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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

#126 - Halo Drive with Dr David Kipping

As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.

Freeman Dyson

Guest Dr David Kipping

Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University, where he researches extrasolar planets and moons.

He leads the Cool Worlds Lab at Columbia, Well-known for his work on exomoons but his other research interests also include the study and characterization of transiting exoplanets, the development of novel detection and characterization techniques, exoplanet atmospheres, Bayesian inference, population statistics and understanding stellar hosts.

He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK) project.

He also enjoy publicizing science and runs a YouTube channel discussing his group's research and related science.


29 March 1974 - Mariner 10 - First Mercury flyby at 703 kilometers

The last of the mariner space craft, It was also the first spacecraft to encounter two planets at close range, and for 33 years the only spacecraft to photograph Mercury in closeup

The mission objectives were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. A Secondary objectives to obtain experience with a dual-planet gravity assist mission which will be our SWOTW

Born OTD

1965 William Anthony "Bill" Oefeleinis an American test pilot instructor and former NASA astronaut who, on his only spaceflight, piloted the STS-116 Space Shuttle mission.

1931 Aleksei Aleksandrovich Gubarev (Алексе́й Алекса́ндрович Гу́барев; a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on two space flights: Soyuz 17 and Soyuz 28.

1941 Nobel laureate Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. discoverer with Russell Alan Hulse of the first binary pulsar, that opened up the study of gravitational radiation, the first indirect evidence of the existence of gravitational waves The orbit of a binary system is slowly shrinking, a prediction on General Relativity, as it loses energy because of emission of gravitational radiation, causing its orbital period to speed up slightly.

Over a thirty-year period Taylor and his colleagues made measurements that match Einstiens prediction to way better than 1 % accuracy.

This was also a recycled pulsar a neutron stars that has been spun-up to fast spin rates by the transfer of mass onto their surfaces from a companion star.

Quick News

Vega launched PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa,[2] Hyperspectral PRecursor of the Application Mission) is an Italian Space Agency pre-operational and technology demonstrator mission focused on the development and delivery of hyperspectral products and the qualification of the hyperspectral payload in space

We should see an Electron launch by the end of the week. Of R3D2

4K Falcon 9 video

No all female space walk!!

NASA has canceled a plan to have astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch (cook) first all-female spacewalk happening as this podcast comes out.

McClain's first spacewalk last Friday, March 22 discovered that the medium-size hard upper torso is the correct fit. There are 2 medium suits ouf of the 4 on the station, but only one is available by Friday and Koch will wear it. The other is a full 12 hour work to mame is suitable for EVA.

Astronaut Nick Hague will join Koch to replace a set of batteries outside the station that store solar power for use when the station is in the Earth's shadow.

Space word of the week

Gravity Assist.

Or a gravitational slingshot, or swing-by is the use of the relative movement (normally it’s orbit around the Sun) and gravity of a planet or other astronomical object to alter the path and speed of a spacecraft, typically to save propellant and reduce expense.

Gravity assistance can be used to accelerate a spacecraft, that is, to increase or decrease its speed or redirect its path. The "assist" is provided by the motion of the gravitating body as it pulls on the spacecraft.

The gravity assist maneuver was first used in 1959 when the Soviet probe Luna 3 photographed the far side of Earth's Moon and it was used by interplanetary probes from Mariner 10 onwards, including the two Voyager probes' notable flybys of Jupiter and Saturn.

Other notable gravity assists

  • Luna 3

  • Mariner 10

  • Voyager 1

  • Galileo

  • Ulysses


  • Cassini

  • Rosetta

  • Juno

  • Parker Solar Probe

  • BepiColombo

Effect can be enhanced wih a rocket burn at periapsis the Oberth Effect.

The pinoeer - Yuri Vasilievich Kondratyuk (real name Oleksandr Ignatyevich Shargei) a Ukrainian Soviet engineer and mathematician pioneer of astronautics and spaceflight, a theoretician and a visionary who,Published a paper on how to build an interplanetary rocket, in 1938 but dated 1918–1919, suggested that a spacecraft traveling between two planets could be accelerated at the beginning and end of its trajectory by using the gravity of the two planets' moons. Also developed the first known lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR), a key concept for landing and return spaceflight from Earth to the Moon.[1][2] The LOR was later used for the plotting of the first actual human spaceflight to the Moon. Many other aspects of spaceflight and space exploration are covered in his works.

Persecuted by authorities and lost in the war.

India announced that it successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon, destroying one of its own satellites. Orbital decays

Satellite Altitude Lifetime

200 km 1 day

300 km 1 month

400 km 1 year

500 km 10 years

700 km 100 years

900 km 1000 years

Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024. ….

NASA use to have the goal of getting humans to the moon 11 years after Trump ordered them to, "Ladies and gentlemen, that's just not good enough," Pence

Speech At National Space Council meeting in Huntsville, Alabama,

  • competition from other nations ...China

  • To battle complacency.

  • Pence "any means necessary" to get humans to the south pole of the moon by 2024,

  • including shredding contractors who fail to deliver.

  • However, NASA endorsed continued development of the SLS, and said that the rocket will be used to launch Orion on the EM-1 mission next year after studying and rejecting commercial alternatives for that mission.

"If we want to achieve 2024, we have to have SLS," Bridenstine

What are other saying

"This is NASA's architecture (the SLS chart with the 2028 date on) for getting to the moon when I woke up this morning. Maybe it's evolved over the course of the day."

David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration at ESA

Elon Musk. “It would be so inspiring for humanity to see humanity return to the moon!”

“Would be great to have a competitive, commercial program to build a moon base that is outcome-oriented (not cost-plus), so you only get paid for safe delivery of cargo.”

“Bold plans must be matched by bold resources made available in a consistent manner in order to assure successful execution.” Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

Jack Burns, a University of Colorado astrophysicist “Before we put boots on the ground at the poles, we urgently need a robotic water ice prospecting mission,” he said. “We need a mission in the next couple years to get this going.”

“From the plodding jobs program with a glorious mission to nowhere, we are now presented with the goal of a hysterical dash for the glory of the worst asshole president in U.S. history so he can preen at the end of his inevitable second term”.

The thought experiment I keep running in my head is, what if we said to NASA: you are guaranteed the same money each year plus inflation. Clean sheet, do a program that would interest you, with the current workforce but decent leadership. I feel certain Shelby would be more proud of the result.

Looking forward to your next podcast!

It is a well known fact that increasing the budget of a late tech project doesn’t make it faster “If we double the resources we'll be able to finish it in twice the time!”

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