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Steven Hawley — Former NASA Astronaut, Hubble Space Telescope & Chandra X-ray Observatory Missions

December 15, 2021 @ 4:30 pm

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Steven Hawley, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas, and former NASA astronaut who’s flown on five Space Shuttle missions. In those missions, Hawley had major roles in the deployment and later upkeep of the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

 

In our conversation, Dr. Hawley discusses the first telescope he owned, the 1991 Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, his role in its deployment, why it initially didn’t operate as intended, what it’s told us about our universe, his later role in the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and his thoughts on the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

 

In describing his first space mission deploying the bus-sized Hubble in 1991, Hawley says, “My job was to operate the arm to grasp the telescope, lift it out of the payload bay, and release it. Well, that sounds simple enough on the surface. It actually was quite complicated, and there were a lot of ‘what-ifs’ that we had to think about.”

 

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

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, NASA, Astronaut, Telescope · Comments

Dorit Donoviel — Director, Translational Research Institute for Space Health

December 8, 2021 @ 9:07 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Dorit Donoviel, director of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH). She is also director of the Biomedical Innovation Laboratory and associate professor of Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Donoviel’s work revolves around performing research and developing strategies aimed at reducing health and safety risks to astronauts in long-duration space missions. She has received numerous awards for her work, including NASA’s Group Achievement Award for work as a member of the Executive Steering Committee for “The Impact of Sex and Gender on Adaptation to Space,” a collection of six scientific articles published in The Journal of Women's Health.

In our conversation Donoviel discusses how her career in the space ecosystem began, what inspired her to do the research she does, changes that occur in the human body in space, how space health includes both physical and behavioral health, the TRISH-sponsored research conducted by the civilian crew on the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, and her thoughts on the importance of mentorship.

Explaining the importance of racial and gender diversity in tracking the health of humans in space, Donoviel says, “You go back to the Sixties; we’ve been in space for 60 years… Roughly 530-something-odd people have been to space. That’s like 10 a year. And as a biologist — as a person who studies particularly humans — you need more than that! You need a lot more people. And you need diversity in your sample.”

To learn more about TRISH, visit https://www.bcm.edu/academic-centers/space-medicine/translational-research-institute

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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Will Henry – Writer & Producer, “The High Frontier: The Untold Story of Gerard K. O‘Neill”

November 18, 2021 @ 10:14 am

In this episode:

We meet Will Henry, award-winning filmmaker, producer and writer of the documentary film The High Frontier: The Untold Story of Gerard K. O'Neill, released on September 15th of this year. Will is the Creative Director and Senior Producer at Multiverse Media, a media company focusing on space exploration and science and technology. He is also currently producing an eight-part television series in association with NASA, and is the writer and producer of The Legendary Podcast, a monthly podcast dedicated to sharing stories of perseverance and glory from the world’s top athletes.

 

In our conversation, Will discusses how he ended up working on the film, how long it took to take it from concept to release, how difficult it was to encapsulate a 30-year period of O’Neill’s eventful life into documentary film length, how they were able to round up Gerry’s family and associates to participate, and how much O’Neill’s work then has inspired today’s commercial space travel efforts.

 

Discussing O’Neill’s inventiveness, Will says, “He was a prolific inventor. He invented the particle accelerator; he invented the chambers that made that work. He also invented the precursor to GPS, and he predicted a lot of what we use today, you know — things like the Kindle to self-driving cars. And it’s just incredible how way ahead of his time he was.”

 

To learn more about the documentary, visit thehighfrontiermovie.com. To learn more about Will and his projects, visit willhenryfilm.com or catch him on Twitter @WillTHenry.

 

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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Libby Jackson – UK Space Agency Human Exploration Programme Manager & “Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure” Author

October 27, 2021 @ 2:56 pm

In this episode:

We meet Libby Jackson, the Human Exploration Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, and author of two books for young people on space exploration: Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space published in 2018, and the recently published Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure. Libby is one of Britain’s leading experts in human spaceflight and she’s passionate about sharing stories on that topic with young people to encourage them to follow their passions in life.

Space was Libby’s childhood inspiration, and she has worked in the space industry since she earned her degrees in Physics from Imperial College and Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University. She began working at Europe's control center for the International Space Station as a flight instructor and controller in 2007, and a few years later, became director for the European Space Agency’s ISS Columbus module. She joined the UK Space Agency in 2014 as spokesperson for the first British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station and has remained there since.

