Check out our latest Spaceport Lecture!
What does short-term space settlement of the moon look like? Primarily the issue is about resources that would support settlement. Is the real race about who will get to the resources first and how their rights will be safeguarded? Who will get to the water ice to have access to oxygen for breathing and hydrogen for fuel? Who would have the rights to the metallic asteroid “Pschye” to begin in situ construction? Lessons learned from claims on earth to Antarctica/the Arctic and the South China Sea give us cause for concern. Environmental protection has been used as a shield to stymie some of these claims, but how strong are these in the face of commercialization from both private actors and state-backed enterprises? This talk will provide considerations as to the building blocks for the Space Governance System in this new space 4.0 era.
Event Date: 12 / 10 / 2020
Learn of the efforts to return to the moon and get boots onto mars.
Event Date: 11 / 5 / 2020
Find out how astronauts deal with the hazards of space and stay healthy.
Event Date: 10 / 8 / 2020
Find out how Virtual reality is changing the field of Space exploration and the art of developing this techonology for that purpose.
Event Date: 9 / 17 / 2020
In 2012, The Mars Science Laboratory sent the rover Curiosity to Mars where it discovered sedementary rocks that suggest Mars, like Earth, once had water. Kirsten Siebach describes to us the observations that Curiosity made and tells us a story of what life would have looked like if it had indeed thrived there.
Event Date: 4 / 9 / 2020
"This lecture is about my life, my struggle with depression and how I overcame it to discover 23 comets and have lived the rest of my life as I did. It also explores the work I did in finding connections between the night sky in literature. It is the story of a life lived under the stars."
Event Date: 2/13/2020
A major milestone in America's Moon to Mars exploration is the Artemis III landing of two astronauts at the lunar south pole in 2024. The terrain there is ancient, shaped dramatically by impacting asteroids and comets, producing topography that dwarfs that of the Earth's Grand Canyon. David Kring will introduce that region and describe exploration options at the nation's seventh landing site on the Moon.
Event Date: 1 / 23 / 2020
Efforts are already underway to create human settlements beyond Earth. If these efforts are successful, how will subsequent generations of humans by affected by life on other planets, like Mars? Studies of astronauts on the International Space Station have provided a wealth of information about the effects of spaceflight on the human body and mind. Likewise, the biological basis for adapting to new environments is well understood by the biologists that study isolated populations of plants and animals here on Earth. By combining these two fields of study we can make meaningful predictions about how each generation born on Mars will be better adapted to life on the red planet than those that came before.
Event Date: 12/03/2019
The year-long mission of American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko included the most complex biomedical experiments ever conducted on the International Space Station yielding crucial scientific data on the physiological, psychological, and medical effects of long duration spaceflight. Together with the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Biomedical Problems, NASA's Human Research Program identified more than 20 biomedical investigations to be conducted on the two crew members before, during, and after their year-long expedition. By chance, Kelly was one of a pair of homozygous twins, and both brothers volunteered for additional genetic measurements to clarify the effects of spaceflight exposure at every level of organization of the human body.
Event Date: 10/17/2019
As we celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Administrator Bridenstine will discuss the impact that NASA has on modern society and will provide insight into NASA’s vision for returning humans to the Moon and on to Mars.
Event Date: 04/12/2019
On May 25, 1961, newly-elected President John F. Kennedy proposed in an address to Congress, a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was conceived to achieve that goal.
Event Date: 4/4/2019
NASA heliophysics research studies a vast system stretching from the Sun to Earth to far beyond the edge of the planets. Studying this system - much of it driven by the Sun's constant outpouring of solar wind - not only helps us understand fundamental information about how the universe works, but also helps protect our technology and astronauts in space. NASA seeks knowledge of near-Earth space, because - when extreme - space weather can interfere with our communications, satellites, and power grids.
Event Date: 3/6/2019
The increased capability and low cost of micro-satellites are fueling the way to easy access to space for a wide range of new space explorers. Dr. Reed will describe experiences in creating interdisciplinary teams of students, with industry and government partners, to engage in design-build-fly of operational small satellites that advance new technologies and feed into national initiatives. Combining industry practices with the learning environment of a university helps drive the next generation of space exploration. Involving more than 1,000 students over the years, Dr. Reed’s teams have launched four small satellites with the U.S. Air Force and NASA and partnered on many other projects.
Event Date: 1/31/2019
DR. MAE JEMISON, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. Aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 SpacelabJ mission in September 1992, she performed experiments in material science, life sciences and human adaptation to weightlessness.
Following her time at NASA, Dr. Jemison started The Jemison Group Inc. (G) a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects, such as satellite technology for health care delivery and solar dish Stirling engine electricity in developing countries.
Event Date: 11/15/2018
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created 60 years ago this month, changing the world as we know it by heralding in a new technological era driven by human space exploration. Three years later, Houston became the center of human spaceflight and the home to every American astronaut ever to fly in space with the creation of the Manned Spacecraft Center, later renamed the Johnson Space Center. In this talk, Victor Murray will chronicle experiences from his days as a young technician during the Apollo, SkyLab, and Space Shuttle programs, his involvement as a key safety engineer during the deployment of the International Space Station, and his current role in helping pave the way to Mars with the Orion Capsule.
Event Date: 10/16/2018
As NASA reaches further and further into space, its innovations have impacted and transformed life on Earth. Many like to equate Tang and Velco as NASA technologies but the truth is far more impressive than the myth of these two examples. Steven González will share the NASA roots of the innovations that we take for granted every day and how NASA continues to seed innovations in the commercial market through its various initiatives.
Event Date: 9/18/2018
NASA's Science program develops innovative missions that discover the secrets of the Universe. search for life elsewhere, and safeguard and improve life on Earth. During this talk, NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Dr. Zurbuchen Will explores the key tenets of innovation through the lens of five such NASA science missions. This will be a story about imagining the future, overcoming challenges, having patience, innovating solutions, and building great teams. These principles have applications for building space missions, undertaking research, and also building entrepreneurial ventures of various types.
Event Date: 1/25/2018
Current estimates are that over 150 million Americans viewed the great American solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 with another 60 million viewings it electronically from TV or the internet. It's amazing to think that we are still using this opportunity to do new and exciting science even though eclipses are a regular occurrence. Eclipses are the "obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer..." In reality, the concept of eclipses in science has been a tried and true technique to do amazing new things from finding new rings at Saturn to new planets orbiting other faraway suns. This is a brief story of how we continue to use the eclipse technique to uncover new science.
Our nation's space program is currently undergoing a major transformation, from a time in which the federal government did almost everything, to one in which private industry is playing an increasingly important role. How did we get to this point, and what are some of the reasons behind the changes that are occurring? What can we expect in the years ahead? This presentation will describe some of the exciting activities now taking place in the commercial space transportation arena, from flyback boosters and reusable launch vehicles to preparations for suborbital space.
Event Date: 10/03/2017
Our home in space is embedded in the Sun’s extended atmosphere, subjecting the space environment around Earth to dynamic activity that originates in the solar corona. This layer of the solar atmosphere holds many unsolved mysteries that have fascinated humans for ages. We continue to search for answers well into the space age and NASA has a fleet of spacecraft dedicated to studying heliophysics: the Sun and its domain—the heliosphere, including its effects on Earth. Although we currently have a wealth of data and sophisticated modeling that continues to advance our understanding of the Sun-Earth system, we are entering into one of the most exciting eras of heliophysics observations. Solar Probe Plus, which will fly within four million miles of the solar surface, and Solar Orbiter are two synergistic space missions being developed to study the solar corona from a unique viewpoint. Dr. Gilbert will discuss the importance of obtaining data so close to the Sun and its implications for space weather research and forecasting.
Event Date: 3/23/2017
By the end of this year's space, travelers will board the first commercial rocketships and fly into orbit. Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Paul Allen of Microsoft, and others are stepping up to fly us into space. Elon Musk has said he will be putting humans on Mars by 2026. New entrepreneurial companies are also on the scene, with goals ranging from lunar landings to asteroid mining. The U.S., European and Chinese governments are planning lunar outposts. Conversely, some say the private sector cannot succeed in space, while others question the need for human space exploration at all. So what do billionaire-build rockets, millionaire space tourists and crazy schemes to strike it rich in space have to do with the future of the human race and the life of Earth? Why are they happening now? How did this all begin? What does any of it have to do with a spiritual quest to explore the Universe and find the meaning of life? Why is this possibly the most important human activity of all time? Why is it worth fighting for? And why is it important to you?
Event Date: 2/23/2017
Dr. Bonnie Dunbar will feature highlights of her five space flight missions, including scientific and engineering research with the Spacelab and conducting the first docking with the Russian Space Station, MIR. She will review how the lessons learned in developing large space exploration programs may frame our future for returning to the Moon and human exploration of Mars. She will also discuss the nevessart intersections and partnerships involved in human space exploration and the commercial development of space, particularly as it relates to Texas and the nation. How do we inspire future generations? Without an educated and trained workforce, the United States will not be able to conduct exploration on Earth of outside of it. Dunbar will recount het own inspiration on her path: becoming an engineer, helping design the Space Shuttle Thermal Projection System, working in NASA Mission Control as a Payload Officer, flying aboard the vehicle she helped to design, and being a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University.
