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About the Podcast

SPEXcast is a weekly podcast diving into a variety of space topics. We are a group of Rochester Institute of Technology students that are excited about space and space exploration. Come with us as we discuss the cutting edge of spacecraft engineering, potential future missions to outer space, and exciting scientific discoveries in the field of astrophysics. Check out our blog for new content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Meet the Team

Phil Linden

Producer, Editor, Host 

Augie Allen

TJ Tarazevits

Drew Walters

Participate in the discussion!

Email us at
Tweet @ritspex or use the tag #spexcast 


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CategoryHigher Education, Natural Sciences, Technology, Engineering
ScheduleWeekly, New episodes every Wednesday
Avg. Length30-60 minutes
DebutFebruary 16, 2016

Recent Blog Posts

SpaceX Starship explosion represents progress, not setback, on the path towards Mars
Five prototype Starships have failed in various ways in the South Texas coast, but the program continues to pick up speed
SpaceX DM-2: Mission Timeline
Follow along every step of the way as NASA astronauts launch from Cape Canaveral for the first time in 9 years
SpaceX DM-2: Everything you need to know about launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil this Wednesday
On May 27th, 2020 SpaceX and NASA will launch two astronauts, Col. Bob Behnken and Col. Doug Hurley, on Crew Dragon, the first crew-rated spacecraft to launch from US soil in over nine years.
Rocket Lab Captures Rocket Mid-Air in Key Reusability Test
Parachute recovery would enable re-use of Electron boosters after launch
Boeing Will Re-fly Starliner Capsule After Failed Test Flight
Boeing set aside $410 million earlier this year to pay for the second attempt
Elon Musk releases SpaceX Falcon 9 Hard landing Footage
Finally unveiled two and a half years after one of Falcon 9's hardest landings during BulgariaSat-1
69: Improving the Spaceport America Cup for 2019
This year's Spaceport America Cup showcased student rocket teams from around the world
SA Cup 2019 Spotlight: Rockets bridge rivalries at the Spaceport America Cup
It is clear that the students know how much work goes into just getting a rocket on the launch rail, and that earns mutual respect.
SA Cup 2019 Spotlight: Iowa State reinvents their rocket... and their team
Cyclone Rocketry returned to Spaceport America with a whole new rocket and a whole new approach to building it.
Kicking off a Week of Rocket Engineering at Spaceport America Cup 2019
Students from around the world are here to launch rockets they designed and built themselves.
Inside the birthplace of American Rocketry: White Sands Missile Range
Rockets took to the post-war New Mexican desert, paving the way to space.
68: Space Policy with Marcia Smith
We sit down with the founder and editor of SpacePolicyOnline, Marcia Smith, to discuss the role space policy plays in every space activity we see
67: NASA's AWEsome Atmospheric Waves Experiment and DALI Awards
New investments in sensors and instruments will enable the next generation of scientific discoveries
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Suffers Anomaly During SuperDraco Test
A major setback for the decade long program
66: Robotic Exploration with SpaceIL and Hayabusa2
Dive into the commercial and government robotic probes that give humans a presence beyond our planet.

76: SpaceX DM-2 and the Impact of Commercial Crew
This week on SPEXcast, we discuss SpaceX's historic Demonstration Mission 2 for NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Program. We dive into how this mission will change NASA going forward, as well as the challenges and achievements SpaceX worked through over the past 10 years. Finally we look forward to the next big milestones for commercial spaceflight.
75: SPHEREx with Dr. Michael Zemcov
This week on SPEXcast, we discuss the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (or SPHEREx). It is a two year science mission designed to survey the cosmos in 96 color bands, mapping the whole sky once every 6 months, and all this data will be publicly available. The mission was recently selected by NASA’s Explorer program and is targeting a 2023 launch. Today on the show we are speaking with Dr. Michael Zemcov of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Zemcov is an assistant professor at the RIT Center for Detectors and one of 19 co-investigators for the SPHEREx mission.
74: NASA Human Landing System Selection
This week on SPEXcast, we discuss NASA's announcement of Human Landing System contracts for three companies: Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Dynetics. We dive into the details behind NASA's decision, breaking down each proposal by technial merit, management organization, and price.
73: Can the Space Industry survive Coronavirus?
This week on SPEXcast, we analyze the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the space industry. OneWeb files for bankruptcy, Bigelow Aerospace fires all employees, and small launcher startups face an uncertain future.
72: 2019 Recap and Looking Forward to 2020 in Space
This week on SPEXcast, we kickoff the year by recapping 2019 in space. Faris joins the team as an episode regular, and we also discuss what we anticipate will be the biggest stories and missions of 2020.
71: In-Space Refueling with Orbit Fab's James Bultitude
This week on SPEXcast we sit down with James Bultitude, Lead Engineer at Orbit Fab. Orbit Fab aims to build 'gas stations' in space, allowing spacecraft to refuel when they would otherwise be discarded. He talks through the challenges of in-space refueling as well as what it is like going from a mission proposal to functioning experiment on the ISS within 6 months.
70: SpaceX Starlink Takes Flight
This week on SPEXcast we recap Space'x first operational Starlink launch. SpaceX plans to build and launch thousands of Low Earrth Orbit satellites to provide satellite internet around the world. We break down the unique design considerations of the Starlink satellite and talk about the implications of the global constellation.
69: Improving the Spaceport America Cup for 2019
The Spaceport America Cup provides students from around the world a safe opportunity to practice the art of high-powered rocketry. University teams descend to the New Mexico desert for the week to present their technical achievements and battle the elements and plain-old rocket science problems to take flight. This week on SPEXcast we sit down to discuss Spaceport America 2019, including the highlights of the competition, the changes since 2018, and the future of this event as space engineering continues to grow in popularity . You can check out additional links and references at .
68: Space Policy with's Marcia Smith
Whether it be NASA directives, FCC regulations or military operations in space, there's no doubt that policy has a significant impact on industry at every turn Today on SPEXcast we will take a closer look at space policy with Marcia Smith, the founder and editor of . You can check out additional links and references at .
67: NASA's AWEsome Atmospheric Waves Experiment and DALI Awards
This week on SPEXcast we dive into the scientific instruments that drive new discoveries. NASA’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) selected 5 finalist projects for continued development. From neutron generators that can determine the composition of planets to lasers that can determine how old our solar system is, these new instruments promise exciting scientific potential if and when they fly on spacecraft in the future. NASA also selected the Atmospheric Waves Experiment as part of NASA’s heliophysics explorers program, which will go to the ISS to expand our understanding of airglow in Earth’s atmosphere. You can check out additional links and references at .
66: Robotic Exploration with SpaceIL and Hayabusa2
This week on SPEXcast, we dive into the exciting advancements and discoveries robotic science vehicles are making across the solar system. SpaceIL launched the first commercial lunar lander on a SpaceX Falcon 9. Also JAXA’s Hayabusa2 landed on its target asteroid Ryugu, shooting it with a bullet to collect samples for the next stage of its multi-year mission. Lastly, we remember Opportunity, one of the most prolific robotic explorers. You can check out additional links and references at .
65: Commercial Crew Takes Flight to LEO and Beyond
This week on SPEXcast, we dive into NASA's manned spaceflight initatives. Commercial Crew is finally flying, albeit uncrewed. NASA also announced its follow up to the Commercial Crew development program with NextSTEP-2, a proposal to build manned lunar landers to support future Moon landings. You can check out additional links and references at .
64: SpaceX Raptor Breathes Fire and Virgin Galactic Takes Flight
This week on SPEXcast, we kick of 2019 with some of the biggest space stories of the year, so far. SpaceX has radically redesigned their BFR/ITS Mars rocket into the gleaming Starship and Super Heavy. Virgin Galactic reached space for the first time, and Stratolaunch backs out of the rocket development game. You can check out additional links and references at .
