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 Presentation

The Lunar Mars Surface Integration Facility & New Lunar Economy

Monday, March 20

6 p.m. – Space Center Theater

Doors to the public open at 5:45 p.m.


Melissa Sampson, Ph.D. 

Space Infrastructure

Strategy & Business Development Senior Manager

Lockheed Martin Commercial and Civil Space

Dr. Melissa Sampson is the Space Infrastructure, Strategy & Business Development Senior Manager for Lockheed Martin Space and is responsible for cislunar and lunar surface infrastructure. Her experience spans business development, advanced programs, engineering, contracts, and government affairs.

Dr. Sampson is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow, International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accredited Coach, and a Lean & Six Sigma Black Belt. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from College of William & Mary and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, from University of Colorado, Boulder.

Colonel Jack “2fish” Fischer

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

Intuitive Machines

Col. (retired) Jack Fischer is a senior space ops leader, combat fighter pilot, astronaut, and flight test expert with 27 years of experience across the spectrum of operational levels. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Draper Fellow with Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Astronautics. He is also a command pilot astronaut with over 3,000 hours in over 40 aircraft and an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He has 136 days in space with two spacewalks.

About the Panel

Panelists from this discussion include Carmina Mortillaro, Collections Specialist at Space Center Houston, Paul Spana, Director of Collections and Curator at Space Center Houston and David Graziosi, Fellow at ILC Dover LP.

Paul Spana

Paul Spana has combined his background in art, architecture and storytelling with his 40 years of museum experience. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Incarnate Word.

Spana has coordinated all aspects of the exhibit development process from concept through installation. He now focusses on his curatorial role to activate NASA’s artifacts and sharing their stories with the public.

Carmina Mortillaro

Carmina Mortillaro has more than 25 years of museum experience. As the Collections Specialist for Space Center Houston, she writes and develops content to tell the story of human space exploration.

Mortillaro researches and implements museum industry best practices in support of creating innovative, authentic learning experiences for people of all ages. She works closely with NASA Johnson Space Center engineers, scientists, historians, administrators, artists, and other space exploration experts. Mortillaro holds a Master of Arts degree in anthropology with a concentration in museum studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from The George Washington University, Washington D.C.

David Graziosi

David Graziosi is an ILC Dover Fellow located at their Houston operation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering and minor in mathematics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He has more than 30 years of experience in the development of spacesuits and spacesuit components.

Graziosi holds three U.S. patents that include spacesuit technology and inflatable wing structures. He has authored more than 20 peer reviewed technical papers on spacesuit development. Graziosi has also received the NASA Silver Snoopy Award, numerous NASA Group Achievement awards and was a 2007 NASA Space Flight Achievement Honoree and NASA Stellar Award finalist.

Past Presentations

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