Last week we talked about the laws that govern space exploration. This week the rubber hits the road. What are the consequences for actually breaking these rules? Are they really going to stop anyone?
Ep. 670: Governing Space – The Outer Space Treaty of 1967
The Universe was inaccessible for most of human history, but the first tentative steps to space in the 20th century made humanity realize that science fiction was becoming science reality. New rules would have to be written to govern how we used this limitless expanse. Today we’ll talk about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
Ep. 658: Space Exploration Horror Stories
We’re recording this episode on Halloween, so how could we resist but take advantage of this opportunity. Space is already terrifying enough, you know, with the vast endless emptiness, incomprehensible mysteries, and uncaring coldness. But here are some scary stories to spook it up a notch.
Ep. 655: 65 Years of Space: Sputnik 1 Anniversary
It’s been about 65 years since the Soviets launched the first orbital satellite into low Earth orbit: Sputnik 1. Now there are thousands of satellites in orbit, with tens of thousands on the way. Let’s look at the impact that Sputnik had on the history of spaceflight.
Ep. 652: The Rocket Race Toward Reusability
Last week we talked about how single-use rocketry has changed over time, and the role it still plays in launching payloads into orbit and beyond. Today, we’ll address the stainless steel elephant in the room and talk about the shift to reusability.
Ep. 651: Artemis and the Decline of Single Use Rockets
On the day that we’re recording this, NASA’s Space Launch System is about to blast off. But everyone is expecting it’ll be delayed to October. When it does launch, it’ll be the most powerful rocket on Earth. Well, until Starship blasts off. Are we about to see the end of single-use rockets and enter the era of reusable rocketry?
Ep. 649: Why Does Everything Happen on Holidays?
Have you ever noticed that significant space and astronomy events seem to happen during holidays? It’s not a coincidence, there’s actually a reason why. Today we’ll talk about some of the key events that happened during holidays.
Ep. 646: Long Term Future in Space
We always say that we’re living in golden age of space and astronomy, but it feels like things are just accelerating. What does the long-term future hold for our place in the Universe?
Ep. 645: The Future of the ISS
The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited for over 20 years now, serving as a peaceful collaboration between space-faring nations. But it’s a machine, and it’s getting old. In addition, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made things complicated. What’s the future for the ISS?
Ep. 638: Simulating Space Missions
Although humans have never actually been to Mars, explorers have simulated many aspects of Mars missions here on Earth. There are missions under the ocean, on the tops of volcanoes, in the harsh Canadian north, and even in bed that simulate the limitations of spaceflight, and teach us many of the lessons to prepare us for the real thing.
Ep. 630: Things We Can Look Forward To
In a rare moment of weakness, Pamela has decided she’s open to the possibility that a future exists. That missions, telescopes and spacecraft are going to be built and they’re going to do some science. Today we’ll talk about what we’re looking forward to before she changes her mind and ruins Fraser’s naive optimism for the future.
Ep. 625: End of the Year Review
We’ve reached the end of 2021, and this is the last episode of the year. Let’s look back at the big space events of the last year and talk about what we’re looking forward to in 2022.
Ep. 620: Why Getting to the Outer Worlds is So Difficult
Good news! Over the next few years, we’re going to see a flotilla of new missions headed to Jupiter and Saturn. Why aren’t we seeing more missions to the outer planets, like Uranus and Neptune? It turns out, those places are far away. Today let’s talk about the challenge of exploring the outer Solar System.
Ep. 587: Artemis Accords
The Moon is about to become a very busy place, with multiple countries and private companies planning missions in the next few years. It’s been decades since the Outer Space Treaty was negotiated. It’s time for the Artemis Accords.
Ep. 569: Ethics of Commercial and Military Space, Part 1: Private Space Flight
Every year, more and more people are making their way to space. Some private citizens have already gotten their astronaut wings, paying for a trip to space out of their own pocket. What are the ethical implications of this as the costs of spaceflight come down?
Ep. 568: In Situ Resource Utilization
The key to surviving in space will be learning how to live off the land. Instead of carrying all your fuel, water, and other resources from Earth, extract them locally at your destination. It’s called In Situ Resource Utilization and if we can figure this out it’ll change everything.
Ep. 511: Predictions for 2019
We did it, we made it through 2018 in space. Now let’s look forward to the incredible launches, discoveries and astronomical events happening in 2019.
Ep. 507: From Fiction to Fact : Ion Drive
Ion engines are a mainstay of science fiction, featured in both Star Trek and Wars. But this is a very real technology, successfully used on several missions out there in the Solar System right now. How do they work and what are the limits?
Ep 485: Docking, Refueling, and Transferring
It’s one thing to get to space. But once you’ve made it there, what do you want to do? You’ll probably want to dock with another space ship, deliver cargo, refuel. Today we’ll talk about how all that happens.
Ep 484: Transfer Orbits and Gravitational Assists
If you want to get around in the Solar System, you’ll want to take advantage of natural gravitational speed boosts and transfer orbits. Whether you’re heading to the outer Solar System or you want to visit the Sun itself, the planets themselves can help you in your journey.
Ep 483: Stopping in Space
It’s one thing to get from Earth to space, but sometimes you want to do the opposite. You want to get into orbit or touch down gently on the surface of a planet and explore it. How do spacecraft stop? And what does that even mean when everything is orbiting?
Ep 482: Alternative Ways to Space
Getting to space is all about rockets, but people are trying to figure out other methods that could carry payloads to orbit and beyond. Railguns, airplanes, tethers and more. Today we’ll talk about alternative methods of spaceflight.
Ep 481: Rockets pt. 3 – Going Faster, Higher, Farther after Fairing Separation
We’ve seen rockets blast off from here on Earth. But that’s only half the story. Rockets have additional stages to push them into trajectories, like transfer orbits and various orbital maneuvers. Let’s talk about what happens after the rocket is long gone, beyond our sight.
Ep 480: Rockets pt. 2- Multi-stage Boosters
The vast majority of rockets are multi-staged affairs. Why is this? What makes this kind of rocket so successful? Today we look at the ins and outs of multi-stage rockets.
Ep. 479: Rockets pt. 1- What Does "Single Stage To Orbit" Really Mean?
To celebrate the launch of the Falcon Heavy, we figured it was time for an all new series, this time on the rockets that carry us to space. Today we’re going to talk about why single stage to orbit rockets are so difficult to carry out.