Archive | Space Flight

M81 in ultraviolet. Image credit: NASA

Ep. 414: Navigating Far

In our last episode, we talked about what it’ll take to navigate across the Solar System. In this episode we scale things up and speculate how future civilizations will navigate to other stars and even other galaxies. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Ep. 350: Space Ship One

SpaceShipOne is the spacecraft created by Scaled Composites to win the $10 million Ansari X-Prize in 2003. It was the first privately built spacecraft to reach 100 km in altitude, twice in two weeks, carrying the equivalent of 3 people. It’s the prototype of the upcoming SpaceShipTwo, created for Virgin Galactic to carry paying passengers […]

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Ep. 349: Mercury 7 and How the US Picked the First Astronauts

Before the Apollo Program, there was the Gemini Program, and before Gemini came the Mercury Program. 7 elite astronauts chosen from a pool of military test pilots. How did NASA choose these original 7 men? Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Ep. 348: Places with Numbers: 2 Independence Sq (NASA HQ)

Although NASA is spread across the entire US, the headquarters is based right in Washington, DC. And the headquarters building is known as Two Independence Square. This is where past and future space policy for the agency was developed. Ep. 348: Places with Numbers: 2 Independence Sq (NASA HQ)Download the show [MP3] | Jump to […]

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Ep. 340: Wernher von Braun

When the United States helped defeat Germany at the end of World War II, they acquired the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. He had already developed the German V2 rocket program, and went on to design all the major hardware of the US rocket program. This week, we talk about von Braun’s life and […]

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Ep. 300: What We’ve Learned in Almost 7 Years

We created Astronomy Cast to be timeless, a listening experience that’s as educational in the future as it was when we started recording. But obviously, things have changed in almost 7 years and 300 episodes. Today we’ll give you an update on some of the big topics in space and astronomy. What did we know […]

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Ep. 299: Space Stations, Part 4 — Future Space Stations

Sometimes a trilogy needs four parts. We’ve looked at the history and modern era of space stations but now it’s time to peer into the future at some space station concepts still in the works. Most of these will never fly, but the ideas are important. We can’t call ourselves a true spacefaring civilization until […]

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The International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Ep. 298: Space Stations, Part 3 — International Space Station

And now we reach the third part in our trilogy on space stations, with the largest vehicle ever assembled in space: the International Space Station. Launched in 1998, it now consists of 450 metric tonnes of modules, power systems and spacecraft and is regular host to a handful of astronauts from many countries. (more…)

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Space Station Mir, as seen from a departing space shuttle. Credit: NASA

Ep. 297: Space Stations, Part 2 — Mir

Last week we introduced the history of space stations and focused on the US and Soviet stations that were launched. This week we look at one of the longest running missions ever launched: Mir. From its launch and construction to its fiery finale, Mir helped both the Russians and the Americans extend their understanding of […]

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