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195 – Flying the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

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(average: 4.89)
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The tail numbers NASA 911 and NASA 905 were used for the two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, converted Boeing 747s that carried the shuttle between the landing sites and the launch complex at Kennedy Space Center. Our guest in this episode is Ace Beall who flew the SCAs for several years. We talk about operations, modifications on the airplane, the flight characteristics with and without the shuttle as well as some anecdotes from Ace’s time on the SCA.

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Das Jahr The Year 2015

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(average: 4.48)
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This episode is German and English. Forward to the second chapter (or to 59:50) to get to the English part.

Dies ist kein Interview, sondern ein Rückblick auf 2015. Nora und Markus besprechen was gut lief und was nicht so gut lief, bedanken und bei ein paar Leuten, besprechen einige Ergebnisse der Hörerumfrage und blicken kurz auf das kommende Jahr.

This is not a regular interview show. Instead, it is a review of 2015. Nora and Markus look at what went well and what did not, thank a few people, discuss some results of the recent listener survey and briefly talk about the coming year.

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191 – String Theory

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(average: 4.70)
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String Theory is currently one of the most important theories in fundamental physics, with applications to a variety of subfields including black holes and cosmology, nuclear physics others. This episode is an introduction to the core ideas of the field, as well as to some of its applications. Our guest is Alexander Westphal of Germany’s particle physics lab DESY. He does a wonderful job of introducing the very abstract topic in a way that could be understood by non-physicists, at least to some degree.

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190 – SOFIA Part 2, The Flights

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(average: 4.69)
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SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In late October 2015, I had the opportunity to fly on SOFIA during science missions 248 and 249. This episode captures these two flights. The episode is a mix between interviews with scientists and aircrew, recordings from the intercom system and some narration by me. The list of guests can be seen on the episode page – it is too long for the abstract.

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189 – SOFIA Part 1, Basics

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(average: 4.74)
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SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In the context of the preparation for my SOFIA flights, I visited the DSI in Stuttgart several times during this summer to record interviews with various DSI people about SOFIA. This episode covers these interviews, plus a recording of the visit of the instrument labs in Palmdale. The guests and topics are Alfred Krabbe, Head of the DSI, on the history and some of the science; Thomas Keilig, CEO of DSI, on the airplane and the modifications; Christian Fischer, Project Engineer of FIFI-LS, on the instrument and some of the science; Dörte Mehlert, Education and Public Outreach, on education and the flying teachers programme; and Zaheer Ali, head of the science and mission operations laboratory, on that lab.

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