Space Archive

Jonathan Gardner – Deputy Senior Project Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope

February 25, 2021 @ 7:35 pm

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Jonathan Gardner, the Deputy Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and the Chief of the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology in the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA Goddard. He received his bachelor’s degree in Astronomy in Astrophysics from Harvard University, and then attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii, earning a master’s degree and a PhD in Astronomy. He began working on Webb as a member of the Ad-Hoc Science Working Group in the late 1990s, and then joined the project as the Deputy Senior Project Scientist in 2002.

 

The James Webb Space Telescope project began in 1996 and is currently scheduled for launch on October 31, 2021. It will be the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built and launched into space — 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and it promises to fundamentally alter our understandings of the universe. The telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, and with an almost $10 billion price tag it's one of the most expensive space missions in history.

 

In our conversation, Dr. Gardner explains how Webb will be able to see the first light created in the universe after the big bang 13.5 billion years ago, how it will create a 3D model of our universe together with Hubble, how it’ll have the capability to detect signs of life in the atmospheres of 300+ exoplanets, and he tells us when the public will begin to see images of what Webb is observing.

 

Sharing what he's looking forward to most about the mission, Gardner says, “I’m most excited about the fact that whenever we put up a new capability that is a hundred times better than anything that’s happened before ... we find discoveries that we really were not expecting.”

 

To learn more about the James Webb Space Telescope, visit webb.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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Jack Gregg, Author of ‘The Cosmos Economy’

February 10, 2021 @ 9:18 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Jack Gregg, author of the forthcoming book The Cosmos Economy, currently scheduled for publication on March 14, 2021. Dr. Gregg has served in corporate learning as the Founding Dean of the Space Sector Corporate University at Northrop Grumman, and in the nonprofit sector as Executive Director of the California Space Authority.

 

Dr. Gregg has also held leadership positions in public and private higher education, as Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at Loyola Marymount University, and as Assistant Dean at the University of California-Irvine, California State University-Long Beach, and the University of California-Riverside.

 

In our conversation, Dr. Gregg discusses what the cosmos economy is, how the drivers for the cosmos economy are different compared to those of the space economy, the role of governments in developing the cosmos economy, and the skills and jobs that are going to be in the highest demand.

 

Referring to the questions he’s sought to answer in his research and writing, Dr. Gregg says, “What are the industries that will thrive in space? How will space business differ from Earth business? How will the cosmos economy impact Earth’s industries and economy? When will all this stuff start to happen? And how will investors and entrepreneurs know they’re on the right track?”

 

To learn more about the cosmos economy visit http://cosmoseconomy.com, and to preorder Dr. Gregg’s book, go to https://www.amazon.com/Cosmos-Economy-Industrialization-Space/dp/3030625680.

 

Note: This podcast was recorded in December 2020 and mentions an anticipated publication date for “The Cosmos Economy” in January 2021. The confirmed release date for the book is now March 14, 2021.

 

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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Jason Reimuller – Executive Director, International Institute for Astronautical Sciences & Project PoSSUM

January 27, 2021 @ 9:16 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Jason Reimuller, Executive Director of both the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) and Project PoSSUM, a nonprofit astronautics research and education program within the IIAS studying our upper atmosphere and its role in our changing global climate. Jason is also Co-Investigator of NASA’s PMC-Turbo experiment and works as a commercial research pilot and flight test engineer with atmospheric remote-sensing company GATS, Inc. He is a National Association of Underwater Instructors scuba divemaster, has authored the book Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations, and formerly served as a system engineer and project manager for NASA’s Constellation Program.

 

In our conversation, Jason explains how little we understand about our planet's upper atmosphere, noctilucent cloud dynamics and how they're indicators for changes in global climate, the many aspects of Project PoSSUM, how it advocates for underrepresented groups in the space community, and whether he personally has an interest in being involved in the space missions of the future.

 

Explaining his part in Project PoSSUM, Jason says, “You know, my first role in this organization is to serve our community ... serve the community, and to make sure that what we’re all doing is preserving that historic role and the imperative of what astronauts have been.”

 

To learn more about the IIAS, go to https://astronauticsinstitute.org, and for more on Project PoSSUM visit https://projectpossum.org. Candidate applications for the Out Astronaut program that Jason mentions in this conversation are being accepted through Jan. 31, 2021, at https://outastronaut.org/contest/.

 

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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Emily Carney – Space Hipster, Writer, and Podcaster

January 20, 2021 @ 10:53 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Emily Carney, a leading social media influencer, writer, and public speaker highly knowledgeable on a number of human spaceflight topics. She was formerly a nuclear propulsion mechanic for the U.S. Navy, and also a schoolteacher for a time. She was working as a freelance writer when she founded her blog This Space Available in 2010, which is was later picked up by the National Space Society, and then she created the hugely popular Space Hipsters Facebook group in 2011, which recently passed the 20,000-member mark. In addition to those ongoing endeavors, she is also cohost of the new Space and Things podcast.