 

In our conversation, Jackson explains how she wrote a “Travel Guide to Mars” when she was just nine years old, how, at age 17, she shadowed a mission control worker at NASA Johnson Space Center, what it was like working at Europe’s control center for the International Space Station, what inspired her to write her new book, and how the stories in it go beyond just facts — to include the emotions that the explorers experienced on their missions.

 

Describing her objective in writing her newest book, Libby says, “Here’s a book I wish I had when I was 10, or 11 or 12. Something that tells these fantastic stories, gets behind just the pictures and the highlights of what you see. And I hope I get across just how exciting and brilliant a place [space] is.”

 

To learn more about Libby and her books, visit libbyjackson.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

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Homer Hickam – Bestselling Author

October 18, 2021 @ 3:31 pm

In this episode:

We meet Homer Hickam, author of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling memoir Rocket Boys and its ever-popular movie adaptation, October SkyRocket Boys is the story of a young man and his friends in Coalwood, West Virginia, who, inspired by the space age, started building and launching rockets, which was just the beginning of a fantastic career that eventually took Homer to NASA. Since he published that first book, he has written more than a dozen fictional and nonfictional bestsellers.

On October 26, Hickam will release a new follow-up memoir to Rocket Boys titled Don't Blow Yourself Up. This story includes tales of his life and times during the next 40 years that take the reader to college, Vietnam, underwater, NASA, and to remote locations looking for dinosaur bones.

In our conversation, Hickam details his memoir writing process, what it was like to pioneer the infamous Virginia Tech Skipper game cannon, his time at NASA, meeting Elon Musk at adult Space Camp, becoming an avid amateur paleontologist, and why he would be considered an old Grinch on a suborbital flight.

 

In discussing whether he is an actual Renaissance man, Homer says, “I wonder if the people during the actual Renaissance thought of themselves as Renaissance people — I don’t think you know that until you look back. I love the idea of having an adventure in my life and, and when it’s presented to me, I just grab it, and I just go with it, and I just want to make it happen so much.”

To learn more about Homer Hickam and his newest book, Don't Blow Yourself Up, visit https://homerhickam.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

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, NASA · Comments

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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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

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, Space Technology, space economy, satellites, space infrastructure · Comments

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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Chris Carberry – Cofounder/CEO of Explore Mars, Inc.

March 24, 2021 @ 7:51 am

In this episode:

We meet Chris Carberry, Cofounder/CEO of Explore Mars, Inc., and president of the Space Drinks Association. Prior to his tenure with Explore Mars, Chris served as executive director of The Mars Society. He is also the author of the book Alcohol in Space: Past, Present, and Future and he has penned more than a hundred articles published in a number of highly respected publications around the world.

 

Carberry has also been interviewed hundreds of times for print and online publications, as well as local, national, and international radio and television outlets. He has extensive political and policy outreach experience with both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and has testified to both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.

 

Explore Mars is a nonprofit organization created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars by the end of the 2030s. They are the creators and hosts of the annual Humans to Mars Summit (H2M), the largest Mars exploration conference in the world, which hosts experts from NASA and other international space agencies, as well as policy makers, and members of academia and the entertainment industry. They also conduct significant STEM and educational outreach activities for students, young professionals, and other space advocates.

 

In our conversation, Chris discusses how his passion for the Red Planet began, what led him to cofound Explore Mars, his opinion on what’s currently the greatest hindrance to getting boots on Mars, what the recently landed Perseverance rover will do to advance the quest to get humans on Mars, the history and future of alcohol in space, and NASA’s current budget and spending with regard to future Mars missions.

 

In describing the percentage of the Federal budget that currently goes toward the space program and how much a mission to Mars would cost, Carberry says, “We’ll probably spend roughly the same amount on NASA over the next 15 to 20 years whether we go to Mars or not, or we go back to the Moon or not. You know, we can either find ourselves 20 years down the line pretty much where we are now, saying, ‘Well, maybe in the next 15 to 20 years we’ll be able to go to Mars,’ and having spent all that money — or have spent the money and say, ‘We have returned to the Moon, we are now walking on Mars.’”

 

To learn more about Explore Mars, visit exploremars.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

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, Mars · Comments

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