Dr. Kathryn Thornton — Former NASA Astronaut

October 7, 2021 @ 3:11 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Dr. Kathryn Thornton, former NASA astronaut and current Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

 

Dr. Thornton was selected by NASA in May 1984, became the third woman to walk in space, and the first woman to make multiple extravehicular activities (EVAs). A veteran of four space flights, which included her stents as a spacewalker, repairing in-orbit satellites — including the Hubble space telescope — gave Dr. Thornton nearly 1000 hours of space travel.

In our conversation, Dr. Thornton discusses pursuing education in STEM at a time where women were not encouraged in the field, the advancement of gender equality in space, how she trained for missions, an incident that could have impacted the course of a space flight, and what travel to the Moon means for deep space exploration.

 

In sharing advice regarding a career in space, Dr. Thornton says, “There are lots of ways to be involved in the space program. Anybody can, there’s so many different dimensions that require humans and people with a passion that anybody can be a part of it.”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Jay Chattaway, longtime Star Trek series music and score composer

September 22, 2021 @ 12:59 pm

In this episode:

We meet Jay Chattaway, an Emmy award-winning composer who has been nominated nine times for his work in television, particularly for the hit Star Trek series. In addition to his television work, Jay has composed scores for more than 30 feature films.

 

Chattaway is also the producer of many Grammy-winning music projects, working with artists such as Carly Simon, Bob James, Maynard Ferguson, Gato Barbieri, David Byrne of The Talking Heads, The Fania All-Stars , Herb Alpert, and the von Trapp Children. He has served as Director of A&R for CBS records, has been the president of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, and governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Jay is also in demand as a conductor, having recently conducted the London Philharmonic at Royal Albert Hall.

 

Jay has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University and post-graduate studies at The Eastman School of Music. Jay serves as Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at West Virginia University and received an Honorary Doctorate there in May 2019.

 

In this episode, Jay discusses the first instrument that he picked up and how it led him to a career in music, the musical artists that influenced him and his work, how music adds to storytelling, how he pairs music with a scripted scene, the processes and interactions he has with the director and writers for the show, and more.

 

Recalling how he initially got the job doing music for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Chattaway says, “So then they sent my whale orchestra on to the producers of Star Trek and they thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s out there, so I’m guessing if he’s that far out — doing whales in his orchestra — he might be the right guy to do Star Trek.’”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Frank Culbertson — former NASA astronaut, “The only US citizen not on Earth when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred”

September 9, 2021 @ 9:02 am

In this episode:

We meet CAPT Frank Lee Culbertson, Jr., USN (Ret.), a former American Naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer, NASA astronaut, and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He served as the Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) for almost four months in 2001, giving him the distinction of being the only U.S. citizen not on Earth when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks occurred. As the ISS passed over New York City after the attacks, he captured impactful photos and video from low Earth orbit of the smoke emanating from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

 

You can read a letter he wrote detailing the complex emotions he experienced that day at https://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/sept11_culbertson.html

 

Culbertson’s achievements are too numerous to list completely here. He served in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, and later as a Naval aviator, Culbertson flew aircraft with the U.S. Air Force in the 426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where he served as Weapons and Tactics Instructor. Culbertson then served as the Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer for USS John F. Kennedy until he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, from which he graduated with distinction in 1982. He has logged over 9,500 hours flying time in 60 different types of aircraft.

 

Frank was selected for and completed NASA astronaut training in 1985. He’s a veteran of three space flights: STS-38 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis (Nov. 1990), STS-51 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery (Sept. 1993), and as part of the ISS Expedition 3 crew (launched via STS-105 on Space Shuttle Discovery, Aug. 2001). Culbertson lived and worked aboard the International Space Station for a total of 129 days on that mission and commanded the ISS for 117 of those days.

 

Culbertson recently retired as President of the Space Systems Group at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and currently consults for several aerospace companies. He’s also on the Board of Advisors of Bye Aerospace, the Board of Trustees of the AIAA, the Board of Directors of Firefly Black Aerospace, and is Member at Large on the Space Foundation Board of Directors. He remains an active pilot and is president of his own company, Higher Flight LLC.

 

In this episode, Frank recalls his day on the ISS on Sept. 11, 2001, how he received information about the attacks in bits and pieces as the day unfolded, the loss of his friend Capt. Charles “Chic” Burlingame (pilot of Flight 77 which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon that day), and how much the world had changed by the time he returned to Earth three months later.

