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Science

Liftoff

Relay FM

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Liftoff is a fortnightly podcast about space, the universe, and everything. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the latest developments as explained by enthusiastic space fans Stephen Hackett and Jason Snell. Hosted by Jason Snell a...Show More
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1:06:44 | Aug 27th

The first SLS is taking shape, as are Starhopper and Europa Clipper. Stephen struggles with a name and then Jason introduces a new segment.

37:06 | Jul 16th

The work of the crew of Apollo 11 have inspired people for five decades, their legacy continues to shine on today. In this episode, Stephen and Jason discuss three aspects of the mission that aren't as well known.
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37:14 | Jun 20th

The Artemis Budget is becoming more and more real, as NASA promotes the number of companies involved in building its hardware. Elsewhere, ESA is preparing to go to Jupiter with the JUICE robotic mission and Bigelow has big plans for the ISS.

52:52 | Jun 6th

Jason and Stephen discuss the debate around Starlink and its impact on astronomy, cover the latest GAO report and talk about the importance of Commercial Moon Landing Services.

36:44 | May 21st

In May 1969, Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan took their Apollo spacecraft within 48,000 feet of the lunar service.

48:06 | Apr 9th

Rocket Lab has a new satellite platform, while methane cycles have been measured on Mars. Elsewhere, NASA continues to work through the details of its new 2024 lunar goal and 2007 OR10 needs a name.

41:53 | Mar 26th

Vice President Mike Pence has challenged NASA to return to the moon within five years.

21:58 | Mar 26th

The guys talk through a few stories that didn't make Episode 95, including what's going on with Boeing's Starliner and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, as well as Bennu's habit of spewing material into space.

1:06:18 | Mar 12th

Stephen and Jason get into the details of the proposed 2020 NASA budget, the future of the SLS rocket, then review the film *Apollo 11.*

42:14 | Feb 26th

In March 1969, Jim McDivitt, Dave Scott and Rusty Schweickart were the first astronauts to fly the Lunar Module, proving that this vital spacecraft was ready to take a crew to the moon — and help bring them home.

42:03 | Feb 12th

Jason and Stephen catch up on the news, then talk about the Pioneer and Ranger programs.

45:07 | Jan 29th

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen mark NASA's Day of Remembrance, discuss layoffs at two private space companies and wish for a mission to Uranus.

43:57 | Jan 15th

China has big plans for the moon and SpaceX has a new test vehicle. Oh, and things got weird with Russia.

48:35 | Jan 2nd

China's latest lunar mission is about to touchdown on the far side of the moon, and New Horizons has completed its flyby of Ultima Thule.

37:40 | Dec 18th, 2018

In December 1968, Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders became the first human beings to travel to the moon, circling our nearest neighbor and making history while doing so.

43:54 | Dec 4th, 2018

The end of 2018 is proving to be busy: InSight has landed, OSIRIS-REx has rendezvoused with Bennu, SpaceX is breaking records and the CLPS program is here, for what that's worth.

32:29 | Nov 20th, 2018

There was a false alarm concerning Opportunity, and drama about the SLS' future. That, and a conversation about Rocket Lab and a preview of InSight's landing.

59:20 | Nov 6th, 2018

NASA says goodbye to two spacecraft and Stephen and Jason review *First Man.*

53:12 | Sep 28th, 2018

From a Californian satellite and the retirement of the Delta II to Hayabusa and Opportunity updates, it's been a busy couple of weeks. Plus, a review of Hulu's *The First.*

37:40 | Aug 28th, 2018

NASA is inching toward crewed flights, with its Mobile Launcher Platform coming together and cis-lunar Gateway plans coming together, all while SpaceX and Boeing races to complete its crewed hardware.

42:57 | Aug 14th, 2018

The Parker Solar Probe is on its way to study our sun, as New Horizons is exploring what is at the outmost reaches of its influence on the solar system.