 

In our conversation, Emily describes what sparked her interest in space, her time in the Navy, the ethos and community behind Space Hipsters, her favorite historical space figures and spaceflight programs, the recent successes in space that excite her the most, and whether she has ever considered any other roles in the space community.

 

Commenting on what she feels is a critical mindset for the future of spaceflight, Emily says, "I think it's important for us to go forward, and to be future-thinking and to think, 'Okay, what are we going to be doing in space 50 to 100 years from now? How are we going to expand our civilization, and are we going to expand it into space? How are we going to use this technology in a positive way?'"

 

Note: This podcast was recorded on December 14, 2020. Since the recording took place, the Space Hipsters Facebook group surpassed 20,000 members. Also, mentions of the SpaceX SN8 Starship launch are in reference to the first high-altitude test flight of that prototype, which occurred on December 9, 2020.

 

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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Sarah Cruddas – Space Journalist

December 16, 2020 @ 9:53 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Sarah Cruddas, an accomplished space journalist, international TV host, and award-winning author from the United Kingdom. A global thought leader in the growing commercial space sector, Sarah’s many talents and her background in astrophysics have led her to opportunities such as being a host for “Contact” on Discovery Channel and Science Channel, as well as making regular appearances on Sky, the BBC, CNN, People Television, ITV News, and more. Sarah has authored four books about space exploration, including her latest: “Look Up: Our Story with the Stars.”

 

In our conversation, Sarah discusses what led her to pursue a career in the space community and what it’s like being an international space journalist. She also gives unique insight into being a communicator within the science world, the private space industry, and the global space economy.

 

Sarah, who was first inspired to pursue a space career as a teen attending Space Camp in the U.S., says “My whole life, space has been my passion. It’s there from the start. For me, I would always say to people who ask, ‘Why would you care about space?’ My answer would be: ‘Why would you not care about space?’ It’s as much about philosophy and a search for meaning as it is about science.”

 

For more information about Sarah, visit her website at https://sarahcruddas.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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Sarah Noble – NASA Program Scientist, Psyche Mission

December 9, 2020 @ 10:34 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Dr. Sarah Noble, a planetary geologist at NASA headquarters and the Program Scientist for the Psyche mission. She was previously the Program Scientist for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, and the Deputy Program Scientist for Mars 2020. In addition to her involvement with Psyche, she is currently the Program Scientist for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

 

Psyche was only the sixteenth asteroid identified when it was discovered in 1852. It is roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts and resides in the solar system's main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It’s thought to be the exposed remnant core of a protoplanet — a planet that began to form, but then lost its outer layers due to collisions that occurred billions of years ago. Unlike most asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, it is believed that Psyche is composed mostly of iron and nickel (similar to the Earth’s core), which is why the Psyche mission spacecraft will be studying an asteroid more than 300 million miles away to learn more about our home planet’s core.

 

In this episode, Sara explains her role in the Psyche mission, what phase the mission is currently in, why we think we know what the asteroid is composed of, the spacecraft’s instruments and propulsion, how long the mission will take to complete, and much more.

 

For more information about the Psyche mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/psyche and https://psyche.asu.edu.

 

To view the Psyche-inspired artwork Sarah mentioned in the episode, visit https://psyche.asu.edu/psyche-inspired-showcase/, and for information on submitting your own artwork, go to https://psyche.asu.edu/get-involved/psyche-space-crafty/.

 

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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Dylan Taylor – Voyager Space Holdings & Space for Humanity

November 4, 2020 @ 11:24 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Dylan Taylor, who is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry as a CEO, investor, thought leader, and futurist. Currently, Dylan serves as Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, a multinational space holding firm that acquires and integrates leading space exploration enterprises globally. He previously served as a director for Fortune 500 company UMB Bank and is the former Global President of Colliers International. Dylan is also the founder and board chairman of the nonprofit organization Space for Humanity, and a cofounding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

 

In this episode, Dylan discusses what inspired him to shift his professional focus from banking and real estate to financing space exploration, his thoughts on how commercial space and government agencies can harmoniously complement each other, which space initiatives have the best chance of being realized in the near future, and shares Voyager’s ethos for acquisitions. He gives what he believes are realistic timelines for humans returning to the Moon and getting boots on the ground on Mars, and also shares his reasons behind founding Space for Humanity.

 

In describing Space for Humanity’s mission and criteria for selecting the citizen astronauts they intend to send to space via commercial space flights, Taylor says, “That narrative can be, look at these amazing kinda ‘everyday citizens’ that are committed to going to space, coming back, and the covenant is: ‘We’ll send you, no cost to you — but when you come back, you need to impact the world in a positive way.’ So, it’s sort of a fellowship, if you will.”

