2024 SSEP National Conference – Featured Talks

Keynote and Featured Presentation Descriptions
July 1, 2024

Welcome Keynote
9:30-10:00 am

Title: Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, and Inspiring the Future:
Human Exploration, the Journey Continues
Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director [Bio]
Program Director, SSEP National Program
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

Abstract: We live in a moment in time. It’s the place where the accomplishments of those that came before us meet up with what will be undertaken by future generations. It’s a great place to be, especially if you’re part of the future generation. By learning about the past both in terms of what we know and how we’ve come to know it, and talking to those that work on the frontiers right now, you can choose to shape the future. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Standing on the shoulders of past generations, YOU are now the link between the past and future of human exploration.

Featured Presentation 1

10:50-11:20 am

Title: Overcoming Obstacles and Reaching for the Stars!
Dr. Don Thomas [Bio]
NASA Astronaut, STS-65, 70, 83, 94

Abstract: As a mission specialist astronaut for NASA, Dr. Thomas has flown on four space shuttle missions and has spent 44 days in space. During his missions he completed 692 orbits of the Earth traveling nearly 20 million miles in the process. During this presentation Dr. Thomas will discuss his lifelong journey to become an astronaut, what it was like living and working in space, and will share some of his favorite views of planet Earth taken from space.

Special Meet and Greet with Dr. Don Thomas

2:45-3:15 pm
Space Mirror Memorial (located behind the IMAX Theater)

Featured Presentation 2

1:00 -1:15 pm

Title: Research in Space to Benefit Humanity
Patrick O’Neill, Public Affairs and Outreach Lead [Bio]
International Space Station National Laboratory

Abstract: The International Space Station National Laboratory is enabling access and opportunities for researchers of all ages to bring value to humanity through space-based investigations. This presentation will focus on some of the recent exciting advancements taking place onboard the orbiting incubator in low Earth orbit. Additionally, this presentation will highlight how the space station is validating business models that will spur the workforce of tomorrow in space.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.