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ISSRDC Announces Session on Expanding Access to Space Through Inclusion and Workforce Development

Panel brings together diverse voices to show space is for everyone

BOSTON (MA), July 2, 2024 – Axiom Mission 2 pilot John Shoffner and aerospace engineer and reigning Miss United Kingdom Jessica Gagen will join a panel of guests to discuss increasing access to space and expanding the space industry workforce at the 13th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC). This panel takes place on day 3 of the conference, which will be held at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston, July 29-August 1, 2024.

Stephen White, chief strategy officer and vice president of partnerships and business development for the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), will moderate the panel. He will be joined by Scout Space co-founder and chairman Eric Ingram and NASA director of digital communications Brittany Brown.

ISSRDC is the only conference dedicated exclusively to research and development on the space station, and this panel, “Unprecedented Access: Building the Bridge to Space through Access and Technology,” will delve into the transformative power of inclusive practices and collaborative efforts within the space industry. By fostering an environment where different perspectives thrive, the low Earth orbit economy can harness the full spectrum of human creativity to tackle challenges of space exploration that are not limited by physical or societal barriers.

The ISS National Lab supports a number of educational outreach programs at every age level to help prepare today’s students for careers in the space industry. The panelists share in the mission to invest in tomorrow’s researchers and explorers by inspiring the next generation through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education:

  • Brown sets strategy at NASA to educate the public and reach new audiences and communities across NASA’s digital platforms.
  • Gagen, an aerospace engineering graduate, is using her platform as the reigning Miss United Kingdom and Miss Europe to empower women in STEM and encourage students of all backgrounds to embrace engineering careers.
  • Ingram is an organizing team member and ambassador of Mission: AstroAccess, which aims to create physical environments on space vessels in which all astronauts, regardless of disability on Earth, can live, work, and thrive in space.
  • Shoffner is the founder of the Perseid Foundation, which is dedicated to improving education through the integration of a robust science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum in rural communities.

ISSRDC brings together leaders from the commercial sector, U.S. government agencies, and academic communities to foster innovation and discovery onboard the space station. ISSRDC 2024 will showcase how the orbiting laboratory continues to provide a valuable platform for research and technology development that benefits humanity and enables a robust and sustainable market in low Earth orbit.

ISSRDC is hosted by the ISS National Laboratory®, managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™); NASA; and the American Astronautical Society (AAS). Additional announcements on keynote speakers and other conference sessions will be forthcoming.

To learn more about ISSRDC 2024, including how to register, exhibit, or become a conference sponsor, please visit the conference website.

About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory:

The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Laboratory® allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve quality of life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology, and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit our website.


As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CASIS accepts corporate and individual donations to help advance science in space for the benefit of humanity. For more information, visit our donations page.

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