Find out how we’re working toward living and working in space at TC Sessions: Space 2020 – TechCrunch


The idea of people going to live and work in space, outside of the extremely unique case of the International Space Station, has long been the strict domain of science fiction. That’s changing fast, however, with public space agencies, private companies and the scientific community all looking at ways of making it safe for people to live and work in space for longer periods – and broadening accessibility of space to people who don’t necessarily have the training and discipline of dedicated astronauts.

At TC Sessions: Space on December 16 & 17, we’ll be talking to some of the people who want to make living and working in space a reality, and who are paving the way for the future of both commercial and scientific human space activity. Those efforts range from designing the systems people will need for staying safe and comfortable on long spaceflights, to ideating and developing the technologies needed for long-term stays on the surface of worlds that are far less hospitable to life than Earth, like the Moon and Mars.

We’re thrilled to have Janet Kavandi from Sierra Nevada Corporation, Melodie Yashar from SEArch+, Nujoud Mercy from NASA and Axiom’s Amir Blachman joining us at TC Sessions: Space on December 16 &17 to chat about the future of human space exploration and commercial activity.

Janet Kavandi is Executive Vice President of Space Systems at the Sierra Nevada Corporation. She was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1994 as a member of the fifteenth class of U.S. astronauts. She completed three space flights in which she supported space station payload integration, capsule communications and robotics. She went on to serve as director of flight crew operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and then as director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center, where she directed cutting-edge research on aerospace and aeronautical propulsion, power and communication technologies. She retired from NASA in 2019 after 25 years of service.

More panels from TC Sessions: Space

Melodie Yashar is a design architect, technologist, and researcher. She is co-founder of Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch+), a group developing human-supporting concepts for space exploration. SEArch+ won top prize in both of NASA’s design solicitations for a Mars habitat within the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The success of the team’s work in NASA’s Centennial Challenge led to consultancy roles and collaborations with UTAS/Collins Aerospace, NASA Langley, ICON, NASA Marshall, and others.

Nujoud Merancy is a systems engineer with extensive background in human spaceflight and spacecraft at NASA Johnson Space Center. She is currently the Chief of the Exploration Mission Planning Office responsible for the team of engineers and analysts designing, developing, and integrating NASA’s human spaceflight portfolio beyond low earth orbit. These missions include planning for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Gateway, and Human Landing System.

Amir Blachman is Chief Business Officer at Axiom, a pioneering company in the realm of commercializing space and building the first generation of private commercial space stations. He spent most of his career investing in and leading early stage companies. Before joining Axiom as the company’s first employee, he managed a syndicate of 120 space investors in 11 countries. Through this syndicate, he funded lunar landers, communication networks, Earth imaging satellites, antennae and exploration technologies.

In order to hear from these experts, you’ll need to pick up your ticket to TC Sessions: Space, which will also include video on demand for all sessions, which means you won’t have to miss a minute of expert insight, tips and trend spotting from the top founders, investors, technologists, government officials and military minds across public, private and defense sectors. There are even discounts for groups, students and military/government officials.

You’ll find panel discussions, interviews, fireside chats and interactive Q&As on a range of topics: mineral exploration, global mapping of the Earth from space, deep tech software, defense capabilities, 3D-printed rockets and the future of agriculture and food technology. Don’t miss the breakout sessions dedicated to accessing grant money. Explore the event agenda now and get a jump on organizing your schedule.