Video

ESA – Solar Orbiter, ExoMars & more, with director of science Günther Hasinger

We continue our series with countries around the world in this episode as we feature the European Space Agency (ESA). Joining us for this interview is Günther Hasinger, the director of science for ESA. Günther was born in Germany and earned his PhD in astronomy, later becoming a professor, researcher and author. He is the author of an award-winning book called Astronomy’s Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe, and the winner of the Wilhelm Foerster Prize for public dissemination of science.

In this interview we review several current and upcoming missions for ESA including Solar Orbiter, and its recent high-res images of the Sun from its first close approach this summer. Other missions discussed include Cheops (searching for exoplanets), BepiColumbo (Mercury Mission), and an extensive discussion on ExoMars and the upcoming 2022 launch of the Rosalind Franklin Rover, the first rover designed by ESA for Mars.

For more information, visit https://esa.int

Special thanks to Laen August of Alpha Control: A Lost in Space Podcast (https://alphacontrolpodcast.libsyn.com/website) for sharing his space journey in this episode!

Video & images Courtesy of ESA, NASA and SpaceX
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/

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The Summer of Mars: Perseverance & Ingenuity

In this episode our panel discusses NASA’s upcoming Perseverance mission, including its passenger Ingenuity, the first ever helicopter designed to fly on Mars. Targeted for launch in July 2020, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will seek signs of past life, set aside a returnable cache with the most compelling rock core and soil samples, and demonstrate technology needed for the future exploration of Mars.

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MEET OUR PANEL
Joining us for this panel are Jenna Foertsch (https://www.jennafoertsch.com/), Ken Ruffin (board of advisor for the National Space Society at https://space.nss.org/) and Christian Ready, astronomer and creator of Launchpad Astronomy (https://youtube.com/christianready).

Mars Perseverance Mission Overview
The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars Perseverance mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The Mars Perseverance rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.

The mission is timed for a launch opportunity in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars. That is, it takes less power to travel to Mars at this time, compared to other times when Earth and Mars are in different positions in their orbits. To keep mission costs and risks as low as possible, the Mars 2020 design is based on NASA’s successful Mars Science Laboratory mission architecture, including its Curiosity rover and proven landing system.

Mars 2020 Spacecraft
The spacecraft is the protective “spaceship” that enables the precious cargo (that is, the Perseverance rover!) to travel between Earth and Mars. It is separate from the launch vehicle that carries the spacecraft and the rover outside of Earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. The spacecraft includes the mechanical units that safely carry and maneuver the rover through the Martian atmosphere to a landing on Mars.

For more information, visit https://nasa.gov/perseverance

Video & images Courtesy of NASA/jpl-caltech

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JAXA – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency with astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata

We continue our series with countries around the world in this episode as we feature JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Joining us to discuss JAXA is astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata. Dr. Wakata has accumulated 347 days in space spanning four missions, setting a record in Japanese human space flight history for the longest stay in space. He has flown on three space shuttle missions, and a Soyuz mission, and became the first Japanese Commander of the International Space Station. Dr. Wakata has held several key positions with JAXA, including serving as JAXA Vice President and Senior Advisor.

In this interview, Dr. Wakata discusses JAXA, his experience as an astronaut, current missions including Hayabusa2 (which rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid Ryugu in 2018 and is returning samples to Earth later this year), and IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun), launched in 2010 and became the first spacecraft to successfully demonstrate solar sail technology in interplanetary space.

Dr. Wakata also discusses upcoming JAXA missions including:
-SLIM: Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, which will demonstrate an accurate lunar landing
-JUICE: Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, a partnership with ESA & the USA)
-MMX: Martian Moons Exploration, a mission to travel to Mars and survey the red planet’s two moons: Phobos and Deimos, including collecting a sample from Phobos to bring back to Earth.

ABOUT JAXA
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). It was designated as a core performance agency to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilization. JAXA, therefore, can conduct integrated operations from basic research and development, to utilization.

In 2013, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its founding, JAXA created the corporate slogan, “Explore to Realize,” which reflects its management philosophy of utilizing space and the sky to achieve a safe and affluent society.

JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, and took a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, according to the government’s purpose of establishing a national R&D agency.

ABOUT KOICHI WAKATA
Dr. Koichi Wakata was born in 1963, in Saitama, Japan. He received B.S.in Aeronautical Engineering in 1987, M.S.in Applied Mechanics in 1989, and Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering in 2004, all from Kyushu University. Dr. Wakata was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1992 by the National Space Development Agency of Japan. He flew on the Space Shuttles Endeavour & Discovery, ISS, Soyuz TMA-14 & TMA-11M. Dr. Wakata was the commander of ISS Expedition 39 and has accumulated 347 days in space. Follow him on Twitter at @Astro_Wakata.

For more information, visit https://global.jaxa.jp/

Special thanks to Josh Malcak for sharing his space journey in this episode!

Video & images Courtesy of ISAS/JAXA and NASA

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Emirates Mars Mission – Hope Probe to study Martian atmosphere

The United Arab Emirates are just a few days away (July 15, 2020) from launching the Hope Probe to Mars. The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) – Hope Probe will be the first probe to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers when it reaches the red planet’s orbit in February 2021. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, based in Dubai, is managing, developing and executing all stages of the program.

Joining us from the Space Centre are Ayesha Al Sharafi, the EMM Lead for the Spacecraft Propulsion Subsystem, and Mohsen Al Awadhi, the EMM Lead Mission Systems Engineer.

Emirates Mars Mission Overview
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) ​is the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ​first mission to Mars. EMM is designed to ​orbit Mars and study the dynamics in ​the Martian atmosphere on a global scale, and on both diurnal and seasonal timescales. Using three scientific instruments on board of the spacecraft, EMM will provide a set of measurements fundamental to an improved understanding of ​circulation and weather in the Martian lower and middle atmosphere. Combining such data with the monitoring of the upper layers of the atmosphere, EMM measurements will reveal the mechanisms behind the upward transport of energy and particles, and the subsequent escape of atmospheric particles from the gravity of Mars.

For more information, visit https://www.emiratesmarsmission.ae/

Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, founded in 2006, is home to the UAE National Space Programme. The Centre builds and operates earth observation satellites, offering imaging and data analysis services to clients around the world. The Centre launched DubaiSat-1, DubaiSat-2, and recently launched KhalifaSat on 29 October 2018 from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. KhalifaSat was developed 100% in the UAE by a team of highly qualified Emirati engineers.

The Centre is responsible for the development of the Emirates Mars Mission and the Mars Hope Probe, a mission to reach Mars orbit by 2021 and gather key science data about Mars’ atmosphere, as well as the UAE Astronaut Programme, which saw the launch of Hazzaa AlMansoori, first Emirati Astronaut, to the International Space Station on a scientific mission on 25th September 2019, and the development of the Mars 2117 vision to build a human colony on Mars.

For more information about the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center visit https://www.mbrsc.ae/

Special thanks to Ben Cross (https://glimpsevideo.com/) for sharing his space journey in this episode!

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!
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Introducing Pakistan’s first Private Space Company

Over the next few episodes, we’re embarking on a new space journey; a short series highlighting various countries and their efforts for the future of space exploration. In upcoming episodes we’ll be featuring interviews with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), the Canadian Space Agency, and more. Be sure to subscribe today (it’s free!) so you don’t miss a single episode!

The Rocket & Satellite Company, Pakistan’s first private space company
In this episode we interview Sami Ullah Khan, the CEO of The Rocket & Satellite Company, Pakistan’s first private space company. The Rocket & Satellite Company will offer solutions for two major space issues: space debris and in-orbit satellite servicing.

About The Rocket & Satellite Company
THE ROCKET & SATELLITE COMPANY (SMC-PRIVATE) LIMITED is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission Government of Pakistan and is Pakistan’s 1st Private Space Company.The company will cover and offer the low-cost solutions to three main areas:

1. Space Launching System
2. Satellite Manufacturing
3. Ground Segment

In the long-term, The company will offer the solution for the two major Space issues:

1. Space Debris.
The Solution will reduce the risk of Satellite and Spacecraft’s in-Space collision due to Space debris
The Solution will save the millions $ of Space based companies. The focus is to provide the low cost Space technology and to provide the solution for the major issue which is the Space debris by combined use of artificial intelligence (AI) and Space tech.

2. In-Orbits Satellite Servicing to increase the multi-million Satellite’s life.
The company will address the in-orbit servicing to increase the Satellite life in Space. The company is providing platform for Scientists, engineers, professionals and students to offer their skills and sever the Space industries and provide the best solutions for the betterment of humanity.

For more information, visit http://TheRocket-SatelliteCompany.com
Social media:
https://twitter.com/paksami
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paksami

Special thanks to Esteban Arcila for sharing his space journey in this episode!

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Mars Helicopter INGENUITY | Bob Balaram Interview [Chief Engineer]

We interview Bob Balaram, Chief Engineer of the Mars Helicopter INGENUITY project at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in this episode to discuss this first-ever helicopter designed to fly on Mars. The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride on the NASA Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021 and is now taking its first flights.

