I took a half-hour ride out to the National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center to take a tour with Glenn King, (COO, Director of Advanced Pilot & Space Training, and recent Netflix star) about their training, what they’ve been up to lately in this busy season of people going to space, and what the future may hold for spaceflight training. We tour their altitude chamber, spatial disorientation device, and high performance human centrifuge along with its various cockpits.
Ryan McDevitt, CEO of Benchmark Space Systems joins me to talk all about what Benchmark has been up to lately, what mobility-as-a-service means for the industry, and their partnership with Orbit Fab.
At a town hall this week, NASA announced that the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate will be split in two: the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, led by Jim Free, and the Space Operations Mission Directorate, led by Kathy Lueders. I discuss what this change might mean for the future of NASA’s human spaceflight program, and why I think it’s not something to worry about if you’re a Kathy Lueders stan.
Last week, Firefly made their first flight attempt of Alpha, and Astra launched their latest vehicle, LV0006. Though both ended in failure, it’s a good time to check in on them and other small launchers that will debut soon like, ABL’s RS1 and Relativity’s Terran 1, and how they may all compete with each other.
Eric Berger of Ars Technica returns to the show to talk about the recent crewed suborbital flights by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, Blue Origin’s Project Jarvis and their future work, and what the chaotic arrival of Nauka means for the future of the ISS and international space politics.
Richard Branson flew to space aboard SpaceShipTwo on Virgin Galactic’s Unity 22, and Jeff Bezos flew to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard 16. I share my thoughts on the flights, the vehicles, and how I’m currently looking at suborbital tourism and why it does or doesn’t matter.
Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline.com joins me for a round up of space policy news, including how the Biden and Nelson administrations are doing so far, things that are being overlooked or sidelined, the Senate’s NASA Authorization bill, NASA’s Human Landing System contract and the battle for funding, the space tourism learning period, and we finish with a quick look at what China and Russia have been up to lately.
I’m joined by Matt LaPointe, Technical Director at Redwire’s Deployable Space Systems, and Andrew Rush, COO of Redwire, to talk about the newest upgrade to the International Space Station: the Roll-Out Solar Arrays that are currently being deployed over the course of several spacewalks.
Phil Bracken, Vice President of Engineering at Spaceflight, joins me to talk about their past, current, and upcoming missions, the Sherpa program, and to dive into the technical details of it all.
Brock Howe, the Program Manager for Nanoracks’ Bishop Airlock, joins me to talk about the final build out and launch of Bishop, its installation on ISS, some details of its operations, and its plans for the future on ISS and beyond.
Stephen Forbes, the Program Manager for DARPA’s Blackjack project, joins me to talk about DARPA and its interaction with the rest of the Department of Defense, how they approach space initiatives, where Blackjack came from, where it’s going, what they hope to accomplish with it, and how it fits into the near-future of the industry.
SpaceX successfully flew and landed Starship SN15 last week, amid protests of their NASA HLS award by Blue Origin and Dynetics.
Eric Berger of Ars Technica returns to the show to talk about NASA selecting SpaceX’s Starship for its Artemis landings, Bill Nelson’s nomination hearing, Amazon buying 9 Atlas V launches for Kuiper, and the state of Blue Origin.
NASA selected SpaceX’s Starship as its ride for crew to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. As the Source Selection Statement outlines, Starship was selected as the sole winner because of the constrained lander budget. It’s an aggressive, interesting, and exciting move from NASA, so I have a lot of thoughts.
President Biden nominated Bill Nelson to be the new NASA Administrator, so I check in on some of my past thoughts on NASA Administrators and Jim Bridenstine, talk about Bill Nelson’s history in space policy, and what the future may hold under a Bill Nelson NASA.
Our good friend Jake Robins, host of WeMartians and my cohost on Off-Nominal, joins me to talk about the arrival and early operations of the 2021 Mars fleet—Hope, Tianwen-1, and Perseverance. Then we dig into what the future of Martian exploration looks like, including strategy, communications, sample return, and the upcoming decadal survey.
Peter Beck, Founder, CEO, and CTO of Rocket Lab, joins me to talk about going public, their new, bigger launch vehicle, Neutron, updates to their Electron and Photon offerings, eating hats, and avoiding eating hats in the future.
Relativity sorta-announced a bigger launch vehicle, Terran R. A few days later, Rocket Lab really announced a bigger launch vehicle, Neutron. I hate one announcement, and love the other.
SpaceX broke their turnaround record and is racking up quite the flight history across their Falcon fleet. Lockheed selected ABL for a launch from the Shetland Islands. Firefly shook up their board, is looking for new investment, and won a CLPS contract from NASA.
Christian Davenport, reporter at The Washington Post, joins me to talk about the aborted SLS Green Run hot fire, the space policy landscape as we enter a new administration, Axiom’s Ax-1 mission and its crew, and Virgin Orbit’s first successful launch to orbit.
Meagan Crawford, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SpaceFund and host of the Mission Eve podcast, joins the show to talk about the financing side of space. We talk about recent rounds of fundraising, acquisitions, holding companies, and she helps me sort through my thoughts on the whole Special Purpose Acquisition Company trend.
Andrew Jones returns to the show for the third time to talk about China’s current missions and future plans, including Chang’e-5, Tianwen-1, the Chinese Space Station, and the international politics surrounding it. And then we dig into the Chinese commercial market a bit—launch companies and remote sensing companies are raising a ton of money, but it’s not yet clear what effect that will have on the global market.
NASA awarded Venture Class Launch Services contracts to Astra, Firefly, and Relativity. Astra almost made orbit with its most recent test flight of Rocket 3.2. And something is up at Firefly, but I don’t know what yet.
Starship SN8 took flight last week on a mostly-successful mission to test its final descent phase. I share some thoughts on the test, the state of Starship development, and what that all means for the near future of Starship.
A lot of big, long-running projects have faced delays recently, and it seems like as good a time as any to check in and share some related thoughts. I cover a lot in this one: the Orion PDU issue, Ariane 6, Japan’s H3, Dream Chaser, Vulcan, and New Glenn.