34:14 | Aug 1st, 2018

What goes around, comes around: The James Webb Telescope, water on Mars and the Space Force are all back in the news.

39:16 | Jul 3rd, 2018

Jason and Stephen are joined by Emily Lakdawalla to discuss her new book, *The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job.*

33:13 | Jun 19th, 2018

Jason and Stephen talk about President Trump's call for a Space Force, then Opportunity's struggle against a Martian dust storm and Peggy Whitson's retirement from NASA.

50:54 | Jun 5th, 2018

Jeff Bezos, Planet 9 and China's space station plans are all in the news, then Stephen and Jason remember Alan Bean and Donald Peterson.

43:54 | May 22nd, 2018

Jason talks about launching from the west coast of the United States, then Stephen takes the new SLS SEGMENT out for a spin before they discuss black holes.

54:22 | May 8th, 2018

InSight is headed to Mars, the SLS Segment has a name, and Jason and Stephen read *Into the Black,* by Rowland White.

45:48 | Apr 24th, 2018

Stephen launches a new segment about the SLS, then talks with Jason about the swearing in of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the future of NASA TESS.

46:22 | Apr 10th, 2018

This week, Stephen and Jason are joined by space and technology reporter Swapna Krishna to catch up on a whole bunch of news, including the James Webb Telescope's latest schedule slip, SpaceX's recent tangling with NOAA, and more. Also, new Liftoff m...Show More

42:33 | Mar 13th, 2018

This week, Stephen and Jason are joined by Holly Griffith, a Mechanical Engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where she works on the Safety for the Life Support Systems for the new Orion capsule.

47:51 | Feb 28th, 2018

From a HI-SEAS mishap to an exoplanet getting blasted by its host star, it's news round-up time on Liftoff this week.

1:20:25 | Feb 14th, 2018

Stephen and Jason talk about their recent #NASASocial trips, and what the agency's new budget and direction may mean for the International Space Station, Mars and more.

37:48 | Jan 30th, 2018

This week, Jason and Stephen catch up on some weird satellite and exoplanet news before walking through Apollo 4 and 5.

39:46 | Jan 16th, 2018

This week, we recount the Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

1:00:25 | Jan 3rd, 2018

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy has been erected at 39-A, while NASA moves forward with its New Frontiers finalists. Then, Apollo flight hardware and the mighty Saturn V.

55:37 | Dec 19th, 2017

After wading through a busy fortnight's news including Trump's lunar directive, Stephen and Jason wrap up their series on Project Gemini.

44:18 | Nov 21st, 2017

New spacecraft is being tested, and we had a weird visitor from outside the solar system. That, plus the first crewed Gemini missions (complete with secret beef sandwiches) this fortnight.

34:19 | Nov 7th, 2017

SpaceX is returning to Launch Complex 40 and the GRACE mission is coming to an end while Dawn has a new lease on life. Then, discussion of the Gemini capsule and the two uncrewed launches of the program.

44:42 | Oct 24th, 2017

Blue Origin is firing up its new rocket engine as Bigelow is talking about inflatable lunar stations. Then, the recent LIGO announcement and some background on Project Gemini.

47:44 | Oct 10th, 2017

LIGO is busy with gravitational waves, Elon Musk is busy talking about SpaceX's future and Mike Pence has his eye on the moon.

29:52 | Sep 26th, 2017

This fortnight: damage to the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, a Mars sample return proposal and the final two Mercury flights.

45:04 | Sep 12th, 2017

Stephen and Jason are back to discuss the end of Cassini and Jim Bridenstine, who appears to be Trump's pick for NASA Administrator. After that, they journey into orbit with John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.

27:19 | Aug 22nd, 2017

Stephen and Jason both witnessed the 2017 total solar eclipse. They recorded throughout the event and sat down to compare notes the next day.

43:59 | Aug 15th, 2017

This fortnight, 2014 MU69 comes into focus, SLS has a new paint job and Stephen and Jason talk about the two rockets used in Project Mercury and the first two crewed American spaceflights.

45:43 | Jul 18th, 2017

Jason and Stephen are joined by Dr. Katie Mack, a theoretical astrophysicist working at the University of Melbourne on dark matter and the potential it has to change our understanding of the universe, physics and more.

48:22 | Jul 5th, 2017

There are a bunch of milestones to celebrate this week: Juno's been at Jupiter for a year, Stephen built his LEGO Saturn V and Pathfinder landed on Mars 20 years ago.

34:15 | Jun 20th, 2017

This fortnight, our intrepid explorers talk about NEEMO, newly-discovered exoplanets and the Parker Solar Probe.

57:56 | Jun 6th, 2017

Jason and Stephen discuss the 2016 film *Hidden Figures.*

52:37 | May 23rd, 2017

This week, Jason and Stephen talk about lunar and solar eclipses in preparation of a total solar eclipse in North America coming up in August.

31:59 | May 9th, 2017

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen cover a possible future Pluto mission, SLS delays and the X-37B spaceplane.

43:36 | Apr 26th, 2017

This fortnight we discuss Cassini's daring death dives inside Saturn's rings before the end of its mission, exciting news from our solar system's ocean moons and hints of a change in planning for future exploration of Mars.

35:55 | Apr 11th, 2017

After visiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the Voyager probes are now probing the very edges of our solar system — and beyond.

31:12 | Mar 28th, 2017

This fortnight brings a flight-proven Falcon 9 launch, news about Enceladus' ice sheets and the return of the mighty RS-25.

41:15 | Mar 14th, 2017

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen catch up the news coming out of Washington D.C. and Blue Origin, and then consider what the Europa Clipper mission could mean.

57:15 | Feb 28th, 2017

This fortnight, Stephen went out for a nerdy evening, NASA announced the seven planets at TRAPPIST-1 and SpaceX is going to the moon. After the news, Jason and Stephen break down the Ice Giants of Uranus and Neptune.

30:19 | Feb 14th, 2017

This fortnight, Proxima B breaks our hearts, SpaceX is on historic ground and a Europa lander begins to take shape.

54:49 | Jan 31st, 2017

This fortnight, Stephen and Jason talk about how the current political climate affects science, space and technology.

39:28 | Jan 17th, 2017

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen catch up on the news and remember Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon.

34:00 | Dec 20th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen remember John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and the oldest person to travel in space.

31:57 | Dec 6th, 2016

The sixth planet out from the sun is a fascinating world of extreme atmospheric conditions, strange moons and breathtaking views.

30:34 | Nov 22nd, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen discuss NASA's $8.8 billion project: the James Webb telescope.

42:25 | Nov 8th, 2016

This week, Jason and Stephen are joined by Glenn Fleishman to talk about the rising use of cubesats.

47:52 | Oct 25th, 2016

This week, Stephen and Jason draft their favorite robotic spacecraft after pouring one out for Schiaparelli.

40:39 | Oct 11th, 2016

This fortnight, Stephen and Jason talk about Elon Musk's train to Mars.

53:56 | Sep 26th, 2016

This week, Jason interviews Natalie Batalha, NASA's Kepler mission project scientist, about the spacecraft, the K2 mission and some exoplanets found by the mission.

43:45 | Sep 13th, 2016

OSIRIS-REx, NASA's asteroid sampling mission, recently launched. Live from the XOXO Festival, Jason and Stephen talk about the mission, its objectives and all about asteroids.

48:02 | Aug 30th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen talk about exoplanets: what they are, how they're found and why they are important.

36:48 | Aug 16th, 2016

This fortnight: Mission to Mars details are forming and NASA is looking at some new potential planetary missions.

34:48 | Aug 2nd, 2016

NASA's "Journey to Mars" plan is wide-reaching but a little light on details in places. Stephen and Jason dive into it and consider what it would mean if Elon Musk beats NASA to the Red Planet.

43:25 | Jul 19th, 2016

This fortnight, we catch up with New Horizons, Dawn and Mars 2020.

37:58 | Jul 6th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen dive into Juno, NASA's current mission to Jupiter.

48:41 | Jun 21st, 2016

This fortnight: China talks to the United Nations, Blue Origin plays with parachutes and a quick trip to Mercury.

56:00 | Jun 7th, 2016

Jason and Stephen discuss recent interviews with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Rockets, AI, dying on Mars and more!

57:59 | May 24th, 2016

Jason and Stephen catch up some news, talk about some weird ways stars end and are then joined by Loren Grush, science reporter at The Verge to talk about commercial crew, inflatable space hotels and more.

1:00:10 | May 10th, 2016

After catching up Kepler news and the Mercury transit, Jason and Stephen talk about the lifecycle of our sun. Spoiler alert: things won't end well for Earth.

59:04 | Apr 25th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen take a trip to Venus.

1:05:44 | Apr 11th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen talk about rockets on drone ships, visiting space via virtual reality and NASA's next launch vehicle, the SLS.

1:10:28 | Mar 28th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen take a tour of the space stations that have graced Low-Earth orbit over the decades.

1:01:10 | Mar 14th, 2016

This fortnight, Jason and Stephen travel the length of the Solar System to catch up on the news.

47:02 | Feb 29th, 2016

On this episode, Jason and Stephen pick their favorite solar system moons in an action-packed draft.

1:00:07 | Feb 15th, 2016

During the last fortnight, humankind detected gravitational waves for the first time and Jason spent some time at NASA's Ames Research Center.

1:02:05 | Feb 1st, 2016

This week, Stephen and Jason catch up on Space X and Blue Origin news, wish Opportunity a happy 12th birthday and reflect on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

56:38 | Jan 18th, 2016

Jason and Stephen are joined by Geof Morris, a Payload Rack Officer for the International Space Station. Geof works at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

46:13 | Jan 4th, 2016

This week, Jason explains how the phases of the moon work before wading into the weird world of tides.

43:05 | Dec 21st, 2015

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, Jason and Stephen talk all about the Earth's journey around the sun and how it affects all of our lives.

1:20:10 | Dec 7th, 2015

This week, Stephen and Jason strap in and talk about NASA’s space shuttle program.

1:11:45 | Nov 23rd, 2015

Jason and Stephen talk about the not-so-impending doom facing Phobos and a bunch of other news before being joined by Emily Lakdawalla from The Planetary Society to discuss the future of solar system exploration.

1:00:57 | Nov 10th, 2015

A fortnight of news has passed, and Jason and Stephen are here to talk water in the solar system, Orion's progress, the 15th anniversary of crewed ISS missions and some new job openings at NASA.

57:11 | Oct 26th, 2015

This week, Stephen and Jason answer some burning questions about the sun.

1:12:31 | Oct 9th, 2015

Forget the popcorn; grab your potatoes! This week, Jason and Stephen talk all about The Martian.

49:29 | Sep 28th, 2015

Jason and Stephen gush over more Pluto photos and wish some Mars hardware a happy birthday before interviewing Rachel Binx from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

45:11 | Sep 14th, 2015

Jason and Stephen catch up on some of the latest space news, including classic NASA design specs, the new Boeing Starliner, a year-long mission to the International Space Station, and new pictures from Pluto.

53:30 | Aug 31st, 2015

Jason and Stephen talk about Earth's closest neighbor, the Moon.

47:27 | Aug 17th, 2015

Jason and Stephen talk about lettuce grown in space and the third anniversary of the Curiosity rover.

50:35 | Aug 15th, 2015

Jason Snell and Stephen Hackett talk about New Horizons' Pluto discoveries, a newly-discovered Earth-like planet, and why space is back in the news.