About Bob Balaram, Chief Engineer, JPL
Bob Balaram is Chief Engineer; a Principal Member of Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Computer & Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1985 where his doctoral thesis addressed the control of highly non-linear systems. He has been at JPL ever since and works in the area of Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL), Modeling & Simulation, Telerobotics Technology, and Mobility Concept Development.

Currently Bob is researching precision landing methods for Mars as well as advanced simulation techniques for planetary EDL. He led the team that developed a high-fidelity EDL simulator that recently received a NASA Group Achievement Award and has been adopted for use by the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission. He is also the co-developer of a simulator used for planetary rover simulation. Bob has led design teams for developing Mars aerobot (aerial robot) perception systems, a deep-diving Venus balloon gondola concept, and balloon-carried imaging sondes for deployment at Venus. He was also a co-developer of the Rocky-7 rover platform a prototype and precursor to the new generation of rovers such as those on the MER mission.

His work in rovers spans machine vision for rover hazard detection, improved methods for rover position determination, rover system re-configuration, and software system architectures for rover development. Previously Bob was the lead engineer for machine intelligence on the JPL Telerobot Testbed where he led a team responsible for coordinating multiple robotic manipulators and vision-based sensing to achieve automation of servicing operations such as module change-out and assembly. He subsequently worked on the Remote Surface Inspection for the Space Station in the area of real-time, vision-based flaw detection of damage caused to the Space Station over its lifetime in orbit.

For more information on the Ingenuity Mars helicopter, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/

For information on the Mars 2020 mission: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

Thanks to Aaron Fishbein (http://aaronfishbein.com/) for sharing his space journey in this episode!

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GALAXIES: Inside the Universe’s Star Cities – with Dave Eicher

In this episode we first briefly recap the successful launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Then we dive into our conversation with Dave Eicher to talk all about Galaxies!

Dave Eicher is one of the most widely recognized astronomy enthusiasts in the world. He has been with Astronomy magazine for 34 years, beginning as an assistant editor and working through associate, senior, and managing positions. He has been the magazine’s chief editor since 2002. Dave joins us today to discuss his latest book, Galaxies: Inside the Universe’s Star Cities.

About Dave Eicher
A native of Oxford, Ohio, Dave grew up around Miami University, where his father was a professor of organic chemistry. Rather than turning to chemistry, however, Dave was attracted to the stars as a 14-year-old when he spotted Saturn through a small telescope at a star party. Comet West really turned him on to observing, and Dave soon went far beyond to explore clusters, nebulae, and galaxies from his dark backyard — he soon was hooked on viewing deep-sky objects.

In 1977, Dave founded and began editing the magazine Deep Sky Monthly. Five years later, the publication moved with Dave to Milwaukee, turned quarterly, and was renamed Deep Sky, which was issued regularly until 1992. In addition to his book writing, Dave has written or edited hundreds of articles on all facets of astronomy, science and hobby. In 1990, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet, 3617 Eicher, for Dave in recognition of his service to astronomy.

Dave become president of the Astronomy Foundation, the telescope industry and astronomy outreach group, in 2011.

Dave has appeared on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, and other media outlets to promote the science and hobby of astronomy. He has written planetarium shows for Adler Planetarium in Chicago and film scripts for NASA.

In his free time, Dave has studied Civil War history; he has written eight books on the subject, including The Longest Night (Simon & Schuster), Dixie Betrayed (Little Brown), The Civil War in Books (University of Illinois Press), and Civil War High Commands (written with his father, John, Stanford University Press).

Dave is also enthusiastically interested in minerals and meteorites and has a collection of more than 1,500 specimens representing Earth and a smattering of asteroids in this branch of planetary science.

An accomplished rock and blues drummer, Dave enjoys jamming with his colleagues at Kalmbach Publishing Co., and the focus is on blues and blues-rock, centering on the styles of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and others. Dave is also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, and during the football season, you will often find him in Lambeau Field.

He lives in Waukesha Township, Wisconsin, near Big Bend, with his wife, Lynda, and son, Chris

For more information about David, visit https://www.davideicher.com
To check out Astronomy Magazine, visit Astronomy.com
Galaxies: Inside the Universe’s Star Cities: https://myscienceshop.com/product/book/81404

Thanks to Jeremy Miller (https://www.jeremyrossmiller.com/) for sharing his space journey in this episode!

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2: Returning Human Spaceflight to the U.S.

