Watch this space for information on our upcoming Roger That! VI, to be held on February 18th and 19th, 2022!

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

"There's enough space for everyone!"

Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th, 2021

Roger That! V(irtual) was a wonderful success thanks to our audience and speakers!

Registration is now closed. Check back here for information on the 2022 event and learn about Roger That! 2021 below. 

Chaffee in VR goggles reaches for the Moon

The V is for Virtual

For our fifth annual Roger That! (Roman numeral V, get it?) we decided to use the need to distance socially as an opportunity to present a truly memorable lineup of speakers. While we won't be having separate breakout sessions in 2021, we will offer a tremendous assortment of speakers from different disciplines and perspectives, including meteor scientists, engineers, artists, experts on virtual reality, physicists, space collection curators,  an astronaut, and a one-of-a-kind live presentation of the 1925 German film "Our Heavenly Bodies" accompanied by the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Wurlitzer Organ. Our virtuous presenters will create an alternate reality online - one that we hope will more than make up for our inability to meet in person. 


Our Friday evening speaker is Dr. Leroy Chiao, chemical engineer and NASA astronaut. Dr. Chiao participated in three Space Shuttle missions (STS-65, STS-72, and STS-92) and one Soyuz TMA-5 mission, and was the Commander of Expedition 10 on the International Space Station. 


On Friday evening at 6pm EST, Leroy Chiao will give a Zoom presentation (streaming to social media - details TBA) called "Succeed Like an Astronaut: An Astronauts' Path to the Stars". Dr. Chiao will discuss the challenges he faced throughout his life to accomplish his dream of becoming an astronaut. He will recount details of his various missions, his multiple spacewalks, and what life was like as a Commander of the International Space Shuttle. 

Leroy Chiao's official NASA portrait

Art & Visual Effects Panel

Di Fate, Miller, Skotak, Sternbach

Since Roger That! is going virtual this year, we thought we'd invite some masters of the virtual - special effects wizards and space artists whose work creates the virtual realities we see on our screens, in books, and framed in our homes. Our line-up includes Vincent Di Fate, Ron Miller, Robert Skotak and Rick Sternbach, luminaries whose various achievements include Oscar- and Emmy-winning visual effects, Hugo-winning imagery, and a plethora of other prizes. This panel, which will be broadcast live on Zoom  at 3pm EST on Saturday, February 20th (and streamed to social media, details TBA), is a one-of-a-kind experience in virtual virtuosity!

Friday Presentations

Meenakshi Wadhwa

Friday 1pm EST Meenakshi Wadhwa, Planetary Scientist, Arizona State University

Margaret Weitekamp

Friday 2pm EST -  Margaret Weitekamp, Curator and Department Chair, Dept. of Space History, Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum



Dr. Marc Rayman

Friday 3pm EST -  Marc Rayman, Chief Engineer for Mission Operations and Science,  JPL

Orphans in Space DVD

Friday 4pm EST - Orphans in Space Panel

Astronaut Leroy Chiao

Friday 6pm EST – Leroy Chiao, Retired Astronaut

Still image from movie "Our Heavenly Bodies"

Friday 7:30pm EST – 1925 silent movie "Our Heavenly Bodies" with live Wurlitzer accompaniment

Saturday Presentations

Professors Damjanov and Crouch

Saturday 10 a.m. EST – Researchers Katarina Damjanov and David Crouch, University of Western Australia

Br. Robert J. Macke, SJ

Saturday 11 a.m. EST – Robert J. Macke, S.J., Curator of the Vatican Observatory Meteorite Collection

Dr. Brent Bos

Saturday 12pm EST – Brent Bos, Senior Research Physicist, NASA Goddard Flight Center

Stephen Kroese

Saturday 2pm EST – Steven Kroese, Flight Software Engineer, JPL

Roger That VR Logo

Image from silent film of rocket hitting the moon

Saturday 3pm EST – Special Effects Panel - Vincent Di Fate, Ron Miller, Robert Skotak, and Rick Sternbach.

Roger That!



<<<<  Learn more about Roger That! from our video!

Fun Facts:

Roger That! 2021 is our fifth event, and the first time we've taken a virtual approach.

Roger That! takes place immediately following the February 18th landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars!

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 14 and Apollo 15th. All of the members of Apollo 15's crew, Al Worden, Dave Scott and Jim Irwin, were alumni of the University of Michigan. Worden was actually born in Jackson, Michigan and spent many years living in Grand Rapids.

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! V(irtual) is a series of Zoom presentations taking place online on both Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th. Speakers from a number of different fields will present, in science- and society-based talks and panels.

Museum Celebration

Date: Saturday, February 20th, 2021
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 (whether online only or as hybrid of online and in-person, TBA). 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.