LaunchPad Talks

Newest and Most Exciting Ideas

LaunchPad Talks Location

Malibu

Session Date and Time
Saturday, May 25 @ 10 am - 12 noon

Not all space-related topics demand a full hour to explain, and some emerging ideas at the ISDC are simply so new and unique that they have not yet been fully explored and developed. The Launch Pad Talks are home to some of the newest and most exciting ideas in space exploration, development, and settlement, by some of the newest voices in the field. Drop in for one or stay for a dozen—the Launch Pad Talks contain some of the most exciting new ideas you will hear this year!

LaunchPad Talks  Session Chair Info

Director of Medical Research Orbital Assembly Corporation

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a physician, aquanaut, scientist-astronaut candidate with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies, and Director of IIAS’ Space Medicine Group. Dr. Pandya was on the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity in 2015. She earned her aquanaut designation on the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission, and completed a second aquanaut mission, NEP2NE. She served as Payload Crew and co-PI of the 2023 IIAS-01 suborbital research flight, as well as a PI and/or co-I for Ax-2, Polaris Dawn and Blue Origin payloads. Her publications include a paper on medical guidelines for commercial suborbital spaceflight, and book chapters on space technologies that have benefitted terrestrial medicine, psychological resilience in long-duration spaceflight, reproduction and sexuality in long-duration spaceflight, and the future of space medicine. Her work is permanently exhibited at the Ontario Science Center alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space. In 2022, Dr. Pandya was named to the Explorers’ Club’s “50 Explorers Changing the World,” and in 2024, she was nominated to the Women’s Space Awards in the Medicine and Health category. In 2024, she was further inducted as a full member of the International Astronautical Federation’s Human Spaceflight Committee, and became an aeromedical flight physician. Her work has been profiled by Nature and the Royal Canadian Mint.

LaunchPad Talks Presentation Speakers

Student, Member of NSS and AIAA

With experience spanning robotics, IT, sales, consulting, sustainable construction and 28+ LEED design build projects across 3 countries, Andrew built a supremely satisfying career working with teams to deliver affordable, sustainable and efficient built environments. This knowledge lends strength and credibility to his lunar and Martian construction research, emphasizing simplified techniques and delivery. His title of ‘Martian Plumber’ came from his work at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where he volunteered to re-plumb the freshwater system for the entire habitat.

Graduate Student, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Savanna is pursuing an MS in Aviation Degree with a specialization in Space Studies. She obtained a BS in Spaceflight Operations from ERAU in May 2023. Savanna is also a Systems Engineering intern at General Dynamics Mission Systems.

Aerospace Engineer, Planetary Sunshade Foundation
Presentation Title: Planetary Sunshade: Using Space Resources to Help Solve the Climate Crisis

As a space enthusiast and aerospace engineer at Boeing, Damian is actively engaged with the Planetary Sunshade Foundation, contributing to their efforts in promoting the concept of space-based solar radiation management as a means to address climate change.

Author, Space Futurist, Space Tourism Society

Samuel Coniglio is a futurist, technical writer, photographer, inventor, and private space industry advocate. He is a board member and former Vice President of the Space Tourism Society. Since 1996, he has been researching and prototyping off-world domestic concepts to make life easier “for the rest of us” in space. His Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass concept won international acclaim and re-invents how to drink liquids in a microgravity environment. Samuel’s new book, “Creature Comforts in Space,” is a guide for designers to create an enjoyable and sustainable off-world lifestyle for humans onboard the next generation space stations.

Founder and CEO, Reloquence

Megan Eskey has defined the syntax for the first planetary address framework to include a system of roads. Her company, Reloquence, is charting maps with FiOR Innovations as an attempt to lay the groundwork for a new innovation strategy for sustained human presence on the Moon and Mars. She is the first to define a field of study called “space roadbotics,” and has written an executive report that puts her framework into the context of real-world use cases such as traversing caves and canyons on Mars, and the Apollo 15 mission, which included the first manned rover on the Moon.

Graduate Student, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Author

Anna is a master’s degree student in Aeronautical Science with a specialization in space flight operations. She has recently published her first book “Flight Ready: A Manual for Aspiring Flight Attendants.”

Astronaut, Aerospace Engineer, Astro Chuie

Christopher Huie, also known as “Chuie,” is an astronaut and aerospace engineer, currently serving as Sr. Manager of Delta Program Support at Virgin Galactic. His contributions to the nascent commercial human spaceflight industry include six years of leadership in the Flight Sciences External Loads Engineering discipline, supporting both the design and operation of the air-launched Spaceflight System. As a Mission Specialist on Unity 25, he played a key role in Virgin Galactic’s final test flight, paving the way for the first commercial mission, Galactic 01. Christopher is among the first 650 humans to venture into space and the 19th Black astronaut globally.
Before joining Virgin Galactic, Christopher spent over five years at Bell Flight, contributing to various rotorcraft programs as both an External Loads and a Simulation Engineer. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), where he was a scholar in the QUEST Honors Program and the Igor Sikorsky Scholarship Program. In 2022, he was inducted into the inaugural class of UMD’s Clark School of Engineering’s Early Career Distinguished Alumni Society, which recognizes alumni under 40 years old for their leadership, innovation, service, and entrepreneurship.
Christopher’s dedication to mentoring and inspiring students in Science, Engineering, and Aerospace is evident through his involvement in Virgin Galactic’s outreach initiative, Galactic Unite, and his Co-Founder role in the Black Leaders in Aerospace Scholarship & Training (BLAST) Program. A Virgin Unite 2021 “Together We Can: Change” winner, he is actively involved in outreach efforts to improve preparedness and increase opportunities for underrepresented groups in aerospace.

