Former NASA Astronaut and Air Force Colonel Cady Coleman is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions and a six-month expedition on the International Space Station (ISS). A chemist with a doctorate in polymer science and engineering, Coleman is a pioneer in the research of materials science, biotechnology, combustion science, and fluid physics.
Onstage, Coleman draws from her time in NASA and her missions on the ISS to discuss teambuilding, leadership, and innovation. With her extraordinary photos and videos, Coleman delivers a captivating account of life in space and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and collaboration. A consultant for space related work, including microgravity research, Dr. Coleman is a vocal advocate for STEM and STEAM-related ambitions. She is passionate about sharing her experiences aboard the ISS and even delivered the introductory talk for TED 2011 and the commencement address for UMASS Amherst from space.
With 180 days in space accumulated during three missions, Dr. Coleman acted as the Lead Robotics and Lead Science officer aboard the ISS, performing the second-ever robotic capture of a supply ship from the station. In her spare time, she coached actress Sandra Bullock from the ISS in preparation for Bullock’s astronaut role in the movie Gravity.
On the ground at NASA, Coleman served in a variety of roles, including Chief of Robotics, lead for tile repair efforts after the Columbia accident, and lead astronaut for integration of supply ships from NASA’s commercial partners Space X, Orbital ATK, and Northrup Grumman. As a volunteer test subject for the centrifuge program at the Armstrong Aeromedical Lab, Dr. Coleman set several human endurance/tolerance records while performing physiological and new equipment studies.
Her work paved the way for commercial spaceflight collaborations that are now commonplace. Before retiring from NASA, she led open-innovation and public-private partnership efforts for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters.
A research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and Global Explorer in Residence at Arizona State University, Coleman is an advisor to Earthrise Media, a company utilizing photographs of earth from space to provide educational tools as well as context and perspective for environmental and social justice issues. She serves on several boards, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Greenfield Community College, Dent the Future, and Skycatch, an innovative A.I. company that uses drones to provide decision-making data.
Coleman earned a BS in chemistry from MIT in 1983 and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts in 1991. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, she was selected as an astronaut in 1992 and flew her first mission in 1995.
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