space

Trump Establishes National Space Council

Jul 3, 2017

President Trump signed an executive order Friday establishing the National Space Council.

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the council, steering the nation’s space exploration policy and shepherding partnerships with commercial space companies.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

(Originally aired Sept. 27, 2016)

Few states have as close a tie to the U.S. space program than Florida, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s a growing number of would-be rocket scientists at the University of South Florida.

Yesterday, NASA announced that astronaut Scott Kelly will retire from the space agency as of April 1st. Kelly holds the U.S. record for the most time spent in space.

For nearly a full year, he zoomed along at 17,500 miles per hour — orbiting 230 miles above earth — on the International Space Station. And for those million or so of us who follow him on Twitter, Cmdr. Kelly's year in space gave us a mind-expanding view of planet Earth.

Kelly posted spectacular photos — awesome, in the true sense of the word. He called them, earth-art.

Associated Press/Florida Today

SpaceX has another launch under its belt, but not another rocket landing.

The leftover first-stage booster hit the floating platform hard Friday, said SpaceX chief Elon Musk. The company never expected to nail this landing, he said, because of the faster speed of the booster that was required to deliver the satellite to an extra-high orbit.

In 1957, humans launched a satellite into orbit, Sputnik-1.

The same mission also created our first piece of space junk: the rocket body that took Sputnik into space.

By the year 2000, there were hundreds of satellites in orbit — and thousands of pieces of space junk, including leftover rockets and pieces of debris.

SpaceX Sticks The Landing

Dec 22, 2015
SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched and landed  a Falcon 9 rocket. It’s a historic event for the private space company.

About ten minutes after liftoff Monday night, a Falcon 9 rocket was safely back at Cape Canaveral.

It’s the first time the private space company SpaceX successfully recovered a spent rocket. Previous attempts to land the first stage on a barge were close – but ended in failure.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has announced he’s bringing his rocket company Blue Origin to Cape Canaveral, Florida, near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It will not only launch rockets there, but the private space company plans to manufacture them nearby. Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Pat Duggins of Alabama Public Radio.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station received a shipment that included whiskey on Monday but they won't be allowed even a taste test.

The possibility of humans colonizing outer space may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but British astronomer Chris Impey says that if the U.S. were pumping more money into the space program, the sci-fi fantasy would be well on its way to reality.

Russia's space agency is trying to save an unmanned cargo ship that spun out of control on its way to the International Space Station.

Mike Massimino is one of the last people to ever see the Hubble Space Telescope in person.

From inside his orbiting space shuttle, the telescope first appeared on the horizon as a star, says Massimino, who was an astronaut on the final mission to service the space telescope in 2009.

Ron Garan

Retired Astronaut Ron Garan tells WUSF's Robin Sussingham in this interview, "we need to find the low-hanging fruit" of international cooperation. He is the author of the book The Orbital Perspective.

At first, the kids in the auditorium at Richmond Heights Middle School weren’t sure a they'd hear a voice above the ear-burning static.

Dade Radio Club of Miami president Miguel Garate kept signaling the space station.  

“NA1SS, NA1SS, this is Richmond Heights. Over,” Garate said repeatedly, trying to hail the space station.

They had just minutes before astronaut Samantha Cristoferretti would be out of range.

A voice cut through the white noise.

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

NASA TV/AP

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and reentry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bullseye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft enduring a searing 4,000 degree Fahrenheit re-entry before being gently lowered to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

Radislav Sinyak NASA/Rad Sinyak

At 7:05 a.m. Thursday, the unmanned Orion test vehicle is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket to begin a two-orbit, four-and-a-half hour mission called Exploration Flight Test-1.

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

This week, a 3-D printer fabricated a part for itself. Normally, that wouldn't make headlines — except that it happened in space.

"It's a history-making moment for us because it's the first time ever that we're talking about transitioning from launching every part we might need in space from Earth, to actually being able to email a file, a design to space and make that part on demand," says Niki Werkheiser, the project manager for the International Space Station 3-D Printer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

Orion Makes A Move

Sep 12, 2014
Rad Sinyak / NASA

NASA has finished building the crew module of its newest spacecraft- Orion.

The spacecraft was moved out of the Kennedy Space Center facility Thursday where engineers have been getting it ready.

Orion’s cone-shaped crew module, stacked on top of a white service module, emerged from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on a special flat bed transporter.

It was moved to a new facility where it will be fueled up with ammonia and hyper propellants for its test flight slated for December.

The crew capsule can seat four astronauts.

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