Audience with an Astronaut

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Friday, February 15, 2013 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm

Audience with an Astronaut program featuring former NASA Astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao, co-sponsored by Noel Wien Library. Chiao will talk about his experiences as a Space Shuttle astronaut and as a resident of the International Space Station (ISS).

The event is one of two free sessions, which have identical content. Another session will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-seated.

About Chiao

Educated as an engineer, Chiao works in business and academia, including serving as the special advisor -- human spaceflight for the Space Foundation. He grew up in Danville, Calif., and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. A native English speaker, he also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

His Space Shuttle missions include:

  • STS-92 Discovery, Oct. 11--24, 2000
  • STS-72 Endeavour, Jan. 11--20, 1996
  • STS-65 Columbia, July 8--23, 1994

In addition, he flew as Flight Engineer 1 aboard Soyuz TMA-5 to the ISS, where he served as commander and NASA science officer for Expedition 10. He lived on the ISS for six and half months.

Chiao received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2004. After a 15-year career with NASA, he left in 2005 to work and consult on a number of projects. In 2009, he served as a member of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council. He holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and is involved in educational programs. An instrument-rated pilot, Chiao has logged over 2,900 flight hours in a variety of aircraft.

Program is Part of New Horizons

The two Audience with an Astronaut sessions are part of a program called New Horizons being presented by the Space Foundation in Fairbanks, Feb. 11-16. Other activities will include classes and presentations at local schools, community presentations and a workshop for teachers. In addition to Chiao, the visiting Space Foundation team will include Vice President Marketing and Communications Janet Stevens and Space Education Specialists Elias Molen and Amy Robinson. 


The week’s worth of programs was made possible by local Immaculate Conception Grade School fourth-grade teacher Marci Ward, who raised community support for the program. Ward is a member of the Space Foundation’s prestigious Teacher Liaison group, which comprises about 270 extraordinary teachers from around the world who use space themes and principles in the classroom.  

The lead sponsors are Pogo Mine and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Additional sponsors include BP, the Chena Kiwanis Club, Denali State Bank, the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp., the Fairbanks Kiwanis Club, Fountainhead Development, Inc., Fort Knox Gold Mine, Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority, Jeffrey and Kelly Brooks , Faith and Paul Walsh , Judy and Johne Binkley, Mary Binkley and Grace Minder.  

Noel Wien Library, 1215 Cowles Street, Fairbanks, Alaska