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

June 30 6 P.M. CT

Virtual 3D Technology Helping to Advance Exploration, presented by UTMB

On the verge of a new era of space travel, how will astronauts navigate the mental and physical challenges of deep space exploration?

Scientists and engineers are using holoportation technology that could mitigate some challenges of long-term space travel. This technology provides clinical and practical applications, from telemedicine to behavioral support (mental health) and serves as a communication tool.

Learn how holoportation technology, an innovative 3D version of telemedicine is supporting astronauts on the International Space Station and how it’s being used on Earth in our June Thought Leader Series “Virtual 3D Technology Helping to Advance Exploration,” presented by UTMB.

About the panel

Panelists from this discussion include Fernando De La Peña Llaca, M.B.A, M.I.S, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Aexa Aerospace, LLC; Josef F Schmid III, M.D., M.P.H, NASA Flight Surgeon, Lead Medical Orion Medical Operations; and Dafydd (Dave) Williams, B.Sc. M.Sc. M.D. C.M., President and Chief Executive Officer of Leap Biosystems Inc.

Fernando De La Peña Llaca, M.B.A., M.I.S, Ph.D.

Dr. De La Peña Llaca serves as Aexa’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with 25 years of successful leadership in technology and engineering companies. He resides on the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Board of Directors (BAHEP), and chairs the Communications Committee of the Johnson Space Center National Management Association. He is also the aerospace liaison of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Chief of the Infragard Defense Industrial Base SIG. The Defense Industrial Base Sector is the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements.

Dr. De La Peña Llaca’s lifelong passion for space exploration combined with Aexa’s leading-edge expertise, plays a key role in his support for NASA. As an undergraduate engineering student, he completed and patented a spacecraft engine propelled by anti-matter and received additional patents. Dr. De La Peña Llaca received a Discovery Channel Prize in 2010 for his work developing the Mexican Space Agency. He is the former President of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) Space City Houston chapter at NASA Johnson Space Center. He was re-elected this year as Chairman of the Johnson Space Center Small Business Council.

Josef F Schmid III, M.D., M.P.H

Dr. Schmid, active NASA Flight Surgeon, Major General (ret.) USAF. Lead, Orion Medical Operations Artemis Missions, whichwill return humans to the Moon. His patients are current astronauts and their family members, T-38 and X-15 pilots, Shuttle, Space Station and Apollo astronauts, who have walked on the Moon. Dr. Schmid is an aquanaut and veteran of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 12. In October 2021, Dr. Schmid became the first human to be “Holoported” off the planet and into the International Space Station (ISS).

Dr. Schmid is the Chair of Lifetime Surveillance of Astronaut Health, a current member and previous Executive Secretary of the Johnson Space Center Aerospace Medicine Board. He is the physician board member of the Stafford NASA Advisory Committee. He is the former Deputy of the JSC Flight Medicine Clinic and the current Medical Operations Representative to the Exploration Medical Capability Project. He also served as the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Aerospace Medicine Residency Co-Director for 13 years.

Dafydd (Dave) Williams, B.Sc. M.Sc. M.D. C.M.

Dr. Williams is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Leap Biosystems Inc. The renowned physician, astronaut, aquanaut, author, and innovator, brings his unique skills to lead Leap Biosystems Inc. to provide innovations for healthcare, everywhere. At Leap Biosystems Inc., Williams and his team are passionate about space exploration, medicine, and humanity.

Dr. Williams earned his medical degree from McGill University and was the Director of the Department of Emergency Services at Sunnybrook when he became a Canadian astronaut. Between his two spaceflights he was the Director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center and Deputy Associate Administrator for Crew Health and

Safety at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. He retired from the Canadian Space Agency in 2008 and spent three years at McMaster University as the Director of the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Canada. Williams retired as CEO of Southlake in 2017 to pursue opportunities to consult in the aerospace and medical sectors as well as to speak on behalf of the National Speakers Bureau to share his experiences.

Past Thought Leader Series presentations

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Skylab to Gateway: Living in Space, presented by UTMB

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Skylab to Gateway: Living in Space, presented by UTMB

May 26 6 P.M. CT Skylab to Gateway: Living in Space, presented by UTMB From our first venture living in ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – ART AND SCIENCE CONVERGING TO FURTHER HUMANITY

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – ART AND SCIENCE CONVERGING TO FURTHER HUMANITY

April 21 6.P.M. CT Art and Science Converging to Further Humanity Using your imagination to fuel exploration and discovery is ...
Watch
Mars

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Art of Space Communication

Mar. 28 | 6 p.m. CT The Art of Space Communication Space exploration is fueled by science, technology, engineering, and ...
Watch
Dragonfly

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Dragonfly: An Overview of NASA’s Mission to Saturn’s Moon

Dragonfly: An Overview of NASA’s Mission to Saturn’s Moon NASA will launch the Dragonfly mission this decade to explore Saturn’s ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Galactic Herald: How NASA Communicates Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Galactic Herald: How NASA Communicates Space

