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

#139: Space Omelets

December 15th, 2020 · 50 minutes

You get a sample return; you get a sample return; you get a sample return!

In other news: SN8 had a rough landing, SpaceIL is getting back on the horse and NASA has unveiled more Artemis plans.

#138: A Great Acronym, but it's in Russian

December 1st, 2020 · 33 minutes

The world is mourning the uncontrolled collapse of the Arecibo observatory, even as China's Chang’e-5 mission is underway to return lunar samples to Earth, which would be a first since the final Apollo mission. Also: an update on the SLS and Orion and a look at what's going on at Roscosmos.

#137: Delicate Dance of Docking

November 17th, 2020 · 40 minutes

Commercial Crew has gotten official with the launch of Crew-1 over the weekend, the start of a six-month expedition on the International Space Station. That and the possibilities of Jim Bridenstine's future. Oh, and kilonovas!

#136: Don’t Tell the Boss

November 3rd, 2020 · 59 minutes

Zac Hall from Space Explored and 9to5Mac joins Jason to discuss the post-election future of NASA (and administrator Jim Bridenstine), the 20th anniversary of the permanent habitation of the International Space Station, a bunch of news about the moon, and OSIRIS-REx taking a bite out of Bennu.

#135: Space is Full of Rocks

October 20th, 2020 · 36 minutes

Stephen comes with good news about InSight's Mole, and Jason says there probably aren't aliens on Venus. Also: OSIRIS-REx is due for a big day and the space industry in China is heating up.

#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.