ESA Explores
Time and Space: launching Columbus to orbit

Time and Space: launching Columbus to orbit

March 16, 2021

The addition of ESA's Columbus laboratory, and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) programme, changed the shape of European participation on the International Space Station. But its launch came at a challenging time for human spaceflight.

In this episode ESA astronaut Frank De Winne and former ESA International Space Station programme manager Bernardo Patti talk about Columbus' launch on Space Shuttle Atlantis, the tragedy that preceded it, and what the science lab has enabled for Europeans in space to this day. 

On 31 March 2021, ESA is opening applications for its first astronaut recruitment round in more than a decade. Visit esa.int/YourWayToSpace to find out more and #MakeYourWayToSpace

Time and Space: entering the ISS era

Time and Space: entering the ISS era

February 3, 2021

It's not just Europeans who have flown into orbit, Europe has also produced some impressive pieces of space-worthy kit. In this episode, hosts Ally Koehler and Stephen Ennis take a look at some of the post-SpaceLab ESA projects that never quite made it, before entering the International Space Station era with guests Philippe Berthe, Frank De Winne, and Alan Thirkettle.  

Philippe is ESA Project Coordination Manager for the European Service Modules (ESM) that will power NASA's Orion spacecraft that will fly around – and to – the Moon. Frank was the first European commander of the International Space Station. He currently wears many hats, including ESA International Space Station Programme Manager. Alan is an engineering expert and was ESA's first ISS Programme Manager. 

Please forgive audio quality in some parts of this episode. All content was recorded remotely due to COVID-19 regulations. 

ESA Explores: agency heads look forward to the Moon

ESA Explores: agency heads look forward to the Moon

December 2, 2020

ESA Director General Jan Wörner and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sit down with hosts Ally Koehler and Stephen Ennis to talk about collaboration and the future of space exploration – including a new space station around the Moon. This episode was recorded just ahead of the 20 year anniversary of humans living and working on the International Space Station on 2 November 2020. 

Please note, there are some issues with audio quality due to the nature of recording remotely during a pandemic. We hope these don't detract from your listening experience. Enjoy!

Time and space: ESA’s first astronaut

Time and space: ESA’s first astronaut

November 25, 2020

In this episode of our ESA Explores Time and Space series we chat with the first ESA astronaut to fly to space, physicist Ulf Merbold.

Ulf flew on the 9th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle programme and the first flight of European-built Spacelab in 1983. As the first west German to fly to space, he talks us through his experiences – including his relationship with the late Sigmund Jähn, what life was like as first non-US citizen on a NASA spacecraft and how the astronauts and cosmonauts he worked with became like family through the years. 

Additional content:

Find out more about Ulf here: https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Astronauts/Ulf_Merbold

Watch the NASA/ESA Spacelab documentary here: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/Undated/Spacelab_-_A_New_Direction#.X70FccAUHCs.link

NASA Public Affairs Officer Lori Meggs talks about the 30th anniversary of the Spacelab programme with former Marshall Space Flight Center Deputy Director Teresa Vanhooser here: https://youtu.be/5ukl5ySa6ZA 

 

Time and space: building a Spacelab

Time and space: building a Spacelab

October 21, 2020

One of the first engineers to work on Spacelab Alan Thirkettle talks hosts Ally and Stephen through the unexpected challenges and memorable moments of building a science laboratory for space.

This unique European-built research facility flew inside NASA's Space Shuttle. It enabled the first flight of a non-American astronaut on a NASA spacecraft in 1983. It also paved the way for ESA's current laboratory on the International Space Station and the future of research in space. 

Related watching:

Spacelab - a new direction
https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/Undated/Spacelab_-_A_New_Direction#.X5AEwxB0wGw.link

Time and Space: the first Europeans in orbit

Time and Space: the first Europeans in orbit

September 16, 2020

In episode one of ESA Explores' Time and Space series, we explore the early days of Soviet spaceflight in conversation with Romania's first cosmonaut Dorin Prunariu. Dorin was one of 11 Europeans to fly under Russia's Interkosmos programme. In 1978, this programme saw the first European - Czech cosmonaut Vladimir Remek - become the first non-Russian or American to fly to space. 

Interview with Dorin starts at 05:17. 

AstroChat - training for the Space Station

AstroChat - training for the Space Station

August 14, 2020

ESA astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Matthias Maurer take the time to chat while training for upcoming missions to the International Space Station missions at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA. 

This audio was originally a four-part video series filmed in June 2020. You can watch the full series on ESA's YouTube channel. 

ESA Explores – ESA missions return to science

ESA Explores – ESA missions return to science

July 20, 2020

After a brief shutdown of science instruments and a period in ‘safe standby’, ESA’s planetary missions are getting back to what they do best – gathering science data from around the Solar System.

 

Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations at ESA’s mission control centre in Germany, and Markus Kissler-Patig, Head of Science and Operations at the Agency’s ESAC Astronomy Centre in Spain discuss the extraordinary and challenging times facing teams on the ground, the return to science for four key missions, and what it's like to make key decisions about the safety of their workforce and Europe’s fleet of space explorers in light of a global pandemic.

 

This podcast episode was originally released in April 2020. 

Beyond Series – Luca reflects on a mission E10

Beyond Series – Luca reflects on a mission E10

March 18, 2020

Just a short time after returning from 201 days in orbit on the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano talks to Ally Koehler about his Beyond mission and life back on Earth. 

Beyond Series – Looking beyond Beyond E09

Beyond Series – Looking beyond Beyond E09

February 19, 2020

Dr Aidan Cowley is a science advisor at ESA working with students and researchers on ideas that could shape the way we go forward to the Moon. In this episode, he discusses an initiative called Spaceship EAC, the future of space exploration and an alternative use for your kitchen microwave as we look beyond low Earth orbit. 

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