63: Student Innovation at Spaceport America Cup 2018
On June 19th, 2018 SPEXcast headed down to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Spaceport America Cup. We were able to speak with the organizers of the event, student teams, and key space industry figures. This episode is part one of three, covering our overall experience at the competition, how it works, and our main takeaways from the experience. Stay tuned for Part Two in the coming weeks, which will follow the moment-by-moment stories of several student teams throughout the week as well as Part Three, which follows our home team from Rochester Institute of Technology. You can check out additional links and references at .
62: On-Demand Satellite Constellations with York Space Systems' Charles Beames
This week on SPEXcast, we sit down with Charles Beames, CSO of York Space Systems, a New Space startup that provides full service satellite development and operations to companies seeking to utilize the space environemnt. We discuss the unique challenges of offering end-to-end service to customers, how to build satellites within two days, and the evolving opportunities New Space provides businesses and government. You can check out additional links and references at .
61: Unlocking the Potential of Synthetic Aperture Radar with ICEYE's Pekka Laurila
This week on SPEXcast, we sit down with Pekka Laurila, Co-Founder of ICEYE, a New Space startup trying to revolutionize the business of space-based, synthetic aperture radar imagery. We talk about the challenges of building microsatellite constellations capable of imaging the entire planet and the key commercial technologies ICEYE leverages to make radar imagery available more quickly than ever before. We also discuss the technologies required to turn radar data into actionable information that companies can leverage to make decisions that can impact all of us. You can check out additional links and references at .
60: SpaceX Flight Control, CRS-15 Payloads, and Chinese Lunar Missions
This week on SPEXcast, we dive into the recent announcements by SpaceX on their new launch complex, the exciting new research and technology demonstrations on NASA's CRS-15 mission to the International Space Station, and some of the unique payloads launched by global launch providers including infrastructure for China's most ambitious lunar mission yet. We also cover the Tesla Roadster SpaceX edition unveil as well as Soyuz MS-09, bringing three new crew members to the ISS. You can check out additional links and references at .
59: Copenhagen Suborbitals with Mads Wilson
This week on SPEXcast, we sit down with Mads Wilson, communications lead for Copenhagen Suborbitals, a volunteer space program based in Denmark with the ambitious goal of launching a human into orbit. We delve into the history of CopSub with Mads, reflecting on the engineering process for their past and future rockets, and the unique challenges and benefits of volunteering engineering blood, sweat and tears into a space program open to (almost) all. You can check out additional links and references at .
58: Terraforming Mars: Challenges and Misconceptions
This is the last part of our four part 'Mars May' series where we discuss the missions and technologies enabling Mars exploration.Mars is a tantalizing goal for the next step in human exploration. However, the fourth, rocky planet from the Sun is a harsh world to live on. Terraforming offers the possibility of making Mars a new home for humans, but the challenge is immense. We dive into some of the key aspects of Mars colonization and terraforming today on SPEXcast. You can check out additional links and references at .
57: Mars Rover Operations with Doug Klein
The third installment of SPEXcast's "Mars May" leads us to a part of interplanetary missions that doesn't get much attention. We often discuss the capabilities of rovers, their designs and objectives, and all the science learned from years spent on the surface of Mars. But what about the engineers who interact with the rovers themselves? What goes into operating a vehicle millions of miles away, and what is a typical work day like? To answer these questions, we spoke with Doug Klein, a sampling systems engineer who spent the last few years working with Curiosity's Mars Science Lab (MSL) and is now a Robotic Arm Flight System Engineer for its successor, the Mars 2020 rover. Doug has experience with daily downlink analysis for sample acquisition and processing, planning out the rover's actions on the uplink side of things, and investigating anomalies and their contingency plans when things went wrong. You can check out additional links and references at .
56: Mars Cube One, the first interplanetary CubeSats with Joel Steinkraus
This week on SPEXcast we continue 'Mars May' with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer Joel Steinkraus to discuss two CubeSats hitching a ride with the InSight mission, which launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5th. Mars Cube One (MarCO) is comprised of a pair of 6U CubeSats which will each relay signals from the InSight lander back to Earth during while it enters the Martian atmosphere. We ask Joel about the technology behind MarCO and the challenges of designing two interplanetary CubeSats. You can check out additional links and references at .
55: Digging into Mars with InSight's Troy Hudson, Instrument Systems Engineer
This week on SPEXcast, we sit down with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer Troy Hudson to discuss NASA's Mars InSight mission. InSight is scheduled to launch May 5th from Vandenburg Air Force Base on its journey to the surface of Mars. We discuss several of the instruments on InSight and go into a deep dive on HP^3, which Troy Hudson primarily worked on, including how the probe functions, its scientific objective, and the challenges of digging on another planet. You can check out additional links and references at .
54: SpaceX's New Mars Rocket Factory and a Fully-Reusable Falcon 9
This week on SPEXcast, we dive into this developments and give the inside scoop on SpaceX’s recovery efforts. On April 9th, Elon Musk shared a photo of a large mandrel to be used to manufacture the Big Fucking Spaceship (BFS). This unveil comes along side the confirmation that the Port of LA will be the location of the BFR factory. While BFR is still years away, Elon also teased 2nd stage recovery again, hinting at inflatable ballutes as the key to safely returning the 2nd stage to Earth. You can check out additional links and references at .
53: NASA's New Administrator, OmegA, and Europa Clipper
This week on SPEXcast we talk about news from the 34th Space Symposium, political intrigue behind Europa Clipper, and the admission of defeat by the Russian space company ILS. You can check out additional links and references at
52: HAB4 - RIT Space Exploration's latest mission
This week on SPEXcast, we sit down with Dan Mitchell and Matt Glazer, two RIT students and alumni who worked on RIT Space Exploration's High Altitude Balloon program. We talk about some of the scientific payloads that go onto the balloon platform, as well as the history of prior launches and past accomplishments. You can check out additional links and references at .
51: NOAA Controversy, New Glenn Evolution, and Tiangong-1 Re-entry
This week on SPEXcast, we discuss the recent Iridium-5 launch and fairing recovery efforts. We also dive into Tiangong-1 re-entry and the history of space station deorbits. Blue Origin announced their decision to focus on BE-3 for their upper stage on New Glenn. You can check out additional links and references at .
50: CRS-7 Public Report and Satellite 2018
This week on SPEXcast, we discuss the recent release of the public report on the CRS-7 incident. We also cover the exciting new from Satellite 2018, including updates from key space industry executives. Orbital ATK also unveiled their Mission Extension Vehicle, which they intend to use to provide on-orbit maintenance and mission life extensions. You can check out additional links and references at .
49: Christian Davenport Interview
This week on SPEXcast, we interview Christian Davenport, staff writer for The Washington Post, and author of the new book, 'Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos'. We ask him what inspired him to tell this story now, and for his insight into industry trends like the shift from Journey to Mars back to the Moon. You can check out a written version of the interview and additional links and references at .
48: MIT New Space Age Conference and SXSW
This week on SPEXcast, we delve into illegal cubesats, Blue Origin's plan for a cislunar economy, as well as Elon's thoughts on Starman and the Falcon Heavy launch. Show notes and references can be found at our blog,
47: GOES-S, StarLink, and the Challenges of Space Engineering Programs
Engineering space to be useful to humans is hard work. Today on SPEXcast we sit down to discuss two space satellite networks, GOES and StarLink, and how they help humanity during our day to day lives. But we’re also covering two examples of the challenges of space engineering, the VA241 anomaly on Ariane V and new delays and cost overruns for JWST.
46: 2 Years of SPEXcast
It's SPEXcast's birthday! Two years ago, some college students released their first ever podcast. 45 episodes later, SPEXcast reminisces on the start of the show, our top 3 favorite episodes, and the process that goes into each episode.
45: Holly Griffith - Space Shuttle Flight Controller and Orion Safety Engineer
SPEXcast sits down with Holly Griffith, Vehicle Systems Engineer for ECLSS on Orion Program in Safety and Mission Assurance and a former Shuttle flight controller. We ask her about her experiences sitting in on the return to flight launch of the Shuttle in 2005, her most stressful day on the job, as well as her new work on Orion. We also geek out over her Star Wars fandom, and discuss her mission to encourge women to join STEM fields. Check her out on social media @absolutspacegrl
44: NASA Budget 2019
SPEXcast sits down with SPEX alumn, Anthony Hennig, to discuss the proposed changes in the FY2019 NASA budget. We delve into the WFIRST cancelation, the future of humanity's continued presence into space, and cuts to the Office of Education. We also delve into the Head of the ESA's reactions to the FH launch.
43: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Flies!
SPEXcast sits down to discuss the first launch of Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful operational orbital rocket. The test launch was almost completely successful, with two of the three booster cores returning to Earth intact, and Elon's Tesla Roadster with Starman on its way to the asteroid belt. We delve into the sequence of events on launch day, as well as break down all of the exciting announcements from the post-launch press conference.
42: SPEXcast Space News Recap: Winter 2018
SPEXcast returns from its winter hiatus with all new episodes on the science and technology of space exploration. We sit down to discuss the recent Rocket Labs Electron launch, commercial crew challenges, as well as two NASA exploration missions that have advanced to the next stage of development.
41: SPEXcast Book Club: Ignition Chapter 1 and 2
Today's episode is a new format; SPEXcast Book Club! We will be choosing a space-related book, and reading through it a few chapters at a time and giving our feedback, questions, and discussion. Our first book is called Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark. We dive through the first two chapters, covering the historical basis of rocket propulsion pre World War II and then diving into the exciting advances made in WWII by Nazi Germany and the U.S.
40: Post-IAC 2017 Discussion
At this year's International Astronautical Congress, Elon Musk unveiled a new design for SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket. We sit down with Brendan Byrne, from Are We There Yet, and Matt, from The Interplanetary Podcast, to discuss the radical and not so radical changes to a rocket that could take humans to Mars by 2025.
39: Pre-IAC Predications 2017
Last year, Elon Musk took to the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara Mexico to unveil the Interplanetary Transport System. A year later, he is set to deliver an update on the plan, and SPEXcast sits down to discuss what potential changes we might see in the architecture.
38: SmallSat Conference 2017
SPEXcast sits down with Anthony Hennig, a Graduate Research Assistant at George Washington University, to record his thoughts from SmallSat 2017. We delve into how the CubeSat space has evolved over time, as well as take a look at what exciting missions and advancements we will be seeing in the near future.
37: Green Propellant Infusion Mission
SPEXcast discusses Ball Aerospace's Green Propellant Infusion Mission. This satellite will test new monopropellants that are more efficient, and less toxic, than existing fuels. We dive into this new, exciting technology and discuss its advantages and disadvantages in length. We also delve into its potential impact on the satellite industry in the future.
36: ISS Research and Development Conference and Elon Musk Keynote
SPEXcast returns with an episode delving into the stunning announcements from ISSRDC by Elon Musk. We cover the Red Dragon cancellation, Falcon Heavy Demo flight risks, and the cancellation of SpaceX's full-size Interplanetary Transport System vehicle.
35: NASA Authorization Bill and New Glenn
SPEXcast sits down with SPEX alumn, Anthony Hennig, a Ph.D student studying Systems Engineering at George Washington University. We discuss the recently passed NASA Authorization Act that provides the direction for all of NASA's activities. We also discuss New Glenn, which had been recently announced when this episode was recorded.
