Melbourne
23rd September 2017

An Evening of Astronaut Stories

Join us in Melbourne on the 23rd September 2017 for an evening of astronaut stories. We invite you to hear their stories of their time in space and ask your questions to our astronaut panel. Discussion will be mediated by an Australian voice.

An Evening of Astronaut Stories will be presented in partnership with the Scienceworks ‘AstroLight Festival’. The evening will be filled with an abundance of hands on cosmos activities, Planetarium and Lightning Room shows and talks by inspiring individuals for all ages. The Planetarium and Lightning Room will be available at an additional cost.

Ticket prices include general entry to the AstroLight Festival and An Evening of Astronaut Stories.

To purchase tickets and find out more about the Astro Light Festival, click register. We look forward to welcoming you to AstroLight Festival


Venue: Scienceworks
Date: 23rd September 2017
Time: 5:30pm - 11:00pm

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Venue: Scienceworks
Date: 20th September 2017
Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm

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STEM Workshop

Involving presentations and workshops, we are hoping to inspire a group of Years 8 – 10 students into STEM fields. Students across Melbourne will be brought in to engage with astronaut(s) and local Melbourne role models. They will listen to our presenters' stories of space and STEM in Australia. This will follow with a series of hands-on workshops with the astronauts and STEM role models.

Within the schools the goal is to have a broad range of students in attendance. By bringing in a diverse group, the aim is to provide opportunities and to make distinct impacts: to inspire and motivate students who were not previously interested in STEM or did not see a future in it for themselves.

To enquire about getting your school involved, please contact us using the link.

Astronauts & Speakers

Tony Antonelli

Tony was selected as a pilot by NASA in 2000, and has spent a total of 24 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 35 seconds in space.

Tony is a veteran of two space flights. His first mission was as the pilot of STS-119 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in March 2009, which delivered the final solar array wings to the International Space Station (ISS). Tony’s second flight was as pilot of STS-132 Atlantis in May 2010, which delivered a Russian Mini-Research module to the ISS. The STS-132 mission was completed in 186 orbits, travelling 7,853,563 km in 11 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds.

While serving at NASA, Tony’s leadership roles within the Astronaut Office included the Space Launch System, Commercial Crew, Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), and Space Shuttle Propulsion.


Dumitru Prunariu

Dumitru Prunariu was elected for spaceflight training in 1978 as a part of the Intercosmos Program. Having obtained the highest marks during three years of preparation, he was then selected for a joint space flight with the Russian cosmonaut Leonid Popov. In May 1981 they completed an eight-day space mission on board Soyuz 40 and the Salyut 6 space laboratory where they completed scientific experiments in the fields of astrophysics, space radiation, space technology, space medicine and biology.

Since 1978 Prunariu was an active officer of the Romanian Air Force. For different periods of time Prunariu was detached within other ministries to perform civil functions. In 2007 he completely retired from the Air Force with the military rank of major general, continuing his professional activity as a civil servant. At the end of 2015, by a decree of the President of Romania, Prunariu received the 3rd star, becoming a lieutenant-general (ret.).

In 1985 Prunariu joined, as one of the founding members, the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) which (as of 2015) has over 400 members flown into outer space from 36 countries. In October 2010, at the XXIII Congress of the ASE, D. Prunariu was elected the President of the new organized Chapter of the association, ASE Europe, holding this position for 6 years. At the XXIV Congress of ASE, in September 2011 D. Prunariu was elected for a three years term the President of ASE International.


Daniel Edgington-Mitchell (Moderator)

Daniel Edgington-Mitchell received his undergraduate degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Monash University in 2005. During his PhD, he undertook graduate research in the High Temperature Gas Dynamics Laboratory at Stanford University under the auspices of a Fulbright Fellowship between 2008-2009. He was awarded his PhD from Monash University in 2013. He now works as a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Monash University, and as a researcher in the Laboratory for Turbulence Research in Aerospace and Combustion. Daniel is a strong advocate for equity in STEM, being a member of Women in Aerospace and Aviation Australia, Women in Aerospace International, and the Australasian Fluid Mechanics Societyís subcommittee on Women in Fluids. Daniel is also involved in a range of STEM outreach, particularly through his involvement with the Monash Year 8 Challenge, where he has managed the Mechanical & Aerospace component for the past three years.


Dr Katherine Mack (STEM Panellist)

Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Melbourne. Throughout her career as a researcher at Caltech, Princeton, Cambridge, and now Melbourne University, she has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe.

Katie is also an active science communicator and is passionate about science outreach. As a science writer, she has been published by Slate, Sky & Telescope, Scientific American, and other popular publications, and has been a columnist for Cosmos Magazine.


Dr Sarah Wittig (STEM Panellist)

Dr Sarah Wittig is an applied Physicist, currently working at ESA as an expert in opto-electronics, specializing in detectors. Her background is in experimental physics, with a focus on quantum optics. Sarah completed her PhD at the Australian National University in 2012 and a postdoctoral position at the University of Munich, before moving to ESA in the Netherlands.

Sarah has been selected as an Emerging Space Leader for the IAC, and is optimistic that this will lead to increased participation in international space activities for Australia.


Dr Gail Iles (STEM Panellist)

Dr Gail Iles is a Physics Lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, after recently leaving the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), where she was an instrument scientist for backscattering spectrometers. Gail completed her PhD in condensed physics at the University of Leicester before becoming an ESA Astronaut Instructure, a position which saw her complete over 500 parabolas in the Zero-G aircraft. Gail regularly engages in public presentations to communicate scientific results to a broader audience.


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