Right now, NASA is doing amazing things. They are exploring our solar system, looking deeper into the universe with a ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Starlab: A Commercial Destination In Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Starlab: A Commercial Destination In Space

The first-ever free flying commercial space station will be launching this decade. Nanoracks, in collaboration with Voyager Space and Lockheed ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Staying Healthy in Extreme Conditions

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Staying Healthy in Extreme Conditions

The five hazards of human spaceflight are radiation, isolation and confinement, distance from Earth, gravity (or lack thereof), and hostile ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Spaceports: Bringing space to your community

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Spaceports: Bringing space to your community

Space is on the cusp of becoming much more accessible. With advancements in reusable space technology, regional spaceports are the ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Overcoming the challenges of human space flight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Overcoming the challenges of human space flight

In order to send astronauts further into the cosmos, NASA must solve the challenges of human deep space exploration. NASA’s ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Neutralizing Gravity on Earth

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Neutralizing Gravity on Earth

Gravitational force varies significantly from Earth, to the Moon, and Mars. In order to prepare astronauts to work in a ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

Our July Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), features spacesuits. Learn about the suits ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Spacesuits

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Spacesuits

Our June Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), features spacesuits. Learn about the suits ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - The Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Mission

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Mission

Watch our May Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), featuring the Human Exploration Research ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Apollo 13 Mission Memories & Apollo to Artemis panels

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Apollo 13 Mission Memories & Apollo to Artemis panels

In our April Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts discuss ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Going back to the Moon: Lunar Landing

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Going back to the Moon: Lunar Landing

In our March Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts discuss ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Artemis, Orion and SLS: The Future of Deep Space Exploration

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Artemis, Orion and SLS: The Future of Deep Space Exploration

In our February Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts will ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Exploring the Mars Perseverance Rover

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Exploring the Mars Perseverance Rover

In our January Thought Leader Series, presented by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a panel of experts will ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Illuminating Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Illuminating Space

Did you know astronauts aboard the International Space Station experience about 16 “sunsets” per day because the station circles Earth ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - International Cooperation in Space: ISS 20

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – International Cooperation in Space: ISS 20

This month we are celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In our November ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Our Future on Mars

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Our Future on Mars

Since Galileo first saw Mars through a telescope in 1610, the red planet has captivated astronomers and explorers. As one ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Growing Organs in Space

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Growing Organs in Space

Tissue engineering is a fast-developing field thanks to space research. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are studying the effects ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Earth from Above: Explaining the Overview Effect

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Earth from Above: Explaining the Overview Effect

Traveling to space is a singular event in any person’s life. But seeing our “big blue marble” from orbit can ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Space Tourism For All: Overcoming Challenges

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

Learn how experts are overcoming the challenges of spaceflight for those with disabilities in our July Thought Leader Series, presented ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Human Robotic Interaction

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Human Robotic Interaction

Are you curious about NASA’s innovative rovers, dynamic exoskeletons, and autonomous robonauts? Learn about the future of space robotics in ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronaut Selection and Training Process

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronaut Selection and Training Process

As NASA begins to narrow the field of candidates for the newest astronaut class, we explored the astronaut selection and ...
Watch
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

The presentation, “Evidence of Human Presence on the Station” reveals how scholars are building new understandings of an astronaut crew ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Challenges of Building the Space Station

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Challenges of Building the Space Station

Explore the challenges of building the International Space Station (ISS) from retired NASA astronauts Scott Parazynski and Mike Foreman in ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Lessons from Apollo 12

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Lessons from Apollo 12

The Apollo 11 mission made history. But it didn’t mark the end of NASA’s work. Less than five months after ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Astronauts from Around the World

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Astronauts from Around the World

Space is a truly international endeavor. In this Oct. 16 installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series, presented by the ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - The Future of Spaceflight

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – The Future of Spaceflight

The future of spaceflight will be here sooner than you think. NASA’s plans currently have humans traveling back to the ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Inside Mission Control with Current Flight Controllers

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Inside Mission Control with Current Flight Controllers

What is it like to sit at the helm of human spaceflight and work with a variety of highly-trained teams ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Cognition Here and Beyond

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Cognition Here and Beyond

Watch the May 3 installment of our ongoing Thought Leader Series. Titled Cognition Here and Beyond, a panel discusses autism ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Apollo 10 with astronaut Tom Stafford

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

Apollo 10 set the stage for Neil Armstrong’s historic steps on the Moon. It did so with a bit of ...
Watch
VIDEO: Thought Leader Series - Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time

VIDEO: Thought Leader Series – Life Beyond Earth in Space and Time

Water. Energy. Organics. Is there life on other planets? Those three things could help NASA answer that question. NASA chief ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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, ...
Watch
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, ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch
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, ...
Watch
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 ...
Watch

Space in your inbox
Sign up to receive emails about our programs, exhibits & discounts.
Subscribe
Translate »
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien