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.



Latest Episodes

#134: My Response to Existential Terror, with Dr. Katie Mack

October 6th, 2020 · 45 minutes

Jason and Stephen are joined by Dr. Katie Mack to discuss her book The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking).

#133: The World’s Most Expensive WeWork

September 22nd, 2020 · 60 minutes

The recent announcement of phosphine being detected in Venus' atmosphere could have a major effect on future scientific missions, so Jason is excited about space blimps again. Then, Stephen walks through NASA's most recent Artemis roadmap, and the guys discuss what the future of the program could look like if the White House changes hands next yea…

#132: In the Shadow of Artemis

September 8th, 2020 · 50 minutes

In the Utah desert, Northrop Grumman has tested a full-sized SLS SRB, while the future of work in low-Earth orbit is being debated. On Mars, InSight's troubles continue and 17 billion light years-away, two black holes have collided.

#131: Windex for Rockets

August 25th, 2020 · 45 minutes

It's a busy week on Florida's Space Coast, and supernovas are in the news. Thankfully the two won't cross paths. Neither will Earth and an asteroid the day before Election Day in the United States.

#130: A Salted Almond in Space

August 11th, 2020 · 40 minutes

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have splashed down after their historic mission to the ISS, and SpaceX's finally gotten a Starship test article to hop in Texas and the OSIRIS-REx team is gearing up for their sample return flight. Also: Ceres' bright spots, government contracts and an update on the SLS.

#129: Dirt in a Soccer Ball

July 28th, 2020 · 38 minutes

Mars 2020 is set to launch in just a few days, and should be followed by the splashdown of the Commercial Crew Demo-2 mission. Elsewhere, Virgin Galactic has shown off the interior of its space tourism craft, and we remember Rene Carpenter.

#128: Summer of Mars

July 14th, 2020 · 52 minutes

There are three missions bound for Mars launching this month, and Jason walks through them each. Then, Stephen gives a NASA budget update and the two get into some space law ... and guidelines.

#127: Wormy Space Coin

June 30th, 2020 · 46 minutes

This week: black holes doing weird black hole things, a progress report on the SLS and a discussion of how some of NASA's facilities should be renamed.

#126: Astronauts are Really Good at Moving

June 15th, 2020 · 40 minutes

The crew of Demo-2 are likely working on orbit until August, while here on the ground, COVID-19 is taking its toll on NASA schedules. Also: a conversation about CLPS and Gateway, as well as NASA's new Director of Human Spaceflight, Kathy Lueders.

#125: A Sparkly Dinosaur

June 2nd, 2020 · 49 minutes

The age of Commercial Crew has arrived, with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arriving at the International Space Station safely after riding a Falcon 9 there this weekend. Also: tiny CubeSats can do big things and Tom Cruise may be taking a trip.