A Celebration of Space Exploration in Honor of Roger B. Chaffee

Roger That! logo featuring a cartoon image of Roger B. Chaffee

Roger That! 2024 is Completed

Please watch this space for information about Roger That! 2025, February 14th and 15th, 2025

Playlist of 2024 Conference Presentations

"There's enough space for everyone!"

Roger That 2024 will take place on Friday, February 16th and Saturday, February 17th.


Roger That! 2024's GVSU events will take place at GVSU's Seidman College of Business on 50 Front Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Saturday events will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Ad Astra Ubi Spatium Pro Omnibus! 

Dr. Robert Satcher is a prominent orthopedic surgeon, chemical engineer, and former NASA astronaut. After graduating from MIT and Harvard Medical School, where he excelled in chemical engineering and medicine, Dr. Satcher joined NASA, then made history in 2009 as the first orthopedic surgeon in space. A mission specialist for NASA’s STS-129 mission to the International Space Station, he performed two space walks. Upon retiring from NASA, Dr. Satcher focused on surgical oncology, signing on as faculty at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he specializes in treating skeletal metastatic disease and soft tissue sarcoma. Dr. Satcher is actively involved in various professional organizations and community initiatives.

Astronaut Robert Satcher

STS-129 Mission Specialist, Dr. Robert Satcher

STS-129 Mission Patch

Life in Space

Roger That! 2024 is focusing on Life in Space! Wait, does that mean living things on other celestial bodies, missions to find microbes, or considerations about where else in our solar system could life be present? Or are we talking about life in space, like what is it like to be a human in space? The answer is yes! We are taking a look at "life" very broadly, including microbes, plants, animals, extraterrestrial life and homo sapiens, the only life form (that we know of!) that has intentionally left the Earth to explore what lies beyond. 

Roger That VIII will start on Friday, February 16th with a variety of online speakers then transition to in-person events later in the day. There will be events at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Saturday, February 17th. 

Our confirmed guest list includes: Botanist and molecular biologist Mark Staves, scientist and STEM communicator Niamh Shaw, Europa Clipper Technical Lead Debarati Chattopadhyay, GVSU Herbarium director and analog astronaut Tim Evans, aerospace physiologist and cardiologist George Pantalos, and Starpath co-founder Mihir Gondhalekar. Learn more here!

Roger That 2024 Poster

Roger That!

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Roger That! Conference

Roger B. Chaffee was born February 15, 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and went on to become one of the city’s favorite sons. An engineer, pilot and astronaut, Chaffee lost his life in the Apollo 1 accident on January 27, 1967. This event, scholarly in nature and open to the general public, is co-organized by Grand Valley State University, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund. Roger That! seeks to honor Chaffee and highlight local research in a two-day celebration of space exploration.

Roger That! 2024 is a series of Zoom and in-person presentations (exact format TBA) taking place on both Friday, February 16th and Saturday, February 17th. Speakers from a number of different fields will present, in science- and society-based talks and panels.

Museum Celebration

Date: Saturday, February 17th, 2024
Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum

The GRPM will continue the celebration of space exploration and the life of Roger B. Chaffee through exciting and educational exhibitions and activities taking place throughout the day. Learn more here. 

Presented by Grand Valley State University in association with the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium.

The Roger That! conference is funded in part by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

Page last modified February 20, 2024