There’s a lot going on up there. Join space reporter Brendan Byrne each week as he explores space exploration. From efforts to launch humans into deep space, to the probes exploring our solar system, Are We There Yet? brings you the latest in news from the space beat. Listen to interviews with astronauts, engineers and visionaries as humanity takes its next giant leap exploring our universe.
Countdown To Inspiration4
We’re just a day away from the launch window opening of SpaceX’s Inspiration-4 mission. It’s the first all-civilian space mission to orbit, taking four people on a three-day trip to space and back.
It’s also unlike any launch from the U.S. People are leaving the planet, and they’re not NASA astronauts.
We’ll talk with NASA’s head of human spaceflight Kathy Lueders about how NASA’s helping SpaceX with this mission and why she’s not that upset she won’t be in the control room for this private mission.
Then, we’ll continue our conversation with John Kraus, mission photographer for Inspiration4, about how he’s preparing the crew to take their own images from space.
Grounding Virgin Galactic & Documenting SpaceX’s All-Civilian Mission
Virgin Galactic’s founder Richard Branson flew to the edge of space back in July, riding in his company’s space tourism vehicle SpaceShipTwo. The trip grabbed headlines and news coverage worldwide as the billionaire raced to beat another space-faring billionaire Jeff Bezos to the edge of space and back.
Branson was welcomed back to Earth with fanfare and the flight signaled the start of what could be a very lucrative market for private space tourism. But recent reporting from The New Yorker uncovered a perilous flight with the founder and prompted the FAA to ground the vehicle as it investigates the “mishap.”
We’ll chat with The New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle about that perilous flight and what it reveals about the culture of safety and risk at Virgin Galactic.
Then, another group of civilians are set to take to the skies next week. SpaceX’s Inspiraiton4 crew is slated to launch from Kennedy Space Center Wednesday. The crew of four private astronauts have been training since early this year for the three-day mission — and photographer John Kraus has been there snapping photos of their journey.
We’ll talk with Kraus about the crew and the places they’ve gone as they train to fly to low-Earth orbit next week.
Civilian Space Science & Surviving Black Holes
An all-civilian space mission is set to take flight in about two weeks. the crew of four will fly in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule mission on a three day trip to low-Earth orbit and back.
But it’s not all about fun and games for this private mission. The crew will be performing crucial science experiments that will help get humans to farther places in our solar system like the moon and Mars and survive longer in the harsh environment of space. To talk more about the research goals of SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 mission we’ll speak with Dr. Emmanuel Urquieta, Interim Chief Scientist and Chief Medical Officer of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health.
Then, black holes have captured the attention of the masses with breakthroughs in imaging, gravitational wave detection and Nobel Prize recognition. What’s spurring this new dawn of black hole discovery? And how can scientists communicate such complex phenomena to a general audience? We’ll revisit a conversation with with Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University about her book Black Hole Survival Guide.
An Inside Look At SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 Mission & What To Make Of A Galactic Arc
A crew of four civilians is set to take flight to low-Earth orbit next month, flying in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
The mission, bankrolled by billionaire Jared Issacman, will raise money for St. Jude, and will be broadcast in near real-time on Netflix. It’s a new chapter in space flight history — so how did we get here? Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer explores the mission’s origin and purpose in a new season for Axios’ How It Happened podcast. We’ll speak with her about her reporting and what’s ahead for the Inspiration 4 crew.
Then, earlier this summer scientists observed a giant arc of galaxies — stretching three billion light years. Some say this finding has the potential to change the foundations of cosmology and the standard model of our universe.
Is that really the case? We’ll chat with our panel of expert physicists from UCF including cosmologist Jim Cooney about the findings and the meaning behind the discovery.
Fight & Flight: A Look At Blue Origin’s Fight For A Lander Contract & SLS’s New Flight Software
Fight and flight — the battle over NASA’s lunar lander and new software for the agency’s moon rocket.
Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is suing NASA over its selection of rival company SpaceX to design and develop the agency’s next moon lander.It’s the latest in Blue’s protest efforts over the April decision by NASA to contract SpaceX to build a spacecraft to take humans to the lunar surface.
We’ll talk with Anthony Colangelo, a commercial space analyst and host of the podcast Main Engine Cutoff, about the protest — and what’s ahead for NASA’s Human Landing System. We’ll also chat about the burgeoning space tourism market and the latest delay of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.
Then, as the fight over NASA’s lunar lander rolls on, software that will launch the agency’s next moon rocket is getting installed. We’ll talk with NASA’s Anton Kiriwas about the software that will fly SLS to the moon and back.
Printing On The Moon & Black Hole Observations
It takes a lot of fuel to send things into space. As humans look to head into deep space, like to the moon and Mars, engineers are figuring out ways to lower the weight of deep space launches by building supplies in space.
Redwire is one of those commercial companies developing technology to build things in space — called in-situ — and has already demonstrated the ability to 3D print tools on the International Space Station.
Now the company is looking towards a future moon mission and testing its 3D printers using simulated moon dust on the space station.
We’ll talk with Redwire’s chief technology officer Michael Snyder about a mission launching this week to test out its Additive Manufacturing Facility currently installed on the space station by loading the toaster oven sized 3D printer with simulated moon dust.
Then, earlier this year scientists observed a black hole gobbling up a neutron star — the first time an observation like this was ever made. It was done using gravitational wave observations which are changing the way we understand the universe.
We’ll talk with our panel of expert scientists from the University of Central Florida Addie Dove, Jim Cooney and Josh Colwell about the observation and why seeing something like this is so difficult.