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Judy Cara - Planetarium & STEM Director

February 28, 2020 @ 9:01 am

In this episode:

We meet Judy Cara, Project Manager for the Planetarium and STEM Center at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Judy recently oversaw a massive makeover of the planetarium, which had been closed to the public for 15 years and reopened on March 3, 2019. Their attendance goal for the first year was 25,000 visitors, and as they approach their one-year mark, they’ve had 41,000 visitors and counting.

In this conversation, Judy talks about how she was initially more interested in the arts than in STEM fields, and the experiences she had that changed her interests. She also discusses the new technology and other upgrades visitors will enjoy at the planetarium, points out that not all the shows they present are just space related, and how, beyond just visual presentations, the planetarium also offers hands-on STEM activities for field trip classes.

To illustrate how inspiring a visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Planetarium can be, Judy says, “Just last week we had Colonel Nick Hague here, who is a graduate and an astronaut. And he talks about how, when he was six years old, he went to that planetarium with his dad and that’s what convinced him he should apply to become a cadet, and then subsequently an astronaut.”

Free shows are held for planetarium visitors Monday through Friday, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. For details and things to know before visiting the planetarium, visit www.usafa.edu/planetarium.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Alan Ladwig - Author, Part One

January 30, 2020 @ 1:34 pm

In this episode:

We meet author of "See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight" by Alan Ladwig. Between 1981 to 1990, Alan held a variety of positions at NASA Headquarters, including Manager of the Space Flight Participant Program, Director of Special Projects for the Office of Exploration, and Manager of the Shuttle Student Involvement Program. In addition, Alan was in charge of NASA’s Space Flight Participant program in the 1980s, which included the Teacher in Space Program, most famously known for its selection of Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher, and civilian to be chosen to fly to space.

Alan tells us about how he came to work for NASA the day before a government hiring freeze. Alan also shares insights into the thousands of letters he received and would respond to from citizens who wanted to go to space, including one young man who wrote countless letters and kept his dream and eventually worked with NASA and has a commercial spaceflight booked.

Alan also shares the process that was involved with the selection of sending a teacher to space, including the original debate, who should go to space? A teacher? Journalist? Jacques Cousteau's son? Walter Cronkite?

For more information on Alan and his current pursuits, visit his website at toorbitproductions.com, and visit his Facebook page to view his space-inspired artwork. Alan’s book is available for purchase at amazon.com.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this podcast, coming soon.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Paul Francis – Inventor

January 23, 2020 @ 11:56 am

In this episode:

We meet Paul Francis, an award-winning inventor.

Paul invented SpiraFlex resistance technology for NASA‘s Mission Critical program to counteract astronaut bone and muscle loss caused by zero gravity. Paul tells us about his journey as an inventor and how he came to work with NASA on the technology that would be used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Paul reminds us that to be a successful inventor, one needs to be persistent and able to accept failure in order to succeed.

A 16-week NASA study proved that Paul’s SpiraFlex resistant technology provided the same benefits as the gold standard of free weights. More than 50 International Space Station crew members have kept in shape for over 10 years using the SpiraFlex-powered Interim Resistive Exercise Device (iRED) invented by Paul.

Paul founded OYO Fitness to incorporate SpiraFlex technology into fitness equipment that can be used here on Earth – providing the same benefits as weights, without the weight. The company’s first product was the second most funded fitness product in Kickstarter history.

In 2019, the SpiraFlex iRED was inducted into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame®.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Laura Gehl - Children’s Book Author

December 13, 2019 @ 8:52 am

In this episode:

We meet children's author and neuroscientist Dr. Laura Gehl, who's written a biography of Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, the "Mother of Hubble." Titled Always Looking Up: Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer, the book tells the inspiring story of Nancy Grace Roman who overcame weak eyesight and gender discrimination to become Chief of Astronomy at NASA and lead the team that built the Hubble Space Telescope.

In addition to Always Looking Up, Laura has published a series of books introducing babies to scientific careers. Baby Astronaut was released in 2019. 

In addition to being a prolific children's book author with seven books from major publishers in 2019 alone, Laura Gehl is the mother of four and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

Laura tells us what it is like transitioning from a neuroscientist to a children’s book author, and how she chooses the topics and themes of her books, including the story of how Always Looking Up came to be. The idea was a suggestion from former Space4U podcast guest, Stephen Garber!

Laura also shares what it was like working with Dr. Roman. In the course of their conversations, Dr. Roman shared much of her schoolwork, including an essay on Galileo, an essay on the Moon, and a perfect score on a math test. These endearing elements helped to shape the book into a story children can relate to. Nancy Grace was told that math and science were "masculine" subjects, that calculations and facts were best left to men, and she should study literature or history instead.

We hear about Laura’s love of science and the first-ever science fair at Casablanca American School in Morocco, organized by Laura. Hear all this and more in this episode of Space4U.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Devon Greco - Narbis Founder & CEO

December 5, 2019 @ 2:31 pm

In this episode:

We meet Devon Greco, Founder and CEO of Narbis. Devon is an entrepreneur, product engineer, and patented inventor focused on brain-machine interfaces and neurotechnology while specializing in human enhancement technologies.

He has 18 years' experience developing neurotechnology and neurofeedback with a focus on clinical and consumer applications. Narbis was recently named the latest Space Foundation Space Certification Partner.

