Rod Pyle joins Leo to talk about William Shatner going into space with Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital space tourism flights. Rod says that Shatner has made a commitment to push the flights in a variety of interviews, as well as for STEM education. Blue Origin is also offering a service where they will fly postcards into space, cancel the postage, and send it back to you as a souvenir. Rod Pyle says that Shatner also wants to join the conversation on renewable energy sources, including solar satellites that can transmit energy down to the planet.
Rod joins Leo to talk about Foundation, the Isaac Asimov series on Apple TV+. Rod agrees that it's beautifully shot and tries really hard to be profound, but the characters are just dry and boring.
Rod joins Leo to talk about William Shatner's upcoming flight into space, which, at age 90, will cement his status as the oldest living man to go into space as part of the next Blue Origin New Shepard space flight. It'll be part of a documentary from Amazon, and it's sure to be a grand adventure for Captain Kirk.
Rod Pyle joins Leo to talk about the launch of the Astra rocket, which started its launch inching sideways across the launch pad before going up. Astra is a small rocket start-up, launching its third attempt. What happened? Rod says that one of the give small engines failed, and it could only hover until it became light enough to start climbing. Eventually, the rocket had to be destroyed as debris began to fall off the rocket itself. So third time wasn't a charm for Astra. But Space is hard.
Rod returns to catch us up on what's happening on Mars. The Chinese Rover has had its mission extended past its original 90 days. Road says it's very impressive for a first mission. Meanwhile, the US Perseverance rover had its first drilling attempt to grab a sample to return home in a future mission. But the soil was so powdery; they have to move to another location and try again.
Rod is back to talk about the billionaire space cowboys who have recently gone up into "space." Not even orbiting, mind you, just going up in a popcorn-like trajectory. Both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have gone up in their own developed space ships, while Elon Musk is busy creating his spaceship to go to Mars. But are they really astronauts? The FAA doesn't seem to think so, having released new specifications of how high you have to get to be considered an astronaut.
Rod joins Leo to talk about Jeff Bezos' flight on July 20th in Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft, which will duplicate Alan Shepard's suborbital flight in 1961. He's also taking Wally Funk, who was tested in the 60s by the Lovelace Clinic with the same tests as the original Mercury astronauts. Rod will be speaking at Spacefest this year about how movies have predicted our spacefaring future.
Micah is a member of the Airplane Geeks Podcast and has a question for Rod Pyle. He thinks that what Richard Branson did was OK for an airline flight. But Jeff Bezos taking Wally Funk up to space on Blue Origin's New Shepard is just plain genius. Leo says he definitely wins the PR war since Wally Funk is one of the Mercury 13: women who took the same tests as the Mercury Astronauts but were never chosen to be astronauts.
In what was dubbed the "battle of the billionaires," Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson became the first billionaire to touch space. Branson beat the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, by one week who is planning to launch on Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. Bezos took the high road, wishing Branson best wishes as he plans to join the Virgin founder flying above the "Von Karman" line to become an official astronaut. Leo wonders what's the point of it all, though, since Alan Shepard was the first American in space doing the same kind of sub-orbital flight in 1961.
The latest battle for space is being waged by billionaires. Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin is up against Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic. And it looks like Branson is going to beat Bezos into space, launching his reusable space plane Unity Sunday. Bezos will be going up a week later. Leo says it used to be the battle of who can build the biggest yacht. Now it's who launches in a spaceship. Meanwhile, Elon Musk has sold all his houses and is living in a trailer in Texas to oversee the development of the SpaceX Starship for a journey to Mars.