Explorers Club: Women in Space | SpaceRef


THURSDAY – October 14 at 7 p.m. ET

Meet 4 stellar women who are leading the way in the next era of human spaceflight – from commercial spaceflight professionals to budding astronauts to spacewalk operations engineers and more! Join moderator Dr Shawna Pandya to chat with these amazing Explorers Club members and fellows as they share their respective journeys, challenges and vision for the future of space.

Shawna Pandya is a doctor, scientist-astronaut who graduated from the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IISA) and Project PoSSUM, aquanaut, lecturer, martial artist, advanced diver, parachutist, pilot in training, vice president of immersive medicine with Luxsonic Technologies, director of medical research at Orbital Assembly Corporation and member of The Explorers Club. She is also Director of the IIAS / PoSSUMSpace Medicine Group, Chief Instructor of the IIAS / PoSSUM Operational Space Medicine Course, and Podcast Host with World Extreme Medicine’s WEMcast series. Dr Pandya was among the first crew to test a commercial space suit in zero gravity in 2015. Dr Pandya obtained his aquanaut designation during the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission. She previously served as the commander on a 2020 tour of the Mars Desert Research Station. In 2021, Dr. Pandya received an honorary title Fellowship in extreme and wild medicine by the organization World Extreme Medicine and named one of the 100 Most Influential Women of the Women’s Executive Network in Canada. Her career and trajectory were captured in the “Canadian Women in Space” exhibit at the Ontario Science Center, alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space (and idol of Dr. Pandya growing up).

Kellie Gerardi is a bio-astronautics researcher, defense professional and popular science communicator. In June 2021, Kellie was announced as a Payload Specialist and Professional Commercial Astronaut under contract for an upcoming dedicated research space flight with Virgin Galactic, in which she will conduct healthcare and fluid experiments in space on behalf of the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IIAS). In addition to her work in the space industry, Kellie holds a leadership role in Global Mission Operations at Palantir Technologies, serves on the Defense Council of the National Security Project Truman, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Explorers Club. , including the prestigious flag he carried during a crew rotation at the Mars Desert Research Station. Kellie’s work as a science communicator has attracted nearly a million fans on social media platforms. She is the author of Not necessarily Rocket Scienceand the next series of picture books for children LUNA MUNA. Kellie lives in Jupiter, Florida with her husband Steven and their daughter Delta V.

Dr Tess Caswell is an engineer, scientist and analog astronaut with a passion for manned space exploration. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a PhD in Geology from Brown University. She floated in zero gravity, studied glacier flow and worked in the control room for government and private space missions. As a member of the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) XI crew, she spent thirty days on a simulated space mission to study the effects of isolation and stress on astronaut crews. She is currently a member of the Extravehicular Activities (EVA) team at NASA Johnson Space Center, where she plans spacewalks and helps prepare the next generation of lunar explorers for the Artemis program.

Yvette Gonzalez is a humanitarian, bio-astronautics, spacesuit technician and human resilience expert. With over two decades of experience in emergency response to rebuild communities in active wars, conflicts, natural disasters and epidemiological epidemics, Yvette focuses on space technologies to solve Earth’s challenges. She carries out her research at the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences. Of Native American and Mexican descent, she leads efforts to provide access to space science and STEM to underrepresented groups and marginalized communities.

Dr Erika Wagner is Payload Sales Director for Blue Origin, where she works to improve access to space for science, technology, arts, education and entrepreneurs. Previously, Dr Wagner worked with the XPRIZE Foundation as Senior Director of Exploration Prize Development and Founding Executive Director of the XPRIZE Lab @ MIT. Dr. Wagner’s interdisciplinary experience includes degrees in biomedical and aerospace engineering, with research spanning both the adaptation of humans and mammals to microgravity, partial gravity, and centrifugation; as well as organizational innovation and price theory. She is a director of the Seattle Museum of Flight, a member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame, and a member of the National Academies Space Studies Board.

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