Event Date: 2/2/2017
The next in this season’s Frontiers Lecture series will be Mr. Chirag Parikh, former Director of Space Policy at the White House, now Director of Source Strategies Office at the National Geospatial - Intelligence Agency.
Event Date: 10/20/2016
Across the country, and around the world, NASA and its partners are working right now on the technologies and missions that will enable human "boots on Mars" in the 2030s. We are testing advanced technologies for the next giant leaps of exploration. From solar electric propulsion to cutting edge life support systems, to the first crops grown in space, the journey to Mars is already unfolding in tangible ways across NASA today for tomorrow.
NASA's strategic approach involves developing capabilities in three stages-from missions close to earth involving commercial partners and the International Space Station, advancing to missions in Earth-Moon orbit, or deep space, using the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, and finally moving on to Mars, where explorers will be practically independent of spaceship Earth. The innovation required to achieve a human mission to Mars cuts across science, human exploration, and technology. It builds on what has gone before while driving the next advances. Our journey to Mars inspires educators, students, and the public by investing in new leaders ready to realize the audacious journey.
Event Date: 5/17/2016
Space holds essentially limitless potential to address profound questions of our existence and push the limits of exploration and innovation. Space science continues to generate extraordinary breakthroughs, whether roving mars or discovering new worlds, while also helping to drive public interest in science through blockbuster movies and other pop culture. Unlike other areas of science such as medical research or ground-based astronomy, space-based science has to date been an entire government-funded endeavor.
The BoldlyGo Institute seeks to usher in a new era of expanded space science activities by complementing government science activities with privately funded, world-class space science missions. These missions, including a mars round trip robotic mission and a Hubble class space telescope, would perform transformative science with ready-to-go technologies and new levels of student and public engagement. In this presentation, we will discuss BoldlyGo's pursuit of these "NewSpace Science" goals.
Event Date: 2/18/2016
Space has typically been regarded as a destination with efforts focused predominantly on placing assets in orbit, either to provide services (e.g.entertainment, navigation, telecommunications) or to explore space itself (e.g. Mars rovers, International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope). However, in recent years, we have witnessed a gradual transition from large-scale, government-led exploration to a more versatile and agile approach as private enterprises become increasingly involved. The dynamics of space exploration are rapidly changing with the promise of easy and routine access becoming a.reality, opening up the space frontier to any and all. There is also increasing discussion on how to utilize space for the benefit of life on Earth in the form of driving economic growth, facilitating social engagement, and providing humanitarian support. Across the state of Texas, there is a wealth of activity in each of these areas. Dr. Alexander will survey the space landscape in the state and discuss how Texas can take advantage of this new age of space access.
Event Date: 1/31/2016
Each recent report of liquid water existing elsewhere in the solar system has reverberated through the international press and excited the imagination of humankind. We have come to realize that where there is liquid water on Earth, virtually no matter what the physical conditions, there is life. Dr. Lynn Rothschild, an evolutionary biologist known for her work on life in extreme environments and a founder of the field of astrobiology, tells us about intriguing new data. The prevalence of potential abodes for life in our solar system and beyond, the survival of microbes in the space environment, modeling of the potential for transfer of life between celestial bodies, and advances in synthetic biology suggest that life could be more common than previously thought. Are we truly “alone"?
Event Date: 1/21/2016
Virgin Galactic is widely regarded as the world's first commercial spaceline and is one of a small number of companies democratizing access to space: opening up space travel to the public. In the six-decade history of human spaceflight, a little over 550 individuals have traveled above Earth's atmosphere into space. Will Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic hopes to change that with their human spaceflight system: WhiteKnight Two and SpaceShip Two. The number of space explorers could triple in the next few years.
Pomerantz will provide an update on Virgin Galactic's progress on their commercial human spaceflight program, SpaceShipTwo's return to flight, and the ongoing development and testing of the LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle program. He will briefly discuss research opportunities on suborbital flights and employment and internship opportunities suitable for undergraduate and graduate students.
Event Date: 10/29/2015
50 years after we first began, Americans continue to fly into space not so much because the public strongly wants it to be so, but because space exploration dominated by the vehicles and astronauts of other nations seems unthinkable. Yet human spaceflight among the longest of long-term endeavors—can not be successful if held hostage to short-term decisionmaking and budgetary processes. The "Pathways to Exploration” report, requested by Congress and commissioned by NASA through the National Research Council, describes findings, principles, and goals that may be helpful to revive human spaceflight and create a sustainable program of human exploration of the endless frontier of space.
Event Date: 4/15/2015
NASA is currently planning a robotic mission to search for water and evaluate Europa's potential for life. The mission would investigate Europa's icy crust probable ocean, chemistry, and geology. It would also scout out sites for a possible future landed mission. Europa may hold answers to one of humanity's most fundamental questions: Are we alone in the universe?
Event Date: 03/19/2015
Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer and earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent.
Event Date: 2/6/2015
"Space is not what it used to be." This might sound like a lament for the golden days of Mercury and Apollo, but actually it refers to an emerging recognition that the space sector is undergoing revolutionary changes that could bring similar dreams to the fore once more. But it's not the Governments and their agencies setting the vision, with their budgets ever more constrained. Increasingly, it is the private sector that is leading the way with commercial businesses, both large and small, finding new ways to capitalize on the technologies developed over the last 60 years, and bringing a whole new class of products and services to the market-both up in space and down here on the ground.
Event Date: 1/14/2015
Over the course of 2014 science writer, Eric Berger looked at NASA's building of a big new rocket, the collapse of the Constellation program, Congressional infighting for funds, shifting priorities of successive White House administrations, the promise of private space companies and, ultimately, the fate of Houston as Space City. This is what he found...
Event Date: 11/19/2014
When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a lunar colony in 2012, the idea was met with ridicule across the media. Lost in the laughter was an important direction for America's future in space: permanent settlement. In the first part of her presentation, Kellie Gerardi will cover the present and future of U.S space enterprise, exploring how we as a country can create opportunities for the average citizen in space.
Event Date: 10/22/2014
The loss of the Space shuttle Colombia was a shock to the nation but especially to the leadership of NASA who believed that they were providing strong protection against just such an event. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board went beyond the technical causes of the accident to the cultural history and human factors which lead to catastrophe. After Colombia, Wayne Hale was appointed to leadership in the Space Shuttle program with the instructions to not merely correct the technical problems but also address the management culture. Hale has briefly described the history and management culture at NASA prior to Colombia and then delve into the changes - both technical and human - that were made as the space shuttle was returned to flight. These changes affect NASA today as it gears up for the next phase of deep space exploration.
Event Date: 9/11/2014
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and was serviced by astronauts onboard the Space Shuttle five times. This talk will focus on the final Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission, STS-125, which took place in May 2009 on-board Space Shuttle Atlantis. During that mission the crew upgraded the telescope through a series of five spacewalks, setting a record for spacewalking time on a single space shuttle mission. The spacewalks included the first-ever repair in place of Hubble science instruments.
Event Date: 03/13/2014
When NewSpace Global (NSG) launched in 2011, it tracked approximately 125 companies in the NewSpace industry. Today, NSG analysts cover nearly 600 companies around the world. In addition to the ubiquitous SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, and Virgin Galactic, there are hundreds of innovative companies from university or garage-born start-ups to Fortune 500s, building potentially world-changing products or services developed in or for space. This talk will start by providing an introduction to the unique characteristics that define NewSpace. Then, by examining the innovations of the recent past and forecasting such exciting developments into the near future, we will come to understand how NewSpace is emerging as today's great innovation economy.
Event Date: 2/26/2014
Since Alan Shepard's historic flight in 1961, NASA human space exploration's mission has been reinvented several times to meet the needs and address the opportunities of its changing environment. This talk will examine the “trajectory" of human space exploration from its storied past into its emerging future, a future shaped by its role in the commercial development of space to pursue enduring national interests, to enhance the sustainability of the exploration enterprise and, ultimately, to expand permanent human presence beyond low Earth orbit.
Event Date: 2/5/2014
As many nations explore the utilization of space, the issue of a country's liability for its space activities becomes critical. Current agreements were decided via treaties in the 1960s and 70s, but they focus on nation-to-nation liability. As private space companies become more prevalent, liability issues are becoming more complex. In 1988, Congress addressed some issues relevant to commercial space operators, but the relationship between spaceflight participants and would-be commercial human space operators was left open. States have attempted to fill the void, but politics and policy quickly interjected. The ways risk, liability, and indemnification are distributed is steeped in national notions of personal responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit, support for the industry, and questions of social cost, as well as political and financial clout. All of these factors contribute to the current space law landscape in the U.S. Carminati will illuminate this legal landscape and how it impacts the developing commercial space industry.
Event Date: 11/19/2013
A generator in space, 150 million km away, heats the Earth, structures its atmosphere, and organizes the surrounding space environment. The Sun's energy output exhibits pronounced variability on all time scales, from minutes to 11-year cycles and longer, with myriad Earthly consequences all the way from its surrounding space environment, to the surface. How might the Sun affect navigation, communication, and Earth-orbiting objects that can impact economic and security operations? How much of atmospheric ozone depletion and surface warming is solar rather than human-induced? How well can we forecast future changes in Earth's extended environment for societal, economic, and security applications? Scientific curiosity and societal utility both call for a robust understanding of the Sun-Earth system-our home in space that extends well beyond the surface where we live.
Event Date: 4/3/2013