Thought Leader Series

Ignite your curiosity and grow your passion for space and science at our monthly Thought Leader Series. The best and brightest minds examine the significance of historic missions, share the latest news in space exploration and look ahead to the future of space travel. This immersive series takes guests beyond our walls to provide inspiring, engaging and educational learning experiences.

Upcoming Thought Leader Series presentation

Spaceports: Bringing space to your community

Oct. 28 | 6 p.m. CT

Space is on the cusp of becoming much more accessible. With advancements in reusable space technology, regional spaceports are the next step in helping more companies fly into low Earth orbit. Houston is home to a spaceport at Ellington Airport. What’s the future for these hubs of innovation? How are they designed?

Learn about the potential for spaceports in our October Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

To continue our commitment to bring dynamic science learning experiences to the public, please join the Thought Leader Series virtually at 6 p.m. CT Oct. 28. The presentation will be available on this webpage and our YouTube channel.

About the panel

October Thought Leader Series panelists include Spaceport America Executive Director Scott McLaughlin Andy Rechenberg; Deputy Manager for Kennedy Space Center’s Configuration Management Program; and spaceport architects Cherie Matthew and Sangeetha Karthik.

Scott McLaughlin is the Executive Director of the world's first purpose-built FAA-licensed commercial spaceport, Spaceport America. Scott is a native New Mexican and has worked in both the private and government sectors, in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. In his previous role he traveled around the world installing, maintaining, and marketing specialized wind radar systems. His innovative designs support space launch, test ranges, aviation operations, weather service networks, atmospheric research, and shipboard-based wind measurements.

Andy Rechenberg is Deputy Manager for Kennedy Space Center’s Configuration Management Program and is the Information Technology Liaison for the Gateway Program. In his spare time Andy teaches group cycling and fitness classes and enjoys running half marathons and photography with his son, who lives in Ohio. NASA’s Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.

Sangeetha Karthik is a Associate Principle at Corgan, a leading architecture and design firm founded more than 80 years ago. As a thought-leader on career and technical education centers, Sangeetha has done extensive research on planning for the future through project-based learning environments. She has worked with many education clients to define and align career-based curriculum to meet the goals and needs of the clients as well as the market and area. She excels in creating spaces that mimic the real world, train collaboration and are student-driven to foster engaged, self-directed learners that are aptly prepared for their future careers. Sangeetha is a licensed Architect and Interior Designer in the State of Texas.

Cherie Matthew is an architect and senior associate in the aviation studio at Corgan. As a pioneer for innovative aviation design, Cherie partnered with Corgan’s research and development arm to give shape to the Spaceport—the buildings, networks, services, and experiences needed to support point-to-point rocket travel and commercial space travel.

Submit questions

Be part of our virtual Thought Leader Series presentation by submitting your questions to questions@spacecenter.org or completing the form below by 5 p.m. CT March 25.

Past Thought Leader Series presentations

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Overcoming the challenges of human space flight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Overcoming the challenges of human space flight

In order to send astronauts further into the cosmos, NASA must solve the challenges of human deep space exploration. NASA’s ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Neutralizing Gravity on Earth

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Neutralizing Gravity on Earth

Gravitational force varies significantly from Earth, to the Moon, and Mars. In order to prepare astronauts to work in a ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

Our July Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), features spacesuits. Learn about the suits ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Spacesuits

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Spacesuits

Our June Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), features spacesuits. Learn about the suits ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - The Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Mission

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Mission

Watch our May Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), featuring the Human Exploration Research ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Apollo 13 Mission Memories & Apollo to Artemis panels

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Apollo 13 Mission Memories & Apollo to Artemis panels

In our April Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts discuss ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Going back to the Moon: Lunar Landing

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Going back to the Moon: Lunar Landing

In our March Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts discuss ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Artemis, Orion and SLS: The Future of Deep Space Exploration

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Artemis, Orion and SLS: The Future of Deep Space Exploration

In our February Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts will ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Exploring the Mars Perseverance Rover

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Exploring the Mars Perseverance Rover

In our January Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts will ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Illuminating Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Illuminating Space

Did you know astronauts aboard the International Space Station experience about 16 “sunsets” per day because the station circles Earth ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - International Cooperation in Space: ISS 20

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – International Cooperation in Space: ISS 20

This month we are celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In our November ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Our Future on Mars

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Our Future on Mars

Since Galileo first saw Mars through a telescope in 1610, the red planet has captivated astronomers and explorers. As one ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Growing Organs in Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Growing Organs in Space

Tissue engineering is a fast-developing field thanks to space research. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are studying the effects ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Earth from Above: Explaining the Overview Effect

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Earth from Above: Explaining the Overview Effect

Traveling to space is a singular event in any person’s life. But seeing our “big blue marble” from orbit can ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Space Tourism For All: Overcoming Challenges

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Space Tourism For All: Overcoming Challenges

Learn how experts are overcoming the challenges of spaceflight for those with disabilities in our July Thought Leader Series, presented ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Human Robotic Interaction

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Human Robotic Interaction

Are you curious about NASA’s innovative rovers, dynamic exoskeletons, and autonomous robonauts? Learn about the future of space robotics in ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronaut Selection and Training Process

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronaut Selection and Training Process

As NASA begins to narrow the field of candidates for the newest astronaut class, we explored the astronaut selection and ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Evidence of Human Presence on the International Space Station

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Evidence of Human Presence on the International Space Station

The presentation, “Evidence of Human Presence on the Station” reveals how scholars are building new understandings of an astronaut crew ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Designing for Human Performance

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Designing for Human Performance

It takes time and intense collaboration to design and build a safe, efficient and productive spacecraft. Learn how human factors ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Challenges of Building the Space Station

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Challenges of Building the Space Station

Explore the challenges of building the International Space Station (ISS) from retired NASA astronauts Scott Parazynski and Mike Foreman in ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - How the Space Station shapes research, exploration and international cooperation

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – How the Space Station shapes research, exploration and international cooperation

Explore the International Space Station with industry experts Kirk Shireman, Mark Mulqueen, TJ Creamer, and Tamara Cougar in the this ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Lessons from Apollo 12

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Lessons from Apollo 12

The Apollo 11 mission made history. But it didn’t mark the end of NASA’s work. Less than five months after ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronauts from Around the World

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronauts from Around the World

Space is a truly international endeavor. In this Oct. 16 installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series, presented by the ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - The Future of Spaceflight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Future of Spaceflight

The future of spaceflight will be here sooner than you think. NASA’s plans currently have humans traveling back to the ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Inside Mission Control with Current Flight Controllers

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Inside Mission Control with Current Flight Controllers

What is it like to sit at the helm of human spaceflight and work with a variety of highly-trained teams ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Cognition Here and Beyond

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Cognition Here and Beyond

Watch the May 3 installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series. Titled Cognition Here and Beyond, a panel discusses autism ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Apollo 10 with astronaut Tom Stafford

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Apollo 10 with astronaut Tom Stafford

Apollo 10 set the stage for Neil Armstrong’s historic steps on the Moon. It did so with a bit of ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time

Water. Energy. Organics. Is there life on other planets? Those three things could help NASA answer that question. NASA chief ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Applications of lessons learned from human space flight tragedies

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Applications of lessons learned from human space flight tragedies

Space exploration takes courage, tenacity and innovation. Tragically, it also claimed the lives of 17 brave souls in the Apollo ...
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ISS

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – International Space Station

In his State of the Union address on Jan. 25, 1984, President Ronald Reagan directed NASA to build an international ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - An Evening With Glynn Lunney

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – An Evening With Glynn Lunney

In the Nov. 15, 2019 installment of our Thought Leader Series, the center hosted a special evening with Apollo flight ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - STS-95: John Glenn’s Second Spaceflight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – STS-95: John Glenn’s Second Spaceflight

Space Center Houston brought in experts from the space shuttle mission STS-95 to discuss the anniversary of John Glenn’s second ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Apollo, The Golden Age of Spaceflight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Apollo, The Golden Age of Spaceflight

Walt Cunningham, an astronaut from the first crewed Apollo spaceflight, shares his unique perspective on a remarkable era of exploration, ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer

NASA Johnson Space Center employs nearly 10,000 people and covers nearly 1,700 acres. Running JSC is a big job. Luckily, ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Leading Women of NASA

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Leading Women of NASA

From hidden figures to leading lights, these women are shaping the future of space exploration. This Aug. 24, 2018 installment ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Pioneers of Space Exploration

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Pioneers of Space Exploration

Forty years ago NASA recruited its first six women astronauts. Three of those trailblazers share their mission memories in this ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Alan Stern and David Grinspoon discuss the New Horizons mission

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Alan Stern and David Grinspoon discuss the New Horizons mission

In 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft made interplanetary-travel history by taking the first up-close photos of Pluto. Dr. Alan Stern ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - ESA Director General Johann Woerner

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – ESA Director General Johann Woerner

How are NASA and the European Space Agency working together? Learn all about this partnership and more in this April, ...
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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - A Conversation with Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – A Conversation with Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise

In this March 16, 2018 installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series, Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise discusses that fateful ...
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