Air Force Academy Hosts Audience With An Astronaut

October 13, 2015 – More than 350 students from the Colorado Springs area attended Audience with an Astronaut at the Air Force Academy on October 7. The event featured Dr. Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut and International Space Station commander who serves as the Space Foundation’s Special Advisor – Human Spaceflight.

Audience with an Astronaut is an annual event hosted by the Academy’s Astronautics Department and the Space Foundation to celebrate World Space Week, an international celebration of science and technology. The UN General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year October 4-10.

“This event is about inspiring wonder and igniting curiosity in the minds of future scientists, engineers and space explorers,” said Capt. Grant Thomas, an instructor in the Academy’s Astronautics Department.

For Thomas, the best part of the event was watching the expressions of the children.

“In one day, students get to talk to a real astronaut, meet their cadet heroes, and see the magic of chemistry, physics and technology all demonstrated right in front of them,” Thomas said. “By the time they leave, they all have huge smiles.”

Lt. Col. Mark Reimann, the associate dean in the Office of Research, said STEM events are an important part of the Academy’s outreach program.

“Events like Audience with an Astronaut are crucial to exposing as many students to science as possible,” he said. “With this engagement, we are hoping to inspire future scientists and engineers.”

Audience with an Astronaut participants are selected through a liaison program between the Space Foundation and local teachers.

To become a teacher-liaison officer, visit: