Episode 202: What’s it Like to be a Civilian Astronaut?

Meet the Expert:  Chris Sembroski, Engineer and  Inspiration 4 Astronaut

Chris Sembroski


Chris “Hanks” Sembroski represented the pillar of Generosity as part of the crew of Inspiration4 by serving as Mission Specialist on a 3-day mission to orbit. He grew up with a natural curiosity about outer space. He could be found stargazing late at night from the roof of his high school and launching high-powered model rockets deep in the Florida swamps in college. As a U.S. Space Camp counselor, he conducted simulated space shuttle missions and supported STEM-based education designed to inspire young minds to explore these areas and find their passions. As a college student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Chris volunteered with ProSpace, a grassroots lobbying effort that promoted legislation in Washington, D.C., to help open up space travel and allow companies like SpaceX to exist. He then served in the U.S. Air Force, maintaining a fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and deploying for service in Iraq before leaving active duty in 2007. In his civilian career, he has sought innovative, industry-disrupting methods to monitor and maintain mechanical equipment, reduce energy consumption, and use data to drive preemptive action making everything from data centers, to hospitals, to aerospace manufacturing facilities more efficient.

Chris now works as an Avionics Testing Engineer for Blue Origin’s New Glenn program. This reusable rocket stands over 310 feet (95 meters) tall, making it nearly the size of the Apollo program’s Saturn V vehicle. He resides outside Seattle, WA, with his wife, and two young daughters.

Inspiration 4 patch

Learn More about Inspiration 4 HERE –> https://inspiration4.com/




CHALLENGE:  For the challenge, how about encouraging the audience to send a postcard to space? Go to https://clubforfuture.org/postcards/ to learn more about the program, and to learn more about how Club for the Future is “inspiring future generations to pursue careers in STEM and helping invent the future of life in space.”

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Space Care book


Highlighted Book for this episode! 


Space Care: A Kid’s Guide to Surviving Space by Jennifer Swanson (Mayo Clinic Kids Press)







Book List to Learn More: 

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact  by Jennifer Swanson

Space Exploration for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Astronauts, Rockets, and Life in Zero Gravity by Bruce Betts Ph.D.

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin (Author), Marianne Dyson (Author)

You Are the First Kid on Mars by Patrick O’Brien


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