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

#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.

#124: Space Koozie

May 19th, 2020 · 43 minutes

The Artemis Accords have been unveiled, but will their adoption be hurt by their rollout? Could Starship be more useful as a refueling station than a lander? Jason and Stephen get into these questions and more this fortnight.

#123: Lunar Camper

May 5th, 2020 · 51 minutes

NASA has unveiled its plans to source a lunar lander for the Artemis program, while Hubble celebrates its 30th anniversary.

#122: Get an Exoplanet; Lose an Exoplanet

April 21st, 2020 · 49 minutes

May seems to be the Month of Commercial Crew! Also: NASA is working from home, an exoplanet may be no more and a look at a future Mars sample return mission.

#121: Apollo 13

April 7th, 2020 · 71 minutes

In the spring of 1970, NASA launched what would be the third mission to walk on the moon, but almost nothing went to plan, putting the crew in peril until the moment they splashed down.

#120: Everything Got Jumbled and Fell Down

March 24th, 2020 · 39 minutes

The entire space industry is reeling from effects of the current global pandemic, and NASA remembers Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden.