News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

AIAA evening presentation with Dr. Sandra Magnus “Perspectives from Space”

AIAA evening presentation with Dr. Sandra Magnus “Perspectives from Space”

Nov 3, 2013

The (AIAA) American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics held an evening event in Pasadena, Ca at the Beckman Grill with former Nasa Astronaut Dr. Sandra Magnus, Ph.D. speaking on “Perspectives from Space.” Dr. Sandra Magnus has flown aboard two space shuttle missions STS-112 in 2002, STS-135 in 2011 and in 2008 she flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on board the STS-126 as she stayed on the ISS for 4.5 months serving as Flight Engineer and Science Officer on Expedition 18, returning home to earth on STS-119.  She began her NASA career in 1996 with training for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist later following the space station she served as Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA Headquarters and in her current role she is the new Executive Director of the AIAA organization the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with more than 35,000 individual members in 79 countries.


Click to read more as Dr. Sandra Magnus shares her “Perspectives from Space.”

In her talk Dr. Sandra Magnus shares 16 years of her experience while she was at NASA the perspectives she gained, lessons learned, traveling around the world and highlights of the practical things in our lives. She begins by talking about the cultural diversity working with the Russians, Japanese, Canadians and Brazillians all to get the International Space Station operational piece by piece. She states the largest intangible benefits from the space program was working with 16 different countries across language barriers, various approaches on engineering, all coming together for this “amazing building in the sky.”

She also talked about human adaptability with just a few days in orbit she adapted in space quite quickly as if she was there forever. She explained while her training at Aquarius Habitation in Florida she lived underwater for a week also adapting fast that living underwater felt normal.  Humans can adapt to their environment easily or quickly she observes. She noticed daily while looking out her window from space that our planet is beautiful sharing her favorite places to view from space like the Carribean the Sahara Desert clouds and thunderstorms she took thousands of photos also that our planet is fragile and that we are all connected together. She realized that sometimes we can get stuck in our daily routines as she did on the space station noticing herself that she was not looking out the window anymore as she was focused on her mission until she reminded herself to look out the window again and to stop and think about your daily routine.

The perception shift of gravity she felt was very normal to her and natural without having no gravity. “Gravity is not your friend” when having to adapt to zero G when reentering the atmosphere from space. Making sure she would re-adapt to gravity back to earth she exercised 2 hours everyday in doing so after returning home from space she had no bone loss or muscle atrophy yet she did feel heavy for about two weeks while getting used to gravity again.

In closing her presentation she talked about “embracing the unknown” as she has been asked often by students “Were you ever scared?’ her answer “No” why because she looked forward to going to space, it’s what she loves and it’s her passion. She said as human being we are natural explorers but yet we fear the unknown, limiting ourselves. Embrace the unknown, believe in intangibles – this is how she wants to spend her time, she wants to be in space, time is intangible don’t take it for granted – time is most valuable.  Lastly she said to follow your interest be passionate about what you do and you will excel.

At the event attendees had the opportunity to celebrate and share Dr. Sandra Magnus birthday on October 30, 2013. An inspiring talk that will resonate in your heart about life lessons, intangible benefits of diversity, time and to remember to look out the window.


See all photos taken at the event on flickr taken by Andrea Gutierrez:

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