For the first time since 2011, astronauts are set to once again launch from U.S. soil aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon. The Demo-2 mission is set to launch from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:33 pm EDT Wednesday, May 27, 2020 (with a backup launch date of May 30th). Veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on this mission to the International Space Station.

In this episode we present our Zoom meeting with NASA Social Alumni Danielle Spinola, Jason Fields, Jordan Eichenblatt, Jeremy Miller and Chuck Fields, where we discussed this historic mission, shared concerns, expressed excitement and the amazing journey of America’s human spaceflight program.

NASA Launch America: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/dm2/
Commercial Crew Program: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

About our panelists:
• Jason Fields https://www.fmofm.com/
• Danielle Spinola of Tupelo Honey Teas https://www.tupelohoneyteas.com/
• Jeremy Miller https://www.jeremyrossmiller.com/
• Jordan Eichenblatt of Hifive Creative https://www.hifivecreative.com/ and Cholo Dogs https://www.cholodogs.com/

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ITUNES
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NASA’s Communications Services Program with Eli Naffah

Eli Naffah is Chief of NASA’s Space Communications and Spectrum Management Office. In this interview, conducted onsite at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Eli discusses NASA’s new Communications Services Program (CSP).

NASA has long been a leader in space communications services, but the agency is now looking to U.S. industry to develop healthy commercially-provided satellite communications (SATCOM) capabilities, using radio frequency and optical systems, for near-Earth operations. The agency will continue to develop technologies and systems for deep space exploration, but for missions in low-Earth orbit, like those to the International Space Station, NASA believes using commercial SATCOM will help drive market innovation, improve efficiencies for NASA, and reduce costs for all providers and users.

In the first step toward using these next-gen communications systems, NASA has established the Communications Services Program (CSP), which aims to better understand the current capabilities and the feasibility of integrating SATCOM systems into future agency missions in low-Earth orbit and eventually beyond.

The first phase is positioned much like a “study,” where the CSP team will develop a strategy to identify and analyze NASA’s current usage and future communication needs. During this time, the team will also evaluate existing industry capabilities as we look to align all parties – those internal to NASA, within industry and among other government agencies – on possible future states. The CSP team will use the information already gathered under the Space Relay Partnership and Services Study solicitation to inform its work during this phase.

Once the initial assessment is complete, NASA will begin to establish mutually-beneficial partnerships and award multiple contracts to develop and demonstrate system capabilities that meet various mission needs. This will lead to increased public-private collaboration, which will then bring us to the final phase, where NASA will acquire and transition to reliable and cost-effective SATCOM services from multiple industry partners.

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Do you have a fascinating story about how you got passionate about astronomy and/or space exploration? We’d love to hear it! Tell us about your space journey and we may feature your story in an upcoming episode alongside our main guest interview. Just leave us a voicemail (less than 2 minutes long please) at 317-862-4700, or email an audio or video clip to us at info@yourspacejourney.com. Be sure to include your name and tell us what drew you to space and what you’re most excited about for the future of space exploration!

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ITUNES
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TUNEIN
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TORY BRUNO, CEO of United Launch Alliance discusses Vulcan Centaur

In this episode we welcome Tory Bruno, the president & CEO of United Launch Alliance. Tory joins us by phone to discuss how his interest in model rockets at the age of nine years old let to him pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, beginning at Lockheed Martin until he joined ULA in 2014. Tory discusses how ULA has achieved an incredible (and unsurpassed) 100% mission success rate, as well as the development of the new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is set to launch in 2021 on its first mission with sending a lander to the Moon!

About Tory Bruno
Salvatore T. “Tory” Bruno is the president and chief executive officer for United Launch Alliance (ULA). In this role, Tory serves as the principal strategic leader of the organization and oversees all business management and operations. ULA is the nation’s most experienced space launch company with more than 137 successful consecutive launches since 2006 and a 100% mission success rate.

About ULA’s Vulcan Centaur
ULA is transforming the future of space launch, making it more affordable, accessible and commercialized with its new, next-generation rocket. Vulcan Centaur is superior in reliability, cost, weight and capability, and provides a solution for the nation’s most critical need: reliable access to space. Vulcan Centaur will do it all – affordability with higher performance – while continuing to deliver on ULA’s unparalleled reliability and precision.

For more information, visit https://www.ulalaunch.com

Special thanks to Wayward Plane of LaunchRats.com for discussing her space journey in this episode!

Interview with Tory Bruno recorded May 7, 2020.

Music: Cylinder Eight (http://chriszabriskie.com/cylinders/) by Chris Zabriskie (http://chriszabriskie.com/); licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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