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

International Cooperation in Space: ISS 20
Nov. 30 | 6 p.m. CT

This month we are celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In our November Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of astronauts will discuss how they lived, worked and collaborated aboard the floating laboratory.

NASA astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Colonel Jeremy Hansen, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Captain Samantha Cristoforetti will share their space station experiences from a scientific and cultural perspective.

During this unique time, we are still passionate about sharing science and space exploration with our community. To continue our commitment to bring dynamic science learning experiences to the public, please join the November Thought Leader Series virtually at 6 p.m. CT Nov. 30.

Be part of the presentation by submitting your questions to questions@spacestation.org by 12 p.m. CT Nov. 19.

The presentation will be available on this webpage and our YouTube channel.

International Cooperation

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS. The principals are the space agencies of the US, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

The program brings together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally distributed launch, operations, training, engineering, and development facilities, communications networks, and the international scientific research community.

Construction, assembly and operation of the ISS requires the support of facilities on the Earth managed by all of the international partner agencies and countries involved in the program.

About the panel

California native Dr. Ochoa is a veteran of four space missions. She also served as the 11th director of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). She was JSC’s first Hispanic director, and it’s second female director. Ochoa joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center. She was selected as an astronaut in 1990 and became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on the nine-day STS-56 mission in 1993. She also flew on STS-66, STS-96, and STS-110, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering.

Ontario native Colonel Hansen joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1994. He served as a CF-18 fighter pilot. He completed his CF-18 Fighter Pilot Training in 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron from 2003 to 2004. Hansen was one of two recruits selected by the CSA in 2009 through the third Canadian Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. In 2011, he graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training. Hansen currently represents CSA at NASA and works at the Mission Control Center as Capcom—the voice between the ground and the ISS. He holds a bachelor’s degree in space science and a master’s degree in physics.

Milan native Captain Cristoforetti joined the Italian Air Force in 2001. She attended the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard Air Force Base in the US, where she earned her fighter pilot wings in 2006. She was selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009. In 2014, Cristoforetti launched as a flight engineer for ISS Expedition 42/43. After 200 days in space, she returned to Earth on June 11, 2015. She is now crew representative for ESA in the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway project. She is also part of a working group tasked with working with Chinese counterparts to define and implement cooperation in the field of astronaut operations. She has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical sciences and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. She has researched aerodynamics in Toulouse, France and solid rocket propellants in Moscow, Russia.

Be part of our virtual Thought Leader Series presentation by submitting your questions to questions@spacecenter.org by 5 p.m. CT Aug. 13.

Past Thought Leader Series presentations

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Our Future on Mars

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Our Future on Mars

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Growing Organs in Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Growing Organs in Space

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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

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

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

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Human Robotic Interaction

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Human Robotic Interaction

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronaut Selection and Training Process

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronaut Selection and Training Process

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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

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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

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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

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronauts from Around the World

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronauts from Around the World

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - The Future of Spaceflight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Future of Spaceflight

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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

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VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Cognition Here and Beyond

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Cognition Here and Beyond

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

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

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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

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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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