Here is the good news: There have never been more high-quality podcasts about space than now. But don’t worry, we will shed some light in this jungle of informative and notable space podcasts. We will provide some insight on which of these are worth putting in some hours and to focus on during your daily commute or on a rainy Sunday. And we will tell you why. Granted, most of these are U.S.-based which is simply because there just aren’t a whole lot of considerable European space podcasts… yet! So, take a seat and sit back – there are no empty calories here.
“Are we there yet?”
If one was searching for “space” in Apple Podcasts after spending half of a free Saturday in front of the TV watching Elon Musk, SpaceX and Mars videos in early 2017, they would find “Are we there yet?” (@AWTYMars). This podcast is a crossover of space exploration related news and interviews with astronauts, engineers and visionaries hosted by Brendan Byrne (@SpaceBrendan), an NPR Space Reporter from Orlando, Florida – the cradle of most striking ventures into space. The show is aired weekly since late 2016 and takes about 15 to 30 minutes on average (that is a good Berlin S-Bahn commute to work in the morning) which makes up for at least 38 hours of content from efforts to launch humans into deep space, to the probes exploring our solar system. The latest show was about NASA’s Parker Solar Probe getting an up close and personal look at the sun and its corona (no pun intended) and about the recently launched Solar Orbiter aiming to explore the poles of our closest star. If this podcast caught your attention, you will be able to listen to it on Apple Podcast, Spotify or NPR…
See “Are we there yet?” website
The “Planetary Radio”
Another podcast we want to introduce is the notorious “dinosaur” among the space podcasts: The “Planetary Radio” (@exploreplanets) is produced by the Planetary Society which was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan to advocate space. The weekly radio show first aired almost two decades ago in 2002 and is not only devoted to space exploration but also to astronomy. The show is hosted by Mat Kaplan (@PlanRad) with sprinkles of Bill Nye (@BillNye), Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) and Chief Scientist Bruce Betts (@RandomSpaceFact). The latter joins in for the show’s “Whats Up” section serving hobby astronomers forecasting the nightly appearances of stars and planets. Another big plus is the monthly “Space Policy Edition” in which Casey Dreier (@CaseyDreier) takes you inside Washington DC where the future of the U.S. Space Program hangs in the balance. He explains and analyzes statements and news from the U.S. Congress, Senate and the White House inferring possible implications on NASA projects and its funding. With an average duration of 40 to 70 minutes per show and 933 aired episodes to date, the “Planetary Radio” has likely produced space content in the ballpark of somewhat 855 hours and is for sure a “heavy-weight” among space podcasts considering the 217.5k followers on twitter. Starting off the podcast episodes from scratch is not entirely offbeat, considering the top-notch guest speakers invited to the show throughout the years, such as Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 Astronaut), Elon Musk (Founder of SpaceX), Robert Zubrin (Founder of “The Mars Society”) and Larry Page (Co-Founder of Google). The podcast can be downloaded on Apple Podcast, Spotify, NPR, Soundcloud… Definitely worth mentioning is the “Planetary Society” website itself as a valuable source for reports, blogs or featured projects like the light sail, exoplanet research and planetary defense.
See Planetary Radio website
This is THE podcast about human exploration efforts and visions on the Red Planet you have been looking for – including robotic and human spacecraft, rocket engineering and other upcoming technology! WeMartians (@We_Martians) is a monthly, comprehensive, carefully composed and well-researched coverage on Mars not sparing compelling deep dives into the nitty-gritty questions about how planetary science, research and exploration is effectively conducted. The Vancouver-based Jake Robins (@JakeOnOrbit), a web developer and freelance space journalist, hosts the show since 2016. Episode topics range from the upcoming Mars 2020 mission in the ancient river delta spilling into the side of Jezero Crater, Martian Dust Towers, the state of China’s Mars mission Huoxing-1 to how to do EVA’s on Mars. The 30 to 50 minutes long podcasts, which can be subscribed for at Apple and Google Podcasts, Spotify and many more, are enriched by interviews with scientists and other space industry professionals. Coming up every year, the Mars-enthusiastic host has made it a tradition to start off the new year with an episode about the current “State of Mars”. Worth checking out is also his blog and his newly launched “GoingPro” effort on patreon.com, in which listeners and Mars fans can access lots of additional content such as the “Red Planet Review“ (a weekly Mars news podcast in your private audio RSS feed) or extended interviews and extra audio content from conferences or other live events for a few bucks on a monthly basis. This is one of the easiest ways to stay updated on Mars related exploration news and visions – and how to make them real. Don’t miss out on it.
See WeMartians website
This brings us to another outstanding podcast that cannot remain unrevealed. MECO (@WeHaveMECO) – short for main engine cut-off – was born around the same time as the WeMartians podcast in 2016 and is hosted by the Philly-based space enthusiast and iOS developer Anthony Colangelo (@acolangelo). On a weekly basis, Anthony provides an excellent synopsis of the past week’s news related to spaceflight, space policy and strategy in a very digestible and concise way, considering the average episode length of 30-ish minutes. Each fact presented in the show is thoroughly researched and his assessment and analysis of the implications of decisions that space companies and governments are making are straight to the point. This makes the podcast another reliable source for space news. Almost weekly, Anthony invites intriguing guests from the New Space as well as Old Space Industry, such as space reporters and scientists, NASA officials or professionals from private space entities (e.g. Rocket Lab, Intuitive Machines or Axiom Space). The hosts knowledgeable manner, independent of any loyalties and fair of consideration often leads to candid discussions, which are liberating and refreshing. The podcast can be supported via patreon.com for small money where advocates can choose between different service levels of additional space related content, tediously composed and selected by Anthony. The service ranges from access to the weekly MECO headlines feed, advance notice of guest appearances, to your name in the credits or access to the “off-nominal discord” – a text-based group chat application for space supporters. Speaking of “off-nominal”, Space-BFF’s Anthony Colangelo and Jake Robins from WeMartians get together monthly since late 2017 for a “two friends, two beers, and a casual conversation about space”, which happens to be the Off-Nominal (@offnom) podcast. If you’re into beer, rocket and space talk, you’re in for a treat.
See MECO website
“Walkabout the Galaxy”
If you’re into “deep nerdy astronomy talk” coupled with little Trekkie remarks here and there, we won’t withhold this witty podcast gem: Walkabout the Galaxy (@Walk_the_Galaxy). The show is aired weekly or biweekly and hosted by the three Florida-based hosts from the University of Central Florida: Josh Colwell (@joshuacolwell), a Professor of Physics and Planetary Science and Director of the Center for Microgravity Research; Addie Dove (@astroaddie), an Assistant Professor for Planetary Sciences as well as Jim Cooney, a Ph.D. in Physics with a passion for cosmology. Since late 2015 the three were producing 133 episodes of 40 to 50 minutes long shows, talking about the latest news and most interesting discoveries in astronomy including interviews with scientific guests, having occasionally silly conversations and trying to answer Josh’s daring trivia questions. In their latest episode “The importance of being gassy”, the three self-proclaimed astroquarks keep things astronomically professional with the discovery of a plasma bubble in data collected in 1986 by Voyager 2 which gives rise to a possible explanation for conflicting data about the expansion of the universe. If this caught your interest, you can download the podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and wherever you get your podcast.
See Walkabout The Galaxy website
The “NewSpaceVision Podcast”
One enthusiastic space fan may now wonder that all the above shows are valuable resources to cover the current state of the new and old space industry in the U.S. BUT where is the coverage for Europe?? Very well, then here comes your European solution: the NewSpaceVision (@NewSpaceVision) podcast hosted by Sven Przywarra (@SvenPrzy) and Daniel Seidel (@Daninho89) since 2017, both founders of LiveEO (@LiveEO_space) – the first private real-time earth observation application that makes use of the synergies of EO data and geolocation services. NewSpaceVision wants to grow the European (New) Space start-up scene and raise awareness for the interesting applications of space related hard and software. The platform acts as THE starting point for aspiring entrepreneurs and skillful engineers from all kinds of fields to find contact points to existing companies or find new partners, inspirations and resources to start an own venture. In that spirit, the monthly podcasts addresses a variety of space-related news, ventures and initiatives with interesting guests from the industry, such as Gary Martin (NASA, ISU, Luxembourg Space Agency), Pekka Laurila (CFO & Co-Founder of ICEYE), Sebastian Straube (Founder of Interstellar Ventures), Analyst Dallas Kasaboski from Northern Sky Research or Kadri Bussov (member of the management board of ESTCube). You can download the podcast on our website, Apple Podcast or Soundcloud. Make sure to check-out on our recently announced virtual Meetup with hundreds of space enthusiasts and advocates as well as our newly published New Space Industry Report 2020 or the German Industry Overview.
If you are currently working in the industry – be it in New Space or Old Space, in a start-up or an old-established business, as a reporter, scientist, founder, space podcast host, a space authority representative or as an employee from Germany, the U.K., Europe, the U.S., India, Japan or any other place in the world – get in touch with us – we are always looking for interesting podcast guests!