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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
In this episode Dr. James Rice, the senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, discusses Apollo 8—the first manned mission to the Moon, which occurred 50 years ago in December 1968. Dr. Rice talks about what led up to this historic mission, and how close the space race really was with several lesser-known facts about NASA's competition.
Dr. Nicky Fox is the Heliophysics Division Director at NASA Headquarters. She earned her PhD in Space Physics from the Imperial College of Science in London and has worked for both APL and NASA over her 20 year career. She’s worked on such projects as the NASA Polar spacecraft and the International Solar Terrestrial Physics Mission. Most recently Dr. Fox is heavily involved with the Parker Solar Probe, which launched on August 12, 2018. In this episode she describes the goals of the probe, as well as her advice to parents for encouraging their children to pursue a career in the science field. We also feature video and hi-fidelity sound from 4 miles away from the launchpad as the Solar Probe lifted off on its way to study the Sun.
“Behind the Sun” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers used with permission from Warner Bros. Records.
Dr. Joshua Fisher is the Science Lead for the ECOSTRESS Mission, a mission designed to study the Earth’s climate. Dr. Fisher is a Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was fortunate to first meet Dr. Fisher recently at Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of ECOSTRESS aboard the SpaceX CRS-15 resupply mission to the International Space Station. The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will measure the temperature of plants and use that information to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress.
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