Liftoff is a fortnightly podcast about space, the universe, and everything. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the latest developments as explained by enthusiastic space fans Stephen Hackett and Jason Snell. Hosted by Jason Snell and Stephen Hackett.
61: Sleepover in Space
Dec 5 • 49 min
Elon Musk has been tweeting about payloads and Rocket Lab prepares for another launch. That, and Gemini 6, 7, 8 and 9.
60: Crumbs Are Bad
Nov 21 • 44 min
New spacecraft is being tested, and we had a weird visitor from outside the solar system. That, plus the first crewed Gemini missions (complete with secret beef sandwiches) this fortnight.
59: Kinda Bananas and Super Dangerous
Nov 7 • 34 min
SpaceX is returning to Launch Complex 40 and the GRACE mission is coming to an end while Dawn has a new lease on life. Then, discussion of the Gemini capsule and the two uncrewed launches of the program.
58: Getting in on the Moon Money
Oct 24 • 44 min
Blue Origin is firing up its new rocket engine as Bigelow is talking about inflatable lunar stations. Then, the recent LIGO announcement and some background on Project Gemini.
57: A Realistic View
Oct 10 • 47 min
LIGO is busy with gravitational waves, Elon Musk is busy talking about SpaceX’s future and Mike Pence has his eye on the moon.
56: A Guy and a Grease Pencil
Sep 26 • 29 min
This fortnight: damage to the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, a Mars sample return proposal and the final two Mercury flights.
55: Fireflies
Sep 12 • 45 min
Stephen and Jason are back to discuss the end of Cassini and Jim Bridenstine, who appears to be Trump’s pick for NASA Administrator. After that, they journey into orbit with John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.
54: Live from the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Aug 22 • 27 min
Stephen and Jason both witnessed the 2017 total solar eclipse. They recorded throughout the event and sat down to compare notes the next day.
53: More Sevens
Aug 15 • 43 min
This fortnight, 2014 MU69 comes into focus, SLS has a new paint job and Stephen and Jason talk about the two rockets used in Project Mercury and the first two crewed American spaceflights.
52: Missed by Half an Inch
Aug 1 • 31 min
51: Dark Matter, with Dr. Katie Mack
Jul 18 • 45 min
Jason and Stephen are joined by Dr. Katie Mack, a theoretical astrophysicist working at the University of Melbourne on dark matter and the potential it has to change our understanding of the universe, physics and more.
50: A Science Skateboard
Jul 5 • 48 min
There are a bunch of milestones to celebrate this week: Juno’s been at Jupiter for a year, Stephen built his LEGO Saturn V and Pathfinder landed on Mars 20 years ago.
49: A Feel-good Mission About the Sun
Jun 20 • 34 min
This fortnight, our intrepid explorers talk about NEEMO, newly-discovered exoplanets and the Parker Solar Probe.
48: Hidden Figures
Jun 6 • 57 min
Jason and Stephen discuss the 2016 film *Hidden Figures.*
47: Eclipses: Orbits Aren’t Perfect
May 23 • 52 min
This week, Jason and Stephen talk about lunar and solar eclipses in preparation of a total solar eclipse in North America coming up in August.
46: Team Pluto on the March
May 9 • 31 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen cover a possible future Pluto mission, SLS delays and the X-37B spaceplane.
45: Interested in Looking Awesome
Apr 26 • 43 min
This fortnight we discuss Cassini’s daring death dives inside Saturn’s rings before the end of its mission, exciting news from our solar system’s ocean moons and hints of a change in planning for future exploration of Mars.
44: Voyager
Apr 11 • 35 min
After visiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the Voyager probes are now probing the very edges of our solar system — and beyond.
43: Release the Ice Mole
Mar 28 • 31 min
This fortnight brings a flight-proven Falcon 9 launch, news about Enceladus’ ice sheets and the return of the mighty RS-25.
42: You Don’t Wanna Hit a Moon
Mar 14 • 41 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen catch up the news coming out of Washington D.C. and Blue Origin, and then consider what the Europa Clipper mission could mean.
41: The Ice Giants
Feb 28 • 57 min
This fortnight, Stephen went out for a nerdy evening, NASA announced the seven planets at TRAPPIST-1 and SpaceX is going to the moon. After the news, Jason and Stephen break down the Ice Giants of Uranus and Neptune.
40: A Gradient of Space News
Feb 14 • 30 min
This fortnight, Proxima B breaks our hearts, SpaceX is on historic ground and a Europa lander begins to take shape.
39: The Speed of Light Doesn’t Apply to Telepathy
Jan 31 • 54 min
This fortnight, Stephen and Jason talk about how the current political climate affects science, space and technology.
38: Lucy: Levitating Ulcers Carefully Yearning
Jan 17 • 39 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen catch up on the news and remember Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon.
37: All Objects Are Special
Jan 2 • 32 min
36: Remembering John Glenn
Dec 20, 2016 • 34 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen remember John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and the oldest person to travel in space.
35: Saturn: The Jewel of The Solar System
Dec 6, 2016 • 31 min
The sixth planet out from the sun is a fascinating world of extreme atmospheric conditions, strange moons and breathtaking views.
34: The James Webb Telescope
Nov 22, 2016 • 30 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen discuss NASA’s $8.8 billion project: the James Webb telescope.
33: Cubesats: Orbital Science on a Budget
Nov 8, 2016 • 42 min
This week, Jason and Stephen are joined by Glenn Fleishman to talk about the rising use of cubesats.
32: The Robotic Spacecraft Draft
Oct 25, 2016 • 47 min
This week, Stephen and Jason draft their favorite robotic spacecraft after pouring one out for Schiaparelli.
31: Imagine If This All Works
Oct 11, 2016 • 40 min
This fortnight, Stephen and Jason talk about Elon Musk’s train to Mars.
30: Talking Kepler with Natalie Batalha
Sep 26, 2016 • 53 min
This week, Jason interviews Natalie Batalha, NASA’s Kepler mission project scientist, about the spacecraft, the K2 mission and some exoplanets found by the mission.
29: Solar System Sawdust: OSIRIS-REx & Asteroids
Sep 13, 2016 • 43 min
OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s asteroid sampling mission, recently launched. Live from the XOXO Festival, Jason and Stephen talk about the mission, its objectives and all about asteroids.
28: Exoplanets
Aug 30, 2016 • 48 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen talk about exoplanets: what they are, how they’re found and why they are important.
27: Party Like It’s 1999 RQ36
Aug 16, 2016 • 36 min
This fortnight: Mission to Mars details are forming and NASA is looking at some new potential planetary missions.
26: The Journey to Mars
Aug 2, 2016 • 34 min
NASA’s “Journey to Mars” plan is wide-reaching but a little light on details in places. Stephen and Jason dive into it and consider what it would mean if Elon Musk beats NASA to the Red Planet.
25: Mission Roundup
Jul 19, 2016 • 43 min
This fortnight, we catch up with New Horizons, Dawn and Mars 2020.
24: All Juno, All the Time
Jul 6, 2016 • 37 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen dive into Juno, NASA’s current mission to Jupiter.
23: Inside a Bendy Straw
Jun 21, 2016 • 48 min
This fortnight: China talks to the United Nations, Blue Origin plays with parachutes and a quick trip to Mercury.
22: Billionaires at a Conference
Jun 7, 2016 • 56 min
Jason and Stephen discuss recent interviews with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Rockets, AI, dying on Mars and more!
21: The Excitement Has Exploded
May 24, 2016 • 57 min
Jason and Stephen catch up some news, talk about some weird ways stars end and are then joined by Loren Grush, science reporter at The Verge to talk about commercial crew, inflatable space hotels and more.
20: The Lifecycle of our Sun: Like a M&M
May 10, 2016 • 60 min
After catching up Kepler news and the Mercury transit, Jason and Stephen talk about the lifecycle of our sun. Spoiler alert: things won’t end well for Earth.
19: Venus: The Pizza Planet
Apr 25, 2016 • 59 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen take a trip to Venus.
18: The SLS
Apr 11, 2016 • 65 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen talk about rockets on drone ships, visiting space via virtual reality and NASA’s next launch vehicle, the SLS.
17: Space Stations: Totally Not Obsessed
Mar 28, 2016 • 70 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen take a tour of the space stations that have graced Low-Earth orbit over the decades.
16: Like a Curtain in the Wind
Mar 14, 2016 • 61 min
This fortnight, Jason and Stephen travel the length of the Solar System to catch up on the news.
15: The Moon Draft
Feb 29, 2016 • 47 min
On this episode, Jason and Stephen pick their favorite solar system moons in an action-packed draft.
14: Outside the Gates
Feb 15, 2016 • 60 min
During the last fortnight, humankind detected gravitational waves for the first time and Jason spent some time at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
13: It’s Important to Have a Dryer Sheet
Feb 1, 2016 • 62 min
This week, Stephen and Jason catch up on Space X and Blue Origin news, wish Opportunity a happy 12th birthday and reflect on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.
12: The Size of a Refrigerator
Jan 18, 2016 • 56 min
Jason and Stephen are joined by Geof Morris, a Payload Rack Officer for the International Space Station. Geof works at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.
11: Moon Phases & Tides
Jan 4, 2016 • 46 min
This week, Jason explains how the phases of the moon work before wading into the weird world of tides.
10: The Solstice
Dec 21, 2015 • 43 min
To celebrate the Winter Solstice, Jason and Stephen talk all about the Earth’s journey around the sun and how it affects all of our lives.
9: The Space Shuttle
Dec 7, 2015 • 80 min
This week, Stephen and Jason strap in and talk about NASA’s space shuttle program.
8: Halo of Junk
Nov 23, 2015 • 71 min
Jason and Stephen talk about the not-so-impending doom facing Phobos and a bunch of other news before being joined by Emily Lakdawalla from The Planetary Society to discuss the future of solar system exploration.
7: Still Probably Not Aliens
Nov 10, 2015 • 60 min
A fortnight of news has passed, and Jason and Stephen are here to talk water in the solar system, Orion’s progress, the 15th anniversary of crewed ISS missions and some new job openings at NASA.
6: The Sun
Oct 26, 2015 • 57 min
This week, Stephen and Jason answer some burning questions about the sun.
5: ‘The Martian’
Oct 9, 2015 • 72 min
Forget the popcorn; grab your potatoes! This week, Jason and Stephen talk all about The Martian.
4: A Laptop Every Ten Years
Sep 28, 2015 • 49 min
Jason and Stephen gush over more Pluto photos and wish some Mars hardware a happy birthday before interviewing Rachel Binx from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
3: Poke His Twin
Sep 14, 2015 • 45 min
Jason and Stephen catch up on some of the latest space news, including classic NASA design specs, the new Boeing Starliner, a year-long mission to the International Space Station, and new pictures from Pluto.
2: The Moon
Aug 31, 2015 • 53 min
Jason and Stephen talk about Earth’s closest neighbor, the Moon.
1: Space Salad
Aug 17, 2015 • 47 min
Jason and Stephen talk about lettuce grown in space and the third anniversary of the Curiosity rover.
0: Jason & Stephen Talk Space
Aug 15, 2015 • 50 min
Jason Snell and Stephen Hackett talk about New Horizons’ Pluto discoveries, a newly-discovered Earth-like planet, and why space is back in the news.