May 24th, 2018

Genes in Space students chat live with ISS astronauts

On May 10th, 2018 Genes in Space co-founder Boeing hosted a live Genes in Space event at Space Center Houston in Texas that included a live conversation with astronauts on the International Space Station! The event was broadcast on Facebook Live and NASA TV and attended live by hundreds of Houston area students including some from three-time Constellation Award winners Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan Middle School. 


Students attend the downlink event at Space Center Houston

The live event, hosted by Boeing's communications specialist Steven Siceloff, kicked off with an introduction to Genes in Space and a panel discussion. The panel included Julie Robinson, NASA chief scientist for the International Space Station, Genes in Space and miniPCR co-founder Zeke Alvarez-Saavedra, Ken Shields, director of Operations, CASIS, and Tony Castilleja, Boeing Starliner. 


Genes in Space panel

Next Tony Castilleja introduced the audience to Boeing's Starliner spacecraft which may begin bringing crews to the International Space Station as early as the end of this year. The event wrapped up with a conversation with two current members of the ISS crew, Drew Feustel and Scott Tingle. Astronauts Feustel and Tingle answered questions recorded by several Genes in Space participants and 2017 Genes in Space winners Elizabeth (Liza) Reizis and Sophia Chen as well as students in the live audience. 


Joshua from Baylor College of Medicine Academy asks astronauts Feustel and Tingle a question assisted by Boeing's Steven Siceloff

The event concluded with closing remarks from Genes in Space co-founder Zeke Alvarez-Saavedra. Afterwards students were given the chance to use Boeing’s Starliner V/R training system. 

The event was hugely successful and enjoyed by those who attended live and online. We are hugely grateful to Boeing's Steven Siceloff for his leading role in organizing the event, Space Center Houston for graciously hosting and to the panelists and astronauts Feustel and Tingle for participating. If you were unable to join live, a recording of the full event and some photos from the day can be viewed below: