You can now attend a full lineup of live astronaut talks and “meet and greet” opportunities — all without having to leave your home.
“The Virtual Astronaut,” from uniphi space agency, founders of National Astronaut Day, is a new ticketed live event series offering unique takes on what it is like to leave Earth and live and work in space.
“Each individual event discussion is selected by and personally crafted by astronauts, and will cover a wide range of topics including significant space exploration milestones, mainstream culture celebrations and trends, STEM and STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering — Art — and Mathematics] education topics and individual astronaut memories and experiences from space, all with an ‘up close and personal’ astronaut perspective,” uniphi space agency said in a statement released on Wednesday (Sept. 9).
Access to each live talk costs $20, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a charity of the astronaut’s choice. Attendees can also choose to add on a “Astronaut Meet ‘N’ Greet” package for an additional $75, which includes one-on-one time with the astronaut through a virtual venue and a personalized, autographed photo keepsake. Group rates are available for schools and charitable organizations.
The Virtual Astronaut is set to launch with space shuttle and space station veteran Clayton “AstroClay” Anderson celebrating the release of his new children’s book, “Letters from Space” at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Sept. 15. Like the book, the talk will be filled with “weird science, wild facts and outrageous true stories from life in space.” Ticket sales will benefit, in part, Reading Is Fundamental.
Additional scheduled Virtual Astronaut events include:
- The story of “Too Tall” and “Too Small” by astronaut Wendy Lawrence at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Sept. 25. In benefit of Higher Orbits.
- An astronaut’s guide to coaching at 17,500 miles per hour by Steve Smith at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Oct. 6, National Coaches Day. In benefit of Positive Coaching Alliance.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion as the building blocks of the U.S. space program by Danny Olivas and additional guests to be announced at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Oct. 14. In benefit of El Paso Matters.
- Building the International Space Station with Pam Melroy at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) on Oct. 24, the 20th anniversary of her landing as pilot of the STS-92 space shuttle mission. In benefit of the Association of Space Explorers.
- Spooky space stories and astronaut costumes with Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Oct. 27. In benefit of the Challenger Learning Center.
- 20 years of a continuous human occupancy on the International Space Station, a special panel with former ISS residents spanning the two decades of humans in space, at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Oct. 30, the last day there were no people off the planet. Presented in partnership with collectSPACE.com.
- Voting from space with Leroy Chiao, the first American astronaut to vote in a presidential election from orbit, at 7 p.m. EST (0000 GMT Nov. 3) on Nov. 2. In benefit of the Houston Association for Space and Science Education (HASSE).
More Virtual Astronaut events are planned with Greg Chamitoff, Frank Culbertson, Jack Fischer, Susan Helms, Greg H. Johnson, Mark Polansky, Garrett Reisman and Steve Swanson.
To celebrate the series’ launch, a special Spotify music playlist, “Astronaut Space Jams: Soundtrack of Space,” was created featuring songs chosen personally by the astronauts, plus other space-inspired favorites. Each track recalls a specific memory, evokes an emotion or directly reflects a personal astronaut moment in time and space.
The playlist and more details about The Virtual Astronaut series, including the opportunity to reserve your space, can now be found at TheVirtualAstronaut.com.