Archive | Space Flight

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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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star_trek_space_station

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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Skylab. Credit: NASA

Ep. 296: Space Stations, Part 1 — Salyut and Skylab

It’s one thing to fly into space, and another thing entirely to live in space. And to understand the stresses and strains this puts on a human body, you’re going to need a space station. In this three-part series, we explore the past, present and future of stations in space, starting with the American Skylab […]

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Gordo

Ep. 278: Animals in Space

We always think about humans in space, but the cold hard reality is that animals have always been first in space. First to fly, first to orbit, and sadly, first to die. Let’s learn about how our animal companions have been our trusty partners in space exploration, and let’s recognize their noble sacrifices over decades […]




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Orbit

Ep. 277: Orbit

When an object is orbiting the Earth, it’s really falling. The trick, described in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. There are several different kinds of orbits, and they are good for different reasons. From suborbital jumps to geostationary orbit, time to learn everything there […]




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Ed White, spacewalking in a hostile universe

Ep. 264: Hazards of Spaceflight

We hold all these romantic notions about humans exploring the Solar System, turning humanity into a true spacefaring race. But the cold hard reality is that space, really the entire Universe, is trying to kill you. Any humans venturing out into space will face all kinds of hazards. (more…)

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Lightsail-1. Image credit: Planetary Society

Ep. 262: Solar Sails

Wouldn’t it be cool to explore the cosmos, powered only by sunlight caught by your shimmering solar sail? It sounds like science fiction, but it’s serious science – a test sail has even been sent to orbit. It might even be a way to travel from star to star. (more…)

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Surface of Venus, from Venera

Ep. 259: Exploration of Venus

Mars gets all the attention, but you might be surprised to know how much Venus has been explored. From initial telescope observations and the early flyby missions, to the landers… yes landers and orbiters. We know quite a lot about Venus, but the planet sure didn’t give up its secrets easily. (more…)

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