 

Detailing his memories of taking photos aboard the ISS that morning, Culbertson says, “So, it made it easy to zoom in with the camera and look at what was happening. And as I zoomed in ... a big gray blob enveloped Southern Manhattan, and ... I found out later what I was seeing was the second tower come down.”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Sam Mastovich – General Manager, Keystone Compliance

August 11, 2021 @ 10:54 am

In this episode:

We meet Sam Mastovich, general manager of Keystone Compliance. He joined the company more than 10 years ago following a career in commercial banking. What started as a three-person, one-location Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing lab is now a 40-person, four-location, EMC, mechanical, wireless, package and product safety testing lab. Their many testing capabilities also make them a perfect partner for aerospace companies.

 

In our conversation, Sam discusses how Keystone tests EMC, how Keystone grew to be more than just an EMC test lab, how all these tests relate to space technology, some of the general test programs Keystone provides for space companies, the more common mistakes that manufacturers make, and the new tests that he sees being developed as we venture further into space.

 

In describing how seldom consumers consider the testing that goes into the products they purchase, Mastovich says, “What we do is what every consumer takes for granted. We go to Target or Walmart or ... on Amazon, we order something, bring it home, plug it in—and it doesn’t kill us... So, that’s basically what we as consumers just take for granted.”

 

To learn more about Keystone Compliance, visit keystonecompliance.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Robert Brumley – Cofounder/Chairman of CommStar Space Communications

July 28, 2021 @ 8:20 am

In this episode:

We meet Robert Brumley, cofounder and chairman of the CommStar space companies. CommStar intends to deploy the CommStar-1 satellite to cislunar orbit in 2023, serving as a high-capacity data relay satellite in the cislunar service area. CommStar-1 is being designed in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space to serve as a hybrid satellite able to receive and relay both radio-frequency and laser-optic communications — serving demand for bidirectional data communications between the Earth and the Moon for commercial, civil science, and government customers.

 

Brumley was a Senate-confirmed Presidential appointee in the Reagan administration, serving in both terms. During that time, he acted as the Executive Director of the Commercial Space Working Group of the National Security Council, and the Economic Policy Council. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Bob has extensive executive experience in the management and financing of early-stage ventures, particularly in aerospace, telecommunications, and defense.

 

In our conversation, Brumley explains what the vast cislunar area of space means to private companies like CommStar, why it’s so important to have this kind of infrastructure closer to the Moon, how the system will provide the same internet and communications services on the Moon as we currently have on Earth, and how a similar configuration could potentially be considered as infrastructure for other locations in deep space.

 

In discussing the growing importance of the cislunar service area, Bob says, “People are just learning: What is cislunar? And what is that to do with the Moon? And is there a real commercial opportunity outside what the government is doing? And within the last six months — particularly what we've experienced — the answer is yes, and there is real excitement about bypassing what would be low Earth orbit and going deeper.”

 

To learn more about CommStar Space Communications, visit https://commstar.space/

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Daniel Lockney – NASA Technology Transfer Program

July 14, 2021 @ 10:07 am

In this episode:

We meet Daniel Lockney, the Technology Transfer Program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. NASA has a long history of finding new and innovative uses for its space and aeronautical technologies, and Lockney is the agency’s leading authority on those technologies and their practical applications on Earth. 

 

Daniel is responsible for agency-level management of NASA intellectual property and the transfer of NASA technology to the public. In this role, Lockney oversees policy, strategy, resources, and direction for the agency’s technology commercialization efforts.

 

In our conversation, Lockney explains how the Technology Transfer office bridges the gap between space technology and our needs on Earth, how space technology impacts Earth’s economy, and some of the most interesting secondary applications of space technologies he’s seen.

 

Describing the significant uptick in commercial applications of NASA-developed technologies, Daniel says, “Over the past decade, a quintupling of the amount of commercialization we've typically seen from NASA... Our patent licensing is through the roof. You know, we used to average about 20, 25 patents licensed per year — now we're hitting 150 to 175 easily.”

 

To learn more about the Technology Transfer Program at NASA, visit https://technology.nasa.gov.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Andrew Matthes & Leyton Torres – SystemsGo Curriculum Program

June 23, 2021 @ 7:31 am

In this episode:

We meet Andrew Matthes and Leyton Torres to hear about their experiences with the SystemsGo High School STEM Curriculum Program from both teacher and student perspectives.

 

Matthes has been teaching at Fredericksburg High School in Fredericksburg, Texas, since 2003.  He has taught chemistry, all levels of physics, and currently teaches all four years of the engineering program. Having graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering, he sailed as a third assistant engineer on commercial merchant ships to fulfill his obligation. Deciding not to follow the design engineering path thereafter, he moved up his plans to teach and followed his true passion — changing lives through hands-on education.

 

Leyton Torres is finishing his junior year at Fredericksburg High School and has been in the SystemsGo engineering classes since his freshman year. He has always been a problem solver, driven by challenges and new opportunities. He volunteered at the 2021 SystemsGo launches for two days, totaling about 24 hours, and assisted in launching a record-breaking 40 rockets in one day. He is now interested in pursuing a career in aerospace engineering.

