Planetary Radio • May 24, 2017

Human Spaceflight: Coming Back to America

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On This Episode

Jon Cowart

Partner Manager, SpaceX for NASA's Commercial Crew Program

Astronauts may soon ride on US rockets and in US spaceships for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight. Jon Cowart of NASA is working with SpaceX toward the first launch of a Dragon spacecraft with humans on board. See the moons of Saturn as you’ve never seen them before in Emily Lakdawalla’s new composite image. Bruce Betts has just returned from Japan with a What’s Up update on the Planetary Defense Conference.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon
Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon Artist concept of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon approaching the International Space Station.Image: NASA

This week's question:

What is the name of the US mission that will slam a spacecraft into an asteroid in the 2020s as a kinetic impactor demonstration mission? It will be a test of our ability to change the path of a Near Earth Object.

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, May 31st at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What Near Earth Asteroid will the Hayabusa 2 mission visit and return samples from?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

With legs deployed, how tall was the Lunar Excursion Module (Ascent and Descent Modules)?


With legs fully-extended, the Lunar Excursion Module (later just Lunar Module) stood 7 meters or about 23 feet tall.