 

To learn more about Voyager Space Holdings, visit https://voyagerspaceholdings.com.

 

Note: This podcast was recorded on May 19, 2020, predating the successful SpaceX/NASA Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch (originally slated for May 27, 2020, actually launched on May 30, 2020), which is why it is referred to here in future tense and as occurring on a different date. This recording also refers to a lack of mask wearing in Colorado which predates the statewide mandatory mask order instituted by Governor Jared Polis on July 16, 2020.

 

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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Steve Howard – Spaceport Camden

October 7, 2020 @ 9:04 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Steve Howard, County Administrator of Camden County, Georgia, and project lead for Spaceport Camden, currently in development. As project lead, Steve is working to realize Spaceport Camden’s mission of developing a world-class spaceport through a public-private partnership that will establish Camden County as the commercial space center of the United States. Howard also sits on the board of directors for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

 

In our conversation, Steve explains why Camden County is a prime location for a commercial spaceport, the area’s space heritage dating back to the 1960s, how the commercial sector is driving the need for a spaceport like this, and the beneficial assets this particular geographic location has to offer. He also discusses some of the hurdles involved in establishing a spaceport, how the region has embraced the project, how it will change the state, and what he foresees for future of the spaceport in five to ten years’ time.

 

In detailing what sets Spaceport Camden apart from government-run launch facilities, and the importance of having spaceports available solely to commercial space companies, Steve says, “What Georgia can offer is a clean slate — where the appropriate requirements of NASA and the military will never impact the commercial schedule.”

 

To learn more about Spaceport Camden, visit https://spaceportcamden.us.  

 

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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Aaron Shepard – NASA Robotics Intern & Founder of Cogito

September 2, 2020 @ 8:34 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Aaron Shepard, an In Space Assembly Robotics Intern at NASA Langley, and a Robotics Research Assistant at Clemson University College of Engineering and Science. Aaron also works at R&D Engineering Co-Op, Itron, Inc., and is the Founder/CEO of Cogito, a company dedicated to inspiring young people through STEM outreach.

 

He is affiliated with the Mars Generation, an international nonprofit organization that works to excite people of all ages about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and human space exploration, and is currently a member of the organization's Student Space Ambassador Leadership Board, where he serves as chair of the outreach committee. He works as a tutor and mentor for the PEER & WISE program at Clemson, which helps to give underrepresented students studying STEM subjects the resources and tools they need to follow their dreams of STEM and space, and he has also given a TEDx talk entitled Make America Space Again.

 

In this conversation Aaron talks about what inspired him to switch from his initial career path of medicine to robotics, gives details on how he got into his internship at NASA, shares his thoughts on the future of robots in space exploration, touches on his company Cogito, describes his favorite robot project that he’s currently working on, and explains how he thinks international cooperation will help achieve our goals in space.

 

In describing how robots will eventually build human habitats on other planets, Aaron says, “I’d say we’re within a 20-year range of having fully autonomous robot construction crew in space ... I think that’s possible.”

 

To learn more about Aaron’s new company Cogito, visit cogitobrains.com.

 

Note: This episode refers to the successful July 30, 2020 launch of the Perseverance Mars Rover and Ingenuity helicopter in future tense because the podcast was recorded on July 23, 2020.

 

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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Jason Held – Saber Astronautics

August 5, 2020 @ 8:10 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, a mission control operations software and services company, with locations in Sydney, Australia, and Boulder, Colorado, USA. Prior to founding Saber, Jason was a Major in the U.S. Army's USSTRATCOM (Space Command) during which time he served as an active-duty engineer at Army Space and Missile Command Battle Lab. Later, as a civilian, he wrote flight software for the Hubble Space Telescope and testing for the International Space Station. He has lectured for the IRS Space Station Design Workshop, the University of New South Wales, and the International Space University. He also led a research expedition in the high Canadian Arctic, and he has served on the Australian government's Expert Reference Group designing their space agency.

 

In this conversation Jason explains how his passion for space began in childhood, yet he felt space jobs were inaccessible due to his academic struggles. He details how he believes that the perceived hurdles to space jobs can be overcome to achieve the democratization of space. He also discusses the capabilities of Saber's PIGI satellite tracking software, and how Saber partnered with an Australian craft brewery to create a recipe and drinking vessel that allows beer to be consumed in space.

 

In describing his feelings about the democratization of space, Jason says, “Space is something that anybody can do. You know, if someone like myself, with the history I had on the academic side can pull into it, I think anybody can... So, the more exposure that you have to it at a young age, the more you’re going to be ready for the markets that are going to come up, and the space jobs that are going to come up in 10 to 20 years’ time.”

 

To learn more about Saber Astronautics, visit saberastro.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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