 

In our conversation, Andrew shares how he first learned about SystemsGo’s innovative high school rocketry and aerospace curriculum, and what made him decide to bring the program to his school. Leyton discusses helping with the launches and building rockets in past years, the obstacles he encountered, and how SystemsGo changed his future goals.

 

In explaining how SystemsGo encourages students to develop an emotional connection to their projects, Matthes says, “The fact that they take ownership over everything ... when it flies, they’ve got a lot of heart and emotion and commitment put into their rocket, and I think it sticks with them much longer knowing that it’s 100% theirs.”

 

To learn more about SystemsGo, visit www.systemsgo.org.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Trevor Bennett – Cofounder of Starfish Space

June 16, 2021 @ 8:38 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Trevor Bennett, cofounder of Starfish Space — a software, robotics, and autonomous space infrastructure company developing satellite servicing and space debris capture missions. Their current products include the Otter space tug, Cephalopod software, and Nautilus capture mechanism.

 

Trevor earned his PhD in Aerospace from the University of Colorado where he was a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow and was also spotlighted in the Aviation Week “20 Twenties.” Trevor has worked at both NASA Goddard and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on robotic missions, and for Blue Origin on the New Glenn launch vehicle.

 

In our conversation, Bennet explains what led him to cofound Starfish Space and focus on these specific aspects of the space ecosystem, why space debris is a critical issue from his perspective, what sets Starfish apart from other companies developing technologies for space debris capture, the company’s upcoming in-orbit test launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9, and more.

 

In explaining the role that Starfish Space would like to play in the space infrastructure of the future, Trevor says, “If we are able to provide some component of that industry and do in-space mining, in-space recycling, in-space manufacturing — I think that’s really where the space industry kicks off and starts doing amazing things.”

 

To learn more about Starfish Space, visit starfishspace.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Tom Smokov & Craig Fairclough — Water Pure Technologies

April 21, 2021 @ 9:01 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Tom Smokov, Cofounder and CEO, and Craig Fairclough, President, of Water Pure Technologies. Over the past 25 years, Smokov’s entrepreneurial vision has driven innovations in the way water is treated and filtered. He’s worked with federal, state, and international water quality codes, and his research has been focused on the development of safer, long-term solutions for point-of-use water treatment based on proven science and testing. Craig Fairclough came to Water Pure after 18 years in sales management, and together their goal is to provide the best possible drinking water throughout the world.

 

In this conversation, our guests explain how the water we believe to be clean can still contain bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, or hormones. Using a Nano Water Filtration Technology codeveloped by NASA for use on the International Space Station, these contaminants can be reduced by 99.999999%. Water Pure Technologies believes that clean drinking water is a human right, and they participate in many humanitarian efforts to supply clean water to regions of developing nations in need.

 

In discussing the high performance of their filter, Smokov says, “This is a game-changing filter, as far as its ability to save lives, treat lots of water, and it really does a great job. It's got the highest reduction of bacteria and viruses tested to date.”

 

To learn more about Water Pure Technologies and their line of products, visit waterpuretechnologies.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Tracy Fanara – NOAA Scientist/Program Manager & ‘Inspector Planet’

April 14, 2021 @ 10:49 am

In this episode:

We meet environmental engineer Dr. Tracy Fanara, a research scientist and program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where she works with other scientists and engineers from around the world to understand and forecast Earth systems. Before joining NOAA, Tracy managed the Environmental Health research program at Mote Marine Laboratory where she was called on as an expert in the Florida Water Crises, during which The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore called her, "The face of red tide.” Fanara earned her BS, ME, and PhD from the University of Florida.

 

In addition to appearing in hundreds of written and broadcast news outlets, as well as Saturday morning educational television programs on Fox, CBS and ABC, you may have also seen Tracy on The Weather Channel, Animal Outtakes, Weird Earth, or on the Science Channel’s MythBusters and What on Earth?Additionally, Fanara produces her own series of Inspector Planet videos.

 

In our conversation, Tracy discusses her passionate quest to help people understand our connectedness to Earth’s systems, resources, and other species. She also explains her Coastal Modeling Portfolio Manager job at NOAA, how satellites help monitor algae blooms like red tide, the work she’s done for NASA researching the use of aquaponics for space missions, and why she decided to use media appearances as a way to be a role model for girls interested in future STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

 

In explaining the important role that space plays in studying and protecting our own planet, Fanara says, “It’s absolutely necessary that we look at Earth from space. That we understand how all of our Earth systems work together in order to answer the big questions, especially in a changing world.”

 

To learn more about Tracy’s various projects, visit inspectorplanet.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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