34: Rocket Reuse Revisted
SPEXcast returns after a short hiatus to discuss the biggest trend in the space industry: reusing rockets. Our first episode was on this topic just over a year ago, and things have advanced dramatically during that time. We dicuss SpaceX's SES-10 mission and post-press conference news, as well as the effects rapid reuse will have on the industry in the next few years.
SPEXcast Wallops and CSTARS Update
This is a short update on the current state of the show. We apologize for missing an episode last week but we have some exciting things in the pipeline for all of you. Phil is currently in Wallops, Virginia, preparing for his very own rocket launch. We will have a full episode on CSTARS in the coming weeks. Also SPEXcast will have its second annual SPEXcast Live! on May 6th, as part of ImagineRIT. If you are in the upstate New York area, please consider joining the festivities! Regularly scheduled episodes will resume Wednesday, April 5th, with the an episode on the recent NASA Authorization Bill for 2017.
33: SpaceX Lunar Mission (Grey Dragon)
On February 27th, SpaceX announced that it will launch two private citizens on a flight around the moon by the end of 2018. SPEXcast sits down to discuss the technical and political challenges of such a mission. We also discuss the Blue Moon whitepaper by Blue Origin for an unmanned cargo lander on the moon. We wrap all this up by comparing these private space efforts with the current progress of NASA's own missions into cislunar space.
32: Trappist-1
On February 22nd, NASA announced that 7 Earth-like planets orbit the star known as Trappist-1, within its habitable zone. SPEXcast sits down with RIT's Dr. Jennifer Connelly, a Doctor in Extragalactic Astronomy, to interpret this discovery
31b: Generation Ships
In this special bonus episode, SPEXcast discusses the concept of generation ships. Barring extreme advances in space travel technology and our understanding of physics, it could take hundreds or thousands of years to send humans to other worlds. This would necessite self sustaining societies to exist on these vessels, acting as caretakers for the human race until they arrive at their new home. We discuss the moral implications of sending our successors off into space with no chance of seeing their final destination.
31a: Weekly News for 2-24-2017
SPEXcast sits down to discuss the happenings in space for the week. We talk about SpaceX\'s CRS-10 mission, crew on SLS EM-1 and Citizen scientists.
30: Meta Discussion on Spacecraft Construction and Design
Science fiction is dominated by gigantic spaceships exploring the stars, however real life spacecraft appear to be made of smaller, discrete pieces. On the other hand, games like Kerbal Space Program present building rockets as simple as snapping together lego pieces. How much is science and how much is fiction?
29: 2016 Year in Review
SPEXcast looks back on some of the successes and failures of 2016 and share their thoughts on what's to come in 2017
Season 3 Promo
No discussion this week, just a heads up on what's on the horizon for the podcast. Next week we'll be back for a full hour discussing 2016: Year in Review. What was your favorite space mission from 2016? Join the conversation on Twitter (@RITSPEX),, or email
28: James Webb Space Telescope
SPEXcast speaks with Matt Greenhouse, Project Scientist of the James Webb Space Telescope, about the observatory's objectives and the tech that makes it all possible. Many thanks to Sarah Schlieder and NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center for setting up this interview and others, and to Brendan Byrne (of WMFE Orlando and Are We There Yet?) for putting us in touch.
27: NASA Cubesats
SPEXcast sits down with Pam Millar, Chief of the Laser Remote Sensing Lab at NASA GSFC to discuss cubesat applications and NASA programs involving nanosatellites.