Research Expert & Manager, Center for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics at KU Leuven

Dr. Andrea Lani is a research/team manager at KU Leuven’s Center for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, an AIAA member, a co-author of 100+ scientific papers, and was previously a senior researcher at Von Karman Institute, and postdoc at NASA/Stanford CTR and NATO STO technical member. For 20+ years he has led the development of models/software to simulate hypersonic flows around spacecrafts and space weather as a co-designer of the COOLFluiD and ESA VSWMC platforms. He is the PI of MEESST, a large EU project (10 organizations) developing the first magnetic shielding demonstrator for space re-entry.

Medical Director, Flight Surgeon, Vast & OSMED
Presentation Title: OSMED: A New Approach to Human Spaceflight

Dr. Dana Levin has dedicated his life to supporting human health in space and other extreme environments. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Aerospace Medicine and has more than a decade of experience caring for humans on all 7 continents, beneath the sea, and in space.
He currently serves as the Medical Director and Chief Flight Surgeon for Vast Space. In this role he is part of a team building the first commercial space station and developing artificial gravity systems for long term human habitation of space. Before this he worked for NASA as a Clinical Scientist for the Human Research Program developing methods to assess medical risk for deep space missions and designing the medical systems to mitigate them. He was the clinical lead for NASA’s artificial intelligence clinical decision support task force.
As a terrestrial physician Dana maintains an active clinical practice in Emergency Medicine and holds faculty appointments with UC Irvine, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine. He has cared for patients in every clinical setting from single physician coverage rural hospitals in Wyoming to tertiary care medical centers in some of the largest US cities. He has been the field physician for high altitude expeditions, underwater archeological expeditions, research stations in Antarctica, and every environment in between.
He is also an accomplished researcher and scientist with work focused on enhancing the ability to deliver high level care in resource limited environments and developing artificial gravity systems.

Graduate Student, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Spoorti is a first-year graduate student in M.S. Systems Engineering, having completed a BS in Spaceflight Operations in December of 2023.

Architect, DesignArt
Presentation Title: Advancing Modular Underground Architecture for Lunar Habitation

Ayse Oren is an architect, designer, and sculptor with expertise in electronics and design, emphasizing the integration of human life into her projects. She advocates for the fusion of underground architecture and culture with modularity to potentially establish standardization in space architecture. Inspired by historical cave architecture, she applies these principles to future space habitation with a unified and academic approach.

Associate Professor, Space Operations, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Presentation Title: The Application of Current and Future Underwater Habitats as Analogs for Commercial Astronaut Training

Erik Seedhouse is a professor in Spaceflight Operations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He holds pilot, scuba, and sky-diving licenses and works as an astronaut instructor for Project PoSSUM, an instructor for the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences, a consultant to Hollywood, a professional speaker, triathlon coach, author and science advisor to Proteus Ocean Group. He has written over thirty books.

Co-Founder and Board Chair (Propagule), Mathematical Biology Instructor (UCLA), Propagule Space Ecology Institute and UCLA
Presentation Title: How to Build a Biosphere

Jane Shevtsov is a systems ecologist, a NIAC fellow, and co-founder of the Propagule Space Ecology Institute. She earned a PhD from the University of Georgia in 2012, focusing on the analysis of ecological networks. She then helped develop a groundbreaking mathematical biology curriculum at UCLA, where she teaches, and co-authored the textbook Modeling Life. In 2021, she led a NIAC-funded project on the use of fungi to make soil for space habitats. In 2023, she co-founded the Propagule Space Ecology Institute to carry out R&D on bioregenerative life support and apply ecological principles to their design.


Other Sessions at ISDC 2025

Preserving Aerospace Heritage
Infrastructure is the Backbone of Civilization
Space Ventures Stride Toward Lucrative Horizons
Newest and Most Exciting Ideas
Growing Life Beyond Earth: Innovating for Sustainable Space Habitats
...Some More Traveled Than Others
A Martian Renaissance is at Hand
How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?
Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense
Learn More About the History of Tomorrow
Educating and Enlightening People
Exciting Technology that will Revolutionize Access to Space
Global Collaboration for Outer Space
Medical Capabilities to Travel Into Deep Space
Who Owns the Vast Riches of Space?
Making Humanity a Space Faring Species
Core Interest of the NSS Since the 1970s
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