Return To Flight | A Radio Special
Since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, NASA has relied solely on the Russian space agency to send astronauts into orbit. That reliance ends as SpaceX launches humans from the U.S. for the first time in nearly a decade.
RETURN TO FLIGHT is a special presentation from WMFE that aired ahead of that historic mission. Join us as we talk with space leaders and former astronauts about NASA's Commercial Crew Program and the efforts to launch humans from the U.S. once more.
Click the media player above to listen to this show.
Charlie Bolden, Former NASA Administrator
On returning launch capabilities to the United States: "We pride ourselves as being the greatest nation in the world and in being the nation that everybody looks to and symbolically. It's really hard to prove to people that you're the leader in the world in space if you don't own it, if you don't have the capability of doing everything from from your own soil."
On making space for all: "I think shuttles greatest legacy is what it did for society, in allowing people who, who before before Shuttle had no hope of going to space people like me. I'm an African American and I didn't stand a chance of going to space before Shuttle. So I think something that is billed as a commercial program that that is for everybody, not just NASA, stands a chance of allowing people who might otherwise never go to space to have an opportunity to go."
Nicole Stott, Former Space Shuttle Astronaut
On talking about risk: "I think [I spoke] in a less direct way my husband for sure. My mom and sisters just through questions they would ask. There was a lot of unspoken stuff that you just knew how people were feeling. You tried to resolve those feelings by just being there, making phone calls,you could just kind of be present."
On the moments before liftoff: " [You're] all strapped in and secure and comfy and get all your stuff in order and everything but then when that happens, there's really there's time to rest and I think most of us take the opportunity to do that -- even napping a little bit, just to to chill a little bit. If I remember correctly, it wasn't until the half hour or 20 minute point where the crew really starts to get actively involved in the countdown. Then it was not until the 10...9...8... part of the countdown where you think 'I might actually go to space today' because you just don't believe it's gonna happen until literally like the last second."
Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center Director & Former Space Shuttle Astronaut
On the similarity to Space Shuttle launches: "They're very familiar with the environment that they're going into and what's expected of them while they're down here. In many ways, it's going to be very similar to a shuttle launch. On launch day, they'll get up and they'll have their crew breakfast or lunch. They'll go off down to the suit room and get suited up, although they're going to get into some different suits this time. They'll head out of the crew quarters in the O&C building. Instead of getting on the Astro Van, they're going to be riding in a Tesla to the to the launch pad As they go through all of this, it's something that both of them and done before when they flew aboard the Shuttle. It's different but in many ways it's going to feel familiar to them."
Dale Ketcham, Space Florida Vice President
On Florida's role in space exploration: "I don't think there's any question that nowhere on the planet is there more commercial activity, commercial space activity going on than here in East Central Florida. It's been a real boom We're excited and just trying to do our job to grow it.