NASA Podcasts

Next-Generation Space Ambitions Keep Rolling
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Narrator: As Atlantis rolled to its new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, NASA and its commercial crew partners reflect on the Space Shuttle Program's tremendous accomplishments and vow to continue America's leadership in space.

Ed Mango/NASA's Commercial Crew Program: You know, 135 flights in space on the Space Shuttle Program is not a sad thing. It's an unbelievable accomplishment for the American people, for the astronauts, for the engineers that worked on it.

Mark Sirangelo/Sierra Nevada Corp.: Some people say the spirit of space has somehow ebbed or died and I don't think it has. I think it's just gone through the next level of generation and we're ready to pick up that torch and run with it.

Tim Hughes/SpaceX: Human spaceflight is far from over. In fact, it's just beginning. With the SpaceX launches to the space station and successful re-entries over the past few months, to be followed on with an all-American Commercial Crew Program and then with NASA's other programs that are going to take us deep into space, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Pete McGrath/Boeing: If you look at the way the future is positioned today, commercial crew is going to provide a more cost-effective way to actually provide access to space station so that we can actually take that next step that we've been really eager to do, which is go explore the cosmos.

Ed Mango/NASA's Commercial Crew Program: We built a space station that's as big as a football field with our orbiters. So, we are capable of doing great things in space.

Josephine Burnett/International Space Station Ground Processing and Research: The International Space Station can be used for NASA's future mission, the exploration mission. It's a whole lot safer to be able to test technologies and life support systems in the relative safety of the International Space Station before we send our humans out into to the great unknown beyond low-Earth orbit.

Ed Mango/NASA's Commercial Crew Program: By 2016 or so we're going to be starting to fly test missions to orbit, and checking out these systems and making sure these vehicles are going to work. And by 2017, we'll have at least one company that will now be ready to go take crew to the International Space Station.

Pete McGrath/Boeing: Our basis is on Gemini, Apollo, Mercury, all the way through shuttle, Skylab, you know, space station. We've basically worked on every human spaceflight system with NASA. So, with that we draw a lot of heritage and knowledge of what it takes to really certify and build systems for humans.

Tim Hughes/SpaceX: And to think that a little company that was started in 2002 with just a couple of folks has now in some measure taken over the responsibilities of the space shuttle as to cargo carriage and then potentially for human carriage in the near term, it's really humbling.

Mark Sirangelo/Sierra Nevada Corp.: It's one of those really special things. We now have, we've hired several hundred new people over the last couple of years and we've had 10 times as many applicants for it. And it just tells you how excited people are. Our problem is not getting people to go to work, our problem is actually getting them to go home at the end of the day because they're just so passionate about what they're doing, they just want to make it happen as soon as possible.

Chris Ferguson/STS-135 Commander: The space shuttle has changed the way we view the world, and it’s changed the way we view our universe. There’s a lot of emotion today, but one thing’s indisputable, America's not going to stop exploring. Thank you Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour, and our ship, Atlantis.

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