pounds of LEO payload capacity—more than double of the space shuttle.

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SpaceX Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A to launch Wednesday, April 10th

SpaceX Falcon Heavy
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Boosters (from Feb 6, 2018)

SpaceX is gearing up for its 2nd Falcon Heavy launch, scheduled for 6:35 pm EDT Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

As you may remember the first Falcon Heavy was launched last year on February 6, 2018 with the infamous “Starman” and Elon Musk's own Tesla. Two of the Falcon Heavy's boosters landed nearly simultaneously at Cape Canaveral while the main booster landing at sea (on SpaceX's ship “Of Course I Still Love You”) was unsuccessful.

So what's different this time? This is the first commercial launch of Falcon Heavy and not a demonstration mission. Its payload is the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Saudi Arabian company Arabsat. This new satellite will be launched into a geostationary orbit (meaning it will be above the same location on Earth during its orbit) and provide television, phone, internet and secure communications for the middle east, Africa and Europe.

While still the most powerful active rocket available, this version of the Falcon Heavy will be 10% more powerful than last year's. Its 27 Merlin engines and Block 5 configuration create more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and are capable of lifting more than 140,000 pounds to low Earth orbit. Only the Saturn V moon rocket (last launched in 1973) could carry more payload to orbit.

As of right now (4/9/2019), weather conditions are 80% favorable for launch. You can watch the launch live on SpaceX's YouTube channel. We'll also be providing updates on our social media networks at FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter.

MOON to MARS – Behind the Scenes at NASA Glenn Research Center

MOON to Mars event at NASA Glenn Research Center

America is going back to the Moon! Go behind the scenes of the NASA Glenn Research Center as we go onsite to speak with the incredible team members and discover some of the cutting-edge technology that will help send American’s back to the Moon and then to Mars and beyond.

In this episode we recap our recent visit to the Moon To Mars event which was held in March by various NASA facilities throughout the U.S. For our trip to NASA Glenn in Cleveland, Ohio, we highlight some of the highly-skilled team members and discuss the incredible technologies that NASA is developing at this facility to get back to the Moon. Topics include GVIS (Graphics & Visualization Lab), ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization), advanced power systems and electric propulsion.

For more information on the Moon To Mars program, visit:

http://nasa.gov/moontomars

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 – Behind the Scenes

In this episode we go behind the scenes on the press site at Kennedy Space Center for a look at the incredible milestones of SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1, and what it means for the future of commercial crew spaceflight.

In this journey I share footage of the press conferences, launch activities, and how I was able to set up a remote camera close-up to Launch Complex 39A, the site where Crew Dragon lifted off at 2:49 AM EST on Saturday, March 2, 2019. I also share my interviews with Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd and Quartz writer Tim Fernholz (author of “Rocket Billionaires”). Clips include Elon Musk, NASA Administrator Jim Brindenstine, and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

For more information, visit https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html

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The New Vulcan Centaur Rocket – Mark Peller, ULA Program Manager for Major Development

Mark Peller
Mark Peller

Mark Peller is the program manager for major development at United Launch Alliance (ULA), and in this position is responsible for development of Vulcan. Mark is with us today to discuss ULA’s future launch system, the Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Vulcan is ULA’s future launch system that builds upon ULA’s extensive Atlas and Delta heritage to provide a competitive product offering to serve a broad spectrum of markets. As the program manager, Peller has overall responsibility for developing the launch vehicle and the supporting capabilities required across the supply chain as well as ULA’s production and launch operations to meet the program’s objectives.

Peller began his career with Rockwell International in 1990 as a propulsion engineer supporting the Space Shuttle program. He joined The Boeing Company in 1996 when it acquired the aerospace and defense businesses of Rockwell. Peller moved to the Delta program in 1997 and held various technical and program management positions throughout the development and initial fielding of the Delta IV launch system.

Peller continued his work on the Delta program at ULA after the company was formed in 2006. In 2009, he was appointed the product line chief engineer for Delta, where he had overall technical responsibility for the Delta II and Delta IV launch systems. During this period he oversaw 24 successful Delta launches, including the first launch of the Delta IV Heavy configuration from the West Coast. In 2013 Peller transitioned into the role of the director of the ULA Hardware Value Stream where he was responsible for managing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contracts with the U.S. Air Force, and leading the product teams supporting launch vehicle development, procurement, and production.

Peller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mechanics from the University of California, San Diego, a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Irvine. He is a licensed mechanical engineer in the state of California.

For more information, visit https://www.ulalaunch.com/

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ALAN PARSONS – Musician, Songwriter, Audio Engineer & Record Producer

Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons

Alan Parsons is an English audio engineer, songwriter, musician and record producer best known for his work on The Alan Parsons Project. He began his career at the age of 19, where he worked at Abbey Road, assisting in the production of the last two Beatles albums. In 1974 he received his first (of more than a dozen) Grammy nominations for his work on Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. Through his work on The Alan Parsons Project, which was formed in 1975, Alan has had several top 40 hits including Eye in the Sky, Games People Play and Don’t Answer Me.

Alan joins us today to talk about his incredible career, including his recent Grammy nomination, his new album “The Secret” releasing April 26, 2019 (his first album in 15 years), as well as his upcoming tour. We also discuss his experience watching the Great American Total Solar Eclipse in 2017 and his upcoming free concert on July 13, 2019, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

For more information, visit alanparsons.com

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Is Faster Than Light Travel Possible? The Science of SciFi with Dr. Erin Macdonald

Dr. Erin Macdonald - Astrophysicist

Is faster than light travel possible? Dr. Erin Macdonald joins us to discuss the current theories–and how they relate to science fiction. She is an astrophysicist, science fiction consultant, aerospace engineer, and host of the online series, “Dr. Erin Explains the Universe”. Her specialty is in general relativity, having worked previously searching for gravitational waves in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. She has since found her home in science fiction, consulting with writers, teaching STEM through popular culture, and fulfilling her life goal of becoming a warp drive expert.

For more information, visit https://www.erinpmacdonald.com/

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