26: Skywatch
SPEXcast sits down with Dexter Jagula from Skywatch. Skywatch is an API(Application Programming Interface) for easily accessing datasets from Earth sensing satellites. Their goal is to make scientific data easily accessible to developers to fuel scientific and commercial research. Check out our new website at Our intro music is provided by Nelson Scott
25: Solar Science & STEREO
SPEXcast speaks with Dr. Terry Kucera, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard, about solar science and how NASA observes the Sun with spacecrafts like the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories (STEREO). Explore the Sun on your own (in real time!) with and stay up to date with NASA's continued solar studies on Twitter @NASASunEarth and @NASAGoddard
24: Open Source Hardware &
SPEXcast sits down with the Co-Founder of, a social network for engineers to collaborate and work on engineering challenges for the future We also have new intro music courtesy of Nelson Scott. Check out his Soundcloud below!
23: Orion with Dustin Neill
SPEXcast sits down with Dustin Neill, an engineer at Lockheed Martin working on the Orion Crew Capsule. We discuss the Descent and Landing subsystem as well as the general capabilities and future missions for the Orion capsule. We also have new intro music courtesy of Nelson Scott. Check out his Soundcloud below!
22: SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System
SPEXcast sits down to discuss SpaceX's big announcement from IAC, the Interplanetary Transport System. We break down the key points as well as highlight the challenges facing the colossal project. We also propose a few questions we still have after the announcement. X-33/VentureStar-What really Happened? Boeing CEO Vows to Beat Musk to Mars
21: Pre IAC Predications
SpaceX and Elon Musk are announcing the details for their Mars rocket next week at the International Astronautical Congress. SPEXcast sits down to discuss the potential mission plan and challenges such a mission will endure. We also make our best prediction as to what exactly will be announced on Tuesday. Stay tuned for a post-announcement reaction episode!
Space From The Ground Up: Why We Explore
Every few years, humans lob another multi-million dollar craft into space without any hope of returning to Earth. Why do we even bother?
20: Tory Bruno
SPEXcast sits down the the CEO of United Launch Alliance, Tory Bruno, to talk about the future of ULA, its next generation launch vehicle Vulcan, with its ACES upper stage, and the future of humans in space.
19: Commander Chris Hadfield
Phil, TJ, Augie, Drew, and Chris had the opportunity to speak with Canadian astronaut, pilot and engineer Commander Chris Hadfield about his experiences in space, and asked him a few questions about the past, present, and future of space exploration. A transcript of this episode is available here \\n
18b: Small Satellite Conference 2016
Phil and TJ debrief Augie who was live from Small Satellite Conference 2016. Augie was on the show floor for three days, attending sessions on the state of the small sat industry. We talk about the highlights from each day and the coolest things from the confernece.
18a: Gywnne Shotwell Small Satellite Conference Reactions
Phil and TJ debrief Augie who was live from Small Satellite Conference 2016. Augie attended Gwynne Shotwell's keynote speech. We break her speech down point by point and connect it to recent SpaceX news.
17: Brendan Byrne Interview
Part 2 of the SPEX Summer Series: Phil, Drew, TJ, and Augie sit down with space reporter Brendan Byrne. a producer for public radio station WMFE 90.7 in Orlando, a space reporter for Florida’s Space Coast, and hosts the space exploration podcast Are We There Yet. We dive into the changing political landscape of the Florida Space Coast. What has changed since the shuttle stopped flying in 2011? How are SpaceX and Blue Origin reshaping the space coast to support commercial activities in space? \n Relevant links:\n \n \n \n
16: SPEXcast News Roundup July 2016
TJ, Augie, and Drew discuss current events in space for July 2016.
Part 1 of the SPEX Summer Series: Phil and TJ interview engineers Padraig Lysandrou and David Levine about their experiences building the Violet satellite at the Cornell Space Systems Design Studio in Ithaca, NY.
14: SPEXcast News Roundup June 2016
SPEXcast is back! Phil, TJ, Augie, and Drew discuss this summer's recent events in the space industry.
SPEXcast Summer Series Update
SPEXcast will be back this summer with a few bonus episodes featuring exclusive interviews from awesome people in the spaceflight industry. For updates and more information, check out and Twitter @RITSPEX. Regular weekly episodes will resume in late August. Stay tuned!
13: Asteroid Mining and Public Policy
SPEXcast revists Asteroid Mining with Anthony Henning, as he releases his thesis on asteroid mining and public policy. We discuss the policy implications on the growth of asteroid mining in the near future.
12: SPEXcast Live!
SPEXcast is live! Phil, T.J., and Augie sit down with our special guest Kevin Cooke for SPEXcast's first live episode from ImagineRIT. Listen in as we discuss the mysterious ice world of Europa, Jupiter's 6th moon. We delve into the unique geological and scientific insights Europa might hold as well as dicuss future plans to explore this strange place. Join us as we investigate Europa Clipper, potential lander missions, and even a nuclear hydrothermal drill!
11: Spaceplanes
Phil, Augie, Cole, and newcomer Alex talk about SpaceX and spaceplanes. At the start of the show, the guys discuss SpaceX's recently announced plans to send a capsule to Mars. Skip to 11:34 to hear all about crafts that behave like airplanes in the atmosphere and rockets when in space.
10: Cubesats
Phil, T.J., Auggie, and our guest Drew discuss Cubesats and their subsystems. These small satellites are taking advantage of the microelectronic revolution to provide low cost platforms for scientific experiments in space. Join us as we break down cubesats, subsystem by subsystem, and show why the Cubesat standard is the ideal opportunity to get hands on experience with space systems.
9: Cryonics
Biomedical Engineers Augie and Cole lead a discussion on cryonics, torpor, and the science of human preservation in the name of space travel.
8: RIT Astronomy Week
It's Astronomy Week here at RIT, so Phil and TJ sit down with two astronomers and physicists, Dr. Jennifer Connelly and Dr. Michael Zemcov, to talk about the technology that allows us to see beyond our home planet -- telescopes. How do modern telescopes work? Is empty space really empty? Can we use wormholes as windows across the universe?
7: Rocket Propulsion
Phil, TJ, and August sit down with our special guest, Ben McFadden, to talk about rocket engines. Why do we use rockets in space? What physical principles govern rocket engines? What are the basic designs of chemical rocket engines and how can they be improved?
6: Interplanetary Travel
Phil, TJ, and Anthony discuss all the different methods of travelling within our solar system. What types of propulsion is out there? How can we survive long journeys? Do astronauts eat enough?
5: Q&A with the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation
SPEXcast hosts a Q&A session with Brennan Ireland and Monica Rizzo, two researchers from the RIT Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (CCRG) who simulate spacetime with supercomputers. How are gravitational waves modeled? Are there practical applications for gravitational waves? Can we simulate wormholes? What does a black hole merger sound like?
4: Asteroid Mining
SPEXcast discusses the future of asteroid mining. Our special guest, Anthony Hennig is a 5th year student at RIT whose thesis is on Asteroid Mining Public Policy. Who owns asteroids? Is it moral to mine asteroids but not Mars? How do we utilize the resources we harvest in space?
3: Moon vs. Mars
SPEXcast dicusses whether humanity should focus on the Moon or Mars first as it steps out beyond the Earth's gravity well. Should we use the Moon to practice eventual techniques for visiting Mars? What benefit would a lunar colony have for humanity? Would a Phobos base speed up Martian colonization? We delve into all of those questions in this episode of SPEXcast.
2b: Brave New World
SPEXcast goes a bit off-topic and discusses the dystopia of Brave New World. We discuss the role of production on the culture of society and whether the achievement of universal happiness is the satisfying conclusion of the pursuit of happiness
2a: Gravitational Waves
SPEXcast discusses the recent discovery of gravitational waves. We delve into RIT's key role in the discovery, as well as the history of the theory of gravitational waves.
1: Rocket Reusability
SPEXcast delves into the field of reusable rocket technology. Listen as we discuss SpaceX's historic rocket landing, Blue Origin's New Shepard, SMART reuse and Project Adeline.