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.
The Gemini programme of the mid-sixties is relatively unknown, even though it was an important stepping stone in the Apollo moon programme: Gemini is where NASA learned to fly in space. In this episode we cover Gemini with our two guests David Woods (who has been on the show talking about Apollo) and David Harland. Together they wrote a book on Gemini that serves as the rough outline of this conversation. We talk about the Gemini spacecraft itself, the launch vehicles, some of the achievements and learnings of the programme as well as some of the specifics of some of the missions.
This episode is a mix between computer architecture, programming and (historic) space flight. We cover the ins and outs of the Apollo Guidance Computer. Our guest ist Frank O’Brien, who wrote an incredibly detailed book about this machine. In the episode we cover the hardware architecture, the instruction set, the various layers (native, executive and interpreter) as well as some mission programs.
This episode is a conversation with Ruud Hoogeveen from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research about satellite-based Earth observation, and primarily about measuring the concentration of gases such as CO2 or Ozone from space. We talk about the effects of these gases on the atmosphere, how the sensors work in principle, and about the history and evolution of the sensors over the various missions. We conclude with a look on detecting and measuring aerosols and at the future challenges and current research for satellite-based earth observation.
In this episode we talk about mission control for the Space Shuttle. Our guest is Dan Adamo, a former flight dynamics officer (FDO) in the Mission Control Center. We cover the organization of mission control, the various roles, qualification and training, the specific tasks of the FDO as well as a little bit of history. Dan also relates many interesting episodes from his time “in the trench”.
This is the last episode in 2014. Nora and Markus wish you Merry Christmas, a few quiet days between the years and a good start into 2015. Stay tuned, there’s a lot of good stuff coming on this station :-)