Written by Alemiye Mamo on .

‘CHASING SPACE’ PUBLIC LECTURE was presented by former NASA Astronaut

On 07 August 2017, the public lecture titled ‘Chasing Space’ was presented by  Melvin a former NASA Astronaut, at Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The public lecture was jointly organized by Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and US Embassy in Addis Ababa. More than 600 audiences (primary, High school and university Students, teachers, and the public) were able to get a chance to attend Leland’s lecture and meet him in person.

Leland shared his space journey, challenges and success that he encountered in his life. He inspired and encouraged young students to ‘Work hard and reach to the stars’ and he stressed the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) that shapes the world and arouse curiosity in space exploration. He mentioned about the importance of space exploration and its benefit and he said that ‘once we stop exploring, our civilization will falter. That is why it is important that you work hard and study hard’.

Leland was first see Ethiopia while he was aboard in International Space station orbiting the Earth and he was so thrilled to visit the country in person. At the end of his visit he said, "The dedication and enthusiasm I encountered with every Ethiopian I shook hands with during my visit to beautiful Ethiopia is unbelievable and is something I will keep forever in my heart! And I'll be back!"

In the meeting arranged by US embassy for ESSTI staff’s with Leland, Dr. Solomon Belay, ESSTI General director, briefed Leland about the overall status of ESSTI and the key priority issue that ESSTI is focused and working on. Dr. Solomon further requested Leland to be messenger for witnessing Ethiopian Space Science development and   looking for scientific collaboration among US Space Science Educational Institutes including NASA so as to strength the already started Space development of Ethiopia via ESSTI. Mr. Alemiye Mamo, East Africa ROAD A/Director, had also a chance to discuss with Leland about further collaboration and public outreach engagements not only in Ethiopia but also in East Africa region and Leland was very happy to collaborate and work with ESSTI and EAf-ROAD.

Leland Melvin is a former NASA astronaut, who served as a mission specialist for two flights aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. After hanging up his space boots, he was appointed the head of NASA Education, and served as the co-chair of the White House’s Federal Coordination in STEM Education Task Force. Melvin was also the U.S. representative and chair of the International Space Education Board, a global collaboration on learning about space. Additionally, Melvin is the only professional football player to ever travel to space.  He uses his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue STEAM careers.