Are We There Yet? 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.
Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

From WMFE

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.

Most Recent Episodes

From a new space station to supply chain solutions, a check in with commercial space

NASA is working with private industry to handle the day-to-day business of space, like delivering supplies to the International Space Station. One of those companies will soon be Sierra Space. We'll speak with Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice about the company's plans for its Dream Chaser spaceplane, and how private industry is giving NASA a hand when it comes to business in low-Earth orbit. Then, industries throughout the global economy are feeling the impacts of supply chain issues, and the aerospace world is not immune to these challenges. But one commercial space leader argues the aerospace supply chain problem is a bit different than other sectors of the economy. We'll speak with Morpheus Space co-founder and president István Lőrincz about the unique challenges — and possible solutions — to supply chain issues in the aerospace industry.

From a new space station to supply chain solutions, a check in with commercial space

More moon science: Researchers explore lunar magma domes and growing plants on the moon

A team of researchers received approval for a $35 million dollar mission to the moon. The group will explore an uncharted portion of the moon, which scientists say was formed by magma below the surface. We'll hear from University of Central Florida's Addie Dove and Kerri Donaldson Hanna about the promises of that mission. Then, for the first time, scientists have grown plants in genuine lunar dirt. A team at the University of Florida used moon dust samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts to grow plants. NASA senior scientist Sharmila Bhattacharya says it's a key step in establishing a permanent presence on the moon.

More moon science: Researchers explore lunar magma domes and growing plants on the moon

For NASA's new moon-bound astronauts, it's time for some new suits

NASA needs new space suits. The agency wants to put people back on the moon in the 2020s, and to do it safely, it needs brand new spacesuits for use on the lunar surface. NASA is working with two private companies to design, develop and build the new suits — at a price of up to $3.5 billion. But making a new lunar spacesuit isn't easy. We'll talk with space policy analyst Laura Forczyk about the challenges ahead for new moon suits. Then, spacesuits have been around since the first human space missions in the 1960s. We'll speak with Smithsonian's Cathleen Lewis about the history of the spacesuits. Dressed for space. That's ahead on Are We There Yet?.

MegaCon, MegaRocket. The science of going back to the moon

https://youtu.be/2H-oPPwc00U NASA is set to take the next giant leap when it comes to lunar exploration. The agency's Artemis mission aims to return humans to the moon in the 2020s and scientists are really excited about what we might discover while there. And the science doesn't stop at the moon. NASA plans to take what it learns from a lunar exploration and head even deeper into our solar system by sending more missions to Mars. So what can we learn from human missions to the moon? And why are these lunar explorations so important to the future of deep space exploration? From the MegaCon Orlando convention floor, we'll hear from University of Central Florida physicists and host of the podcast Walkabout the Galaxy Addie Dove and Josh Colwell about the science of lunar exploration.

The power of parachutes

Coming back from space is dangerous. Astronauts in crew capsules are traveling at more than 25 times the speed of sound from space — and need to slow to just a few miles per hour to land safely back on this planet. After punching through our atmosphere, capsules like SpaceX's Crew Dragon use parachutes to make that final descent to Earth and help the crew land comfortably back on the planet. But parachutes are complex. And it takes an incredible amount of engineering to keep those astronauts safe during re-entry. So what's it like plummeting from space and landing...alive? We'll talk to Chris Sembroksi who flew on SpaceX's Inspiration-4 mission about the sight, sounds and emotions of falling back to Earth. Then, Boeing's Starliner is set to depart the station after its demonstration mission successfully reached the International Space Station. It's a big moment for Boeing and NASA. We'll talk with Frank Slazer, president and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration about this moment in spaceflight history and what's ahead now that NASA can focus on deep space exploration.

Starliner's redo, part two. Plus, the story of Susan Borman, Apollo 8 commander's wife

Boeing's Starliner is set for yet another test mission, a critical step before NASA lets its astronauts fly to space in it. An attempt to launch the capsule designed for NASA's commercial crew program back in 2019 left the ground — but failed to reach the space station. An attempt at a new mission earlier this year was delayed due to faulty valves on the vehicle used to steer it in space. As Boeing works to work out the kinks, NASA's other partner SpaceX is sending astronauts regularly to the station. So what's at stake for Boeing? And why is having two providers so important for NASA? We'll talk with space policy analyst Laura Forczyk about the pressure Boeing's Starliner faces. Then, Frank Boreman commanded the first crewed mission around the moon in 1968 — an incredibly risky but critical mission that got the first astronauts to the moon. Boreman and Apollo 8 succeeded, but the mission took a tremendous toll on his wife, Susan. A new book "Far Side of the Moon: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Boreman and the Woman Who Gave Him Wings" examines the role astronauts' wives played in the space race — and the enormous price they paid. We'll talk with author Liisa Jorgensen about her book.

Starliner's redo, part two. Plus, the story of Susan Borman, Apollo 8 commander's wife

What's at the center of our galaxy?

At the center of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole. It's a region of space where gravity is so strong nothing can escape it, not even light. While the name supermassive might make it seem like these things are easy to spot — they're really not. In 2019, a group of telescopes and scientists managed to image the first ever black hole, one at the center of the galaxy M87. That same group of scientists say they've got a major announcement related to our galaxy later this week. To talk more about the Event Horizon Telescope and what it may have spotted, we'll speak with Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney — physicists at the University of Central Florida and hosts of the podcast Walkabout the Galaxy. Then, when will humans step foot on Mars? It's a topic of discussion at this year's Human to Mars summit, taking place later this month. We'll talk with Explore Mars CEO Chris Carberry about the challenges that lie ahead and what government agencies and private industry are doing to get people to the red planet.

A new chapter in commercial space & how Elon's Twitter buy might impact SpaceX

Commercial space company Axiom says it is learning from its first all-private mission to the International Space Station last month and planning more commercial missions to low-Earth orbit.The company launched 4 people to the station last month from Kennedy Space Center on SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. Axiom is planning to build its own space station, first starting with elements attached to the ISS. Rex Walheim is a former NASA astronaut who flew on the final space shuttle mission. He now works at Axiom and joins us to talk about the company's plans for the future and what it's learning from this first commercial space flight. Then, SpaceX founder Elon Musk is buying the social media platform Twitter. What could this mean for Musk's space company? We'll speak with Quartz senior reporter Tim Fernholz about the implications of the buy.

A new chapter in commercial space & how Elon's Twitter buy might impact SpaceX

The case for Uranus: Outlining the next decade of discovery

Every 10 years, the National Academies submits a report, outlining what it thinks NASA should focus on when it comes to planetary science efforts. Uranus came out the big winner. In its decadal survey, scientists recommend NASA send a mission to the ice giant on the outskirts of our solar system. It would be the first mission to the planet since Voyager 2 zoomed by the planet back in 1986. So why Uranus? We'll speak with Paul Byrne, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis about the selection and what scientists hope to learn about a flagship mission to this mysterious planet. Then, the decadal also made recommendations for other planetary missions, including the continued exploration of the red planet. We'll speak with University of Florida astrobiologist Amy Williams about the decadal's recommendations for Mars explorers and how the group also took a look at diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the field of planetary sciences. The next 10 years of exploration! That's ahead on Are We There Yet, here on WMFE — America's Space Station.

Catching up with NASA's administrator & keeping an eye on the planet's health

It's a busy week for space news. The first all-private crew is set to depart the International Space Station after spending more than a week on board, a new crew of NASA astronauts is set to launch to the station this weekend, and the agency's next mega moon rocket experienced some troubles during a test at its launch pad, prompting more delays. We'll speak with NASA administrator Bill Nelson about these stories. Plus, we'll discuss this week's astronaut launch to the station, which will send the first Black female astronaut — Jessica Watkins — on a long-duration mission to the ISS. Last week, NASA announced its first Equity Action Plan. We'll talk about the agency's efforts to make space more equitable for all. Then, Awais Ahmed wants to measure the health of the planet. His company Pixxel is launching a fleet of satellites with the capabilities to monitor global health, including detecting gas leaks or spotting insect infestations before they can destroy crops. This innovation is made possible in part by affordable access to space. We'll talk with Ahmed about his company and how commercial space is helping him see the world through a different lens.

Catching up with NASA's administrator & keeping an eye on the planet's health