Press Release: Astronaut Abby to Moderate Escape Velocity Extra with Focus on Female Engineers

Wednesday Night, October 28, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. ETEVX_FemaleEngineers_Astronaut Abby

Washington, DC (October 21, 2020) – When the Museum of Science Fiction (MOSF) presents their next Escape Velocity Extra (EVX) online program, Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET, the spotlight will focus squarely on five prominent women in Aerospace Engineering, each of whom presently play critical roles in NASA’s ongoing partnership with private enterprises.

The next installment of the Museum’s ongoing online programming, entitled Women in Aerospace Engineering, will showcase today’s generation of female engineers, each with an eye toward both the 2024 Artemis Mission to the Moon and the eventual colonization of Mars.

While all five scientists have carved their own paths in the fields of aeronautics and space exploration, each credits such legendary female characters as B’Elanna Torres from Star Trek: Voyager (played by Roxann Dawson), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper from The Expanse), Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite from Firefly) and others, for their inspiration.

While registration – available at https://escapevelocity.events/evx/ — is entirely free of charge, donations to the Museum, a 501(C)3 organization, are encouraged.

Moderated by Abigail Harrison, this 90-minute episode will discuss the contributions of real-world engineers to the fields of STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts and math).

Colloquially known as Astronaut Abby, Harrison, only 23 years old, harbors the goal of becoming the first explorer to step foot on Mars. Five years ago, Harrison founded The Mars Generation, a 501(C)3 nonprofit with the aid of an advisory board of astronauts, engineers, scientists and more than a million online followers and supporters. The nonprofit has reached more than 25 million people in its first two years of operation with its work to educate and excite kids and adults about space exploration and STEM education.

Harrison will be joined by:

  • LaNetra Tate – NASA’s Space Tech Mission Directorate’s Program Executive
    Dr. Tate has served roles in polymer chemistry material science groups, Program Executive for two of the largest programs within the Mission Directorate, STMD Advanced Manufacturing and Nanotechnology Principal Technologist and the NASA representative to the National Manufacturing Initiative. Dr. Tate currently works at Goddard Spaceflight Center, leading the Commercialization, Innovation, and Synergies within the Exploration and Space Communications Division. Dr. Tate has received numerous awards for her work, which she holds numerous patents and publications.
  • Jody Davis – NASA Deputy Payload Systems Engineer
    Davis has worked on missions Cassini-Huygens, Mars Phoenix and Mars Science Laboratory, specializing in entry, descent and landing flight dynamics and trajectory simulation of the Curiosity Rover and Technical Lead for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator flight test project at NASA Langley Research Center. Currently Davis supports the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope as the Observatory Lead Interface Systems Engineer. Responsible for aiding the development, design, fabrication, test, verification, mission integration, launch support, and on-orbit operations in the area of technical interfaces. She earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from University of Virginia.
  • Elizabeth Jens – JPL Propulsion Engineer
    Dr. Jens is a Propulsion and Systems Engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on a cold gas system for the Mars 2020 mission and working on the proposed Mars Ascent Vehicle. Dr. Jens serves as a chairperson of the ASME Propulsion Technical Committee, as well as a member of the Propulsion Technical Committee of the International Astronautical Federation and the Hybrid Rocket Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dr. Jens earned a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 2016, a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008.
  • Lindsay Aitchison – NASA Spacesuit Engineer
    Lindsay Aitchison is the Program Executive for Extra-vehicular Activity, otherwise known as “spacewalks,” within the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA Headquarters. Her team is supporting the Artemis missions to send humans back to the lunar surface and on to Mars. Prior, she was a space suit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center where she focused on the development and testing of space suit pressure garments for surface exploration, gaining extensive hands on experience- as both test director and test subject- in the lab, at remote test sites, and in reduced gravity analogs including the Neutral Buoyance Lab and NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft. Aitchison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Human Factors Engineering from Wright State University.
  • Powtawche Valerino – NASA Guidance Engineer
    Valerino is an Aerospace Engineer who works at the NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center where she supports NASA’s Space Launch System and Human Landing System Programs in the areas of guidance and flight mechanics. Prior to her current position, Powtawche was a senior guidance engineer for Aerodyne Industries at NASA-Marshall, and a flight path control analyst at NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she worked on the navigation teams for the Cassini-Huygens, Europa Clipper, and Parker Solar Probe missions. Powtawche earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Masters’ and Doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Aero-Astronautics from Rice University.

About the Museum of Science Fiction
The nonprofit Museum of Science Fiction will be the world’s first comprehensive science fiction museum, covering the history of the genre across the arts and providing a narrative on its relationship to the real world. The Museum will show how science fiction continually inspires individuals, influences cultures, and impacts societies. Also serving as an educational catalyst to expand interest in the science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) areas, the Museum uses tools such as mobile applications and Wi-Fi-enabled display objects to engage and entertain. For additional information, please visit: www.museumofsciencefiction.org.

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