Devon tells us about the NASA technology used in the Narbis glasses, a complex algorithm that uses three sensors on the head to monitor brain activity and help users learn the skills needed to stay focused on a certain task.

Devon also shares a little bit about his father who inspired him to do this type of work and his passion for helping others. Finally, Devon gives us a sneak peek at the upcoming plans for his company.

Learn more about the Narbis glasses by visiting narbis.com.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Richard Green - Space Artist

November 25, 2019 @ 10:07 am

In this episode:

We meet Richard Green, an accomplished digital artist who brings his passion for aerospace and technology to life in his award-winning work. Over the course of three decades, he has created a portfolio that has inspired and awed with technically accurate illustrations and 3D models, as well as fantastic, futuristic 3D graphics, and animations.

His work for the Space Foundation began in 2009 as the featured artist for the 25th Space Symposium. He also created poster art for the Space Symposium in 20012, 2013, and 2019.

In 2009, Richard was awarded the “Neutrino Prize” in CERN/ATLAS worldwide animation competition and his work has been published in Popular Science and Scientific American. He has worked with such industry leaders as the U.S. Air Force Space Command, Paccar, Loctronix, LucasArts Entertainment & Lucas Learning, Ltd., Sony Online Entertainment, Activision, and 2K Games.

Richard earned a degree in Industrial Design from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and his favorite (real and fictional) spaceships are the Saturn V rocket and the Millennium Falcon.

In this podcast, Richard walks us through his career and how he remained open to new ideas and types of work. He also tells us about his experience competing for the annual Space Symposium poster design. As the 2019 winner, Richard attended the 35th Space Symposium where he signed posters and met a future client for an exciting new project.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Chris Falk - Heatsheets President

November 1, 2019 @ 9:14 am

In this episode:

We meet the president of Space Foundation Certification Partner, Chris Falk. Chris purchased Heatsheets with a partner from its founder, David Deigan, in 2013. Chris is an avid endurance athlete with multiple Ironman, marathon and long biking events. 

Chris talks about his experience as an endurance athlete and why he wanted to purchase the company. He explains what makes Heatsheets different from other mylar blankets and the space technology used to create it. We learn about the applications of the Heatsheet, not only in endurance sports but its use in emergency situations and military applications as well. 

Chris tells us about how veteran amputee Kirstie Ennis, recipient of the 2019 Pat Tilmann ESPY Award, used a Heatsheet in an attempt to conquer the seven summits. He explains the joy that comes from stories like hers, as well as giving Heatsheets to exhausted marathoners post-race and from hearing from military members telling stories of using the product in times of need.

We also hear about the benefits of the Space Foundation Certification Seal. The Certification Seal is special recognition for successfully bringing the benefits of space technology to everyday lives on Earth. 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Bob Walker - Space Policy Advisor

October 15, 2019 @ 3:36 pm

In this episode:

We meet Bob Walker, former U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology, former chairman of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry, and current founder/CEO of Moonwalker Associates.

As a longtime advisor to presidents from Reagan to Trump, policymakers, and industry members on space exploration, Walker discusses topics that include: The changing landscape of the industries involved in the space program since the Moon landing 50 years ago, the advances that commercial space has made in the ensuing years, who the United States’ international competitors and allies in space are, and what his ideal personal space mission would be.

In covering the strengths of commercial space, Walker says, “Nowadays, people are beginning to realize that the commercial sector brings a lot of innovation, they bring a lot of new ideas, they bring more efficient technologies in many cases.”

To learn more about Walker’s current efforts with Moonwalker Associates, visit www.moonwalkerassociates.com or follow @moonwalkerassoc on Twitter.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Glen Asner & Stephen Garber - Historians & Authors

September 26, 2019 @ 3:41 pm

In this episode:

We meet historians and authors, Glen Asner and Stephen Garber from the Historical Office, Office of Secretary of Defense and NASA’s History Division. Glen and Stephen share insights into their new book, Origins of 21st Century Space Travel: A History of NASA’s Decadal Planning Team and the Vision for Space Exploration, 1999-2004 (NASA 2019).

Glen and Stephen detail the challenges and lessons learned in space exploration. This includes changes following the Shuttle Columbia accident; ongoing budget constraints and battles; the role played by politics in space exploration; and the rise and impact of the commercial development of space. As the historians they are, both Glen and Stephen also share who they wish they could interview from days of aerospace past.

The book is available for free on NASA.gov under the "E-Books" tab.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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Shawn Cochran - Civil and Environmental Space Manager

August 22, 2019 @ 8:19 pm

In this episode:

We meet Shawn Cochran, a senior manager for Civil and Environmental Space in Raytheon’s Space Systems, a mission area within Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. Prior to joining Space Systems, Shawn was the chief scientist for the Joint Polar Satellite System Common Ground System and the head of the Mission Data Services program for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. 

Shawn tells us about Raytheon's role in the Apollo missions 50 years ago and about Earth observation systems, in particular, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS data supports a broad and diverse range of applications, some of which are still being discovered. In addition to providing highly detailed information on emerging global storm patterns, VIIRS generates high-fidelity sea, land and atmospheric data for a variety of other applied products, including monitoring of wildfires, drought, flooding, vegetation health, algal blooms and nighttime phenomena.

Shawn provides the following advice to our listeners, "Ask, for help. Never be afraid." He explains how mentorship is a key to growing and developing in your skillset.

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) 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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