Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former NASA Astronaut and Boy Scout to speak at Chicago “Space Station National Design Challenge” workshop at UIC on June 22

WHO: The International Space Station is calling: Chicagoland Boy Scouts and Explorers conducting initial workshop for sending their research projects to the International Space Station.

WHAT: The Boys Scouts of America’s Pathway to Adventure Council, based in Chicago, has partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to send a variety of student experiments to the International Space Station as part of the “Space Station National Design Challenge.”

This workshop kicks off the process of sending qualified proposals to humankind’s most innovative learning outpost. Additionally, former NASA astronaut and Boy Scout Mark Polansky will be on hand to meet with students and reporters to discuss the importance of education and teamwork and how the space station is a platform capable of energizing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

WHERE: University of Illinois-Chicago
750 S. Halsted St., Chicago - Cardinal Room in the Student Center East
ONLINE Registration Required:

WHEN: June 22nd 
Astronaut Mark Polansky to provide opening remarks at 10:15am on June 22nd

Come celebrate the youth and adult facilitators and mentors of these three Space Station proposals selected for the 2015/2016 Space Station Design Challenge:

  • Troop 209 in Palatine – Norman McFarland, Adult Facilitator - “Our Team AMES for Space.”

  • Exploring Post – St. Joe’s NW Indiana – Dr. Sandra Chimon Rogers, Adult Facilitator -  “Understanding, building and utilizing the Infrared Spectrometer (IR) and structural determination of the Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid peptide via IR.”

  • Troop 8 in Hinsdale - Christie Capelety, Adult Facilitator - “Impact of Gravity on Arabidopsis Seedlings and Undifferentiated Cells in Space.”

Interviews are available with astronaut Mark Polansky prior to, and after his opening remarks. Please send interview requests to

BACKGROUND: The Space Station's microgravity environment offers researchers the exclusive opportunity to conduct experiments in a setting free from the effects of gravity present on Earth. Since systems act differently in this microgravity environment, researchers are able to gather valuable insight that can help advance their work on Earth. 
For more information visit: 

Our featured speaker for the June 22nd Kick-off is Astronaut Mark Polansky - Biography: Astronaut, Military Fighter and Test Pilot, Motivational Speaker
  • Former United States Astronaut – Pilot of STS-98 (Atlantis), Commander of STS- 116 (Discovery) and STS-127 (Endeavour)
  • Logged almost 1000 hours in space
  • Accomplished Fighter Pilot and Test Pilot with United States Air Force. Instructor Pilot and Research Pilot with NASA.
  • Logged over 7000 hours in more than 30 different aircraft
  • Only NASA Astronaut of Korean Heritage
  • Held Numerous Leadership Positions within the NASA Astronaut Office
  • Served as NASA Director of Operations Russia at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia


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