Athena Brensberger - Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC

May 14, 2020 @ 12:47 pm

In this episode:

We meet Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC, Athena Brensberger. 

Athena advocates for space exploration through her platform Astroathens, which is a website, YouTube channel and various social media platforms combined where people can find DIY videos for astrophysics demos, rocket launch coverage and look behind-the-scenes at space ports and events around the world!

She has worked with Seeker, Futurism and most recently Arianespace, as a correspondent on all things astronomy and rocket science. Athena conducted research on protoplanetary disks --early formation of planetary systems like our solar system!

Athena tell us how her passions, astrophysics, theater and fashion intersect and how space really reaches all walks of life. She is a self-proclaimed Astrophysicist Barbie.

Learn more about Astroathens at https://astroathens.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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Laura Forczyk - Space Consultant

May 7, 2020 @ 9:19 am

In this episode:

We meet Laura Forczyk, owner of Astralytical, a space consulting firm specializing in space science, industry, and policy, and offering space career coaching services.

Laura is a NASA Subject Matter Expert for planetary science missions and serves on the advisory boards for the Lifeboat Foundation and the Society of Women in Space Exploration. In addition, she serves as a mentor for the Brooke Owens Fellowship program. 

Laura tells us about her recently released book, Rise of the Space Age Millennials. She interviewed 100 millennials to write the book, exploring where the space industry is heading and what the future leaders of the space industry hope to see happen in their lifetimes.

Laura also does a lot of coaching with students, helping to prepare them for a career in space. In this episode, she also offers bits of advice for listeners to use in their own careers. 

You can find Rise of the Space Age Millennials online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble website, or get a signed copy on Laura’s website, https://www.astralytical.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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Will Pomerantz – Virgin Orbit

April 29, 2020 @ 5:45 pm

In this episode:

We meet Will Pomerantz, Vice President of Special Projects and Brand at Virgin Orbit in Glendale, California. He has been a part of the XPRIZE Team, a weightless flight coach with Zero Gravity Corporation, and was a founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship. He has worked with Futron Inc., the International Space University, and the United Nations. He has also done a TEDx Talk entitled, “Why We Go: Leaving Our Beautiful Home and Exploring Outer Space.”

In this conversation, Will discusses how he decided space was the place for him career wise when he was growing up, his start at Virgin Galactic, what he does now at Virgin Orbit, and how small satellite launch needs have evolved. He also describes how Virgin Orbit was able to quickly pivot from launch and commercial space activities to producing ventilators to support COVID-19 efforts, taking their ventilator design from concept to production within a month.

In discussing future Virgin Orbit projects, Will says, “I have really come to deeply love and admire the small satellite industry. I’ve gone from being a little bit of a skeptic at first, to believing that this is something that’s going to have an enormous impact on the planet.”

To learn more about Virgin Orbit, visit virginorbit.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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Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj – Science in the Wild Founder

April 15, 2020 @ 10:04 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj, a glaciologist, geologist, climatologist, and planetologist. After earning her PhD, she went on to complete postdoctoral research at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and launched an adventure and citizen science company called Science in the Wild, which offers participants the chance to go on expeditions and collect scientific data. Ulyana is also an instructor for a citizen science program called Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), and a visiting professor of environmental science at Colorado College. 

In this conversation, Ulyana discusses how she first got interested in space and science, the meaning of “citizen science,” and shares her experiences as commander of a deep space mission simulation as a part of NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA XII) project. She also describes the similarities between working at high mountain elevations and being an astronaut in space, offers advice for women trying to get into scientific professions, and explains what her ideal mission destination would be if she were to be selected for the upcoming NASA class for which she is an applicant.

In discussing her research work in high mountain elevations such as the Nepal Himalayas, Ulyana says, “Twenty [thousand] to 23,000 feet is the kind of the realm I've been working in, and you still have to function in order to collect samples for the research. I think I really just enjoy both the physical and mental challenges that come along with the high-altitude climbing and the science.”

For more information about Ulyana's Science in the Wild initiative, visit www.scienceinthewild.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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Bill Gattle – President of Space Systems, L3Harris Technologies

March 30, 2020 @ 1:34 pm

In this episode:

We meet Bill Gattle, the President of Space Systems for L3Harris Technologies, Space and Airborne Systems Segment, which covers an extensive portfolio of solutions in intelligence, surveillance, small satellites, electronic warfare, and avionics. Previously, Bill was President of Space and Intelligence Systems for Harris Corporation prior to their merger with L3 Technologies last year. He is also a board member of the Space Foundation, the University of Florida’s Dean’s Advisory Board, and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation.

In this episode, Bill explains what inspired him to go into the space industry in 1987, some of the early projects he worked on, lessons learned in the Harris Corporation-L3 Technologies merger, the growing importance of small satellites, protecting our assets in space, how the creation of the Space Force is changing the space industry, as well as his thoughts on mentorship and the skills that companies like L3Harris will look for in their future employees. 

In discussing the steps teachers should take to get their students interested in the STEM workforce of the future, Bill said, “It used to be that we’d have a wonderment about space, so we’d just love the aspect of learning about it. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mechanics of what we’re learning, we don’t see the wonder of what we’re creating, and what we’re doing. With the world changing so fast, I think we’ve got to create that wonder in students again.”

For more information on L3Harris Technologies, visit their site at l3harris.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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Dr. Tanya Harrison - Professional Martian

March 25, 2020 @ 11:57 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Tanya Harrison, who describes herself a “professional Martian.” She has spent the last decade working as a scientist on mission operations on multiple NASA Mars missions, including the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. 

Tanya specializes in geomorphology, the study of a planet’s evolution based on its surface features. Before her Mars work, Tanya had her head in the stars as an astronomer studying the metal content of star clusters and recurring novae systems. 

She tells us about how she developed a passion for space and science and explains more about geomorphology. Tanya shares the detective work she does when looking at a photo of Mars and how she uses her knowledge to help further our studies of the red planet. Tanya is also an advocate for advancing the status of women in science and for accessibility in the geosciences.  She also talks about being one of the organizers of the annual Women in Space conference.

Tanya tells us about her new book For All Humankind, a collection of true stories based on interviews with people who watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing live but from outside the U.S. The book is available on Amazon and at ForAllHumankind.Space. 

You can follow her on Twitter @tanyaofmars.

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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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 Two

February 12, 2020 @ 8:39 am

In this episode:

We continue our conversation with Alan Ladwig, the author of “See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight.” Between 1981 and 1990, Alan held a variety of positions at NASA Headquarters, including Director of Special Projects for the Office of Exploration and Manager of the Shuttle Student Involvement Program. Alan was also Manager of NASA’s Space Flight Participant program in the 1980s, which included the “Teacher in Space” project, most famously known for its selection of Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher and civilian to be chosen to participate in spaceflight.

In this second part of our conversation, Alan discusses how Russia played an early role in paving the way for civilian passengers to travel to the International Space Station, the plans that four companies currently have to develop commercial space stations for civilian use, how the arts are regarded within the space community, and how the prohibitive cost of space travel hinders the democratization of space.

In discussing how high costs prevent more access to space, Alan said, “We want space to be an environment that is experienced by a wider range of people. Not just scientists, engineers... Not trained astronauts and cosmonauts, but people from all walks of life. Because … space is just an extension of who we are.”

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.

Click here for Part One of this conversation.

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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