Astronaut to discuss his experiences on International Space Station

April 29th, 2012
During his mission on the International Space Station, NASA astronaut and mission specialist Gregory E. Chamitoff, PhD, shared his adventures with students around the world. Back on Earth, he continues to engage young minds in science and engineering through various events and competitions.

Dr. Chamitoff will talk about his experiences on the space station and activities that contribute to NASA's goal of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers during his keynote address at the opening session of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston. His presentation, "The International Space Station - Gateway to our Future," will begin at 5:40 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 28, in the Hynes Convention Center.

"The technological world of today is the product of a generation of doctors, scientists and engineers who were so inspired and grew up with a positive vision for the future and a passion for making it come true," Dr. Chamitoff said.

As a young boy, Dr. Chamitoff was fascinated by the prospect of human beings exploring beyond the bounds of Earth. He was inspired by science fiction, which made everything seem possible, as well as the real-life drama that was unfolding in the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Dr. Chamitoff was able to live out his dreams by working on the space station for six months in 2008. He was the flight engineer and science officer for Expeditions 17 and 18.

In 2011, he flew on the last mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, during which the final assembly of the International Space Station was completed. During this mission, he performed operations with the shuttle and station robotic arms, including the installation of a pallet of spare equipment and a particle physics observatory called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which holds promise for fundamental breakthroughs in the understanding of the universe. Dr. Chamitoff also performed two spacewalks, the last of which marked the completion of space station assembly and was the final spacewalk of the space shuttle program.

"While the space shuttle is now retired, it leaves behind the International Space Station as its legacy and the gateway to our future," Dr. Chamitoff said. "As the most complex engineering project in history, the space station is a shining example of what human beings can do when working together. It serves as a unique laboratory for a broad range of research and development, and a source of inspiration for the next generation."

The International Space Station is operated by the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. There have been 135 launches to the space station since the first launch in November 1998, including 74 Russian vehicles, 37 space shuttles, two European vehicles and two Japanese vehicles. In addition, 161 spacewalks have been conducted to support space station assembly.

The space station is almost 1 million pounds and would cover most of two football fields if lying flat on the ground. Its interior volume is about the same as a 747. It has two bathrooms, a gym and a 360-degree bay window.

During his presentation, Dr. Chamitoff will show a video that will give the audience a sense of what it is like to be on the space station.

Provided by American Academy of Pediatrics

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