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

Apollo – The Golden Age of Spaceflight
with astronaut Walt Cunningham

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5

An astronaut from the first crewed Apollo spaceflight shares his unique perspective on a remarkable era of exploration, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and the human side of spaceflight.

Join us for the next installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series Oct. 5 featuring Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham.

This free event has limited seating and tickets must be presented at the door for entry.

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Space Center Houston inspires STEM learning in communities near and far through the lens of space exploration. Hear an Apollo astronaut lend insight into some of our nation’s most historic space programs.

Among Cunningham’s many accomplishments, he is most well-known for being NASA’s second civilian astronaut, serving as a fighter pilot with the rank of colonel in the US Marine Corps, authoring The All-American Boys, hosting Lift-off To Logic, a radio talk show and for his contributions as a physicist, lecturer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Cunningham is also being inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. Sept. 28.

A space pioneer

Cunningham was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1953 and served as a combat pilot on 54 missions in Korea through 1956. His background prepared him for the historic Apollo 7 mission that helped NASA gain the confidence to go to the Moon.

Cunningham was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1953 and served as a combat pilot on 54 missions in Korea through 1956. His background prepared him for the historic Apollo 7 mission that helped NASA gain the confidence to go to the Moon.

On Oct. 11, 1968, Cunningham flew aboard the Apollo program’s first crewed mission to space, Apollo 7. He sat in the Lunar Module Pilot’s seat for the 11-day flight, spending 263 hours in space. Prior to his historic flight, he had been listed as the backup Lunar Module Pilot for the tragic Apollo 1 mission.

He went on to serve as the Chief of the Skylab branch of the Flight Crew Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center and is now a successful businessman and author, serving as director for many public and private companies. Cunningham devotes time to speaking, both as a lecturer and radio talk show host, and we are excited to host him Oct. 5 for our latest Thought Leader Series presentation.

An inspiring career
There will be time following the event for Q&A from the audience. Questions can be submitted to Cunningham’s book is available in SpaceTrader. However, he will not be signing copies or providing autographs at the event.

Scientist, veteran, astronaut, businessman, author, Walt has done it all. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear his unique perspective on some of our nation’s greatest space programs at our next Thought Leader Series presentation. Get your tickets now!

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Past Thought Leader Series presentations

NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer
Sept. 10

Hear from JSC director Mark Geyer on his new job, his public service career and the future of JSC and human space exploration.

Leading Women of NASA with Debbie Conder, Catherine Koerner and Vanessa Wyche
Aug. 24

Astronaut debrief: Expedition 54/55
Aug. 7

Movie premiere and Q&A with EVA 23 astronauts Luca Parmitano, Chris Cassidy and former ISS Chief Engineer Chris Hansen
July 14

Pioneers of Space Exploration
June 28

Retired astronauts Dr. Shannon Lucid, Dr. Rhea Seddon and Dr. Anna Fisher discuss their amazing experiences 35 years after classmate Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

Alan Stern and David Grinspoon discuss the New Horizons mission
May 12


ESA Director General Johann Woerner
April 19


A Conversation with Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise
March 16


Dr. John Logsdon talks John F. Kennedy, Project Apollo and the 21st Century Space Program
Feb. 21


Astronaut debrief: Expedition 52/53
Jan. 31


Q&A with author Andy Weir
Nov. 17, 2017


45th Anniversary of Apollo 17 Remembered
July 20, 2017


Apollo Lunar Surface Exploration – EVA and Lunar Rover
July 20, 2017


Saturn Booster Operations – Saturn V Launch and S-IVB Trans-Lunar Insertion
July 20, 2017


Apollo Landing and Recovery Operations and Astronaut Post-Landing Quarantine
July 20, 2017


Mars Exploration Forum with NASA Johnson Space Center Director and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director
Jan. 20, 2017