Talking with astronauts aboard the International Space Station about teamwork and more

Talking with astronauts aboard the International Space Station about teamwork and more

Yesterday, I traveled to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to attend the Space Bowl.

What is the Space Bowl, you ask? Houston is rolling out the red carpet for Super Bowl LI on Sunday. In honor of the occasion, NASA combined football and space into Space Bowl for a very cool #NASASocial event. Attendees got a behind the scenes look at the central hub of human space exploration.

I was ridiculously lucky to be selected, and it was amazing. One of the highlights was getting to talk with astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough who are aboard the International Space Station (ISS). They covered a wide range of topics, from what life aboard the ISS is like to their favorite sight on Earth to see from above to which team they are picking to win the Super Bowl.

I got to ask them a question (you can find me right around the 5:10 mark) and opted to ask them about how important teamwork is to space travel.

I loved that Whitson talked about how teamwork applies to a variety of relationships and all different kinds of groups.

I can’t believe that I got to talk to people who are IN SPACE. I can now cross off my bucket list “chat with people who are orbiting the Earth at more than 17,000 mile per hour.”

The ISS will circle the Earth twice during Super Bowl LI, which should last around three hours. The longest EVA, which stands for extravehicular activity and is commonly known as a spacewalk, lasted almost 9 hours.

Wondering how they had both Patriots and Falcons jerseys for the teams playing on Sunday? They sent up all 32 team jerseys via the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft so they were covered for any match up.

There’s more of a connection between space exploration and football than you may think. Tensile fabrics used in jerseys come from space suit technology. That same technology also inspired the idea of heat absorbent sportswear.

The anti-UV, anti-glare, anti-scratch visors designed for space suits are used in football helmet visors. And the uniforms for astronauts and football players have some similarities, too.


There’s also a large amount of training to be physically and mentally tough enough to excel, whether that’s as a football player on the field or as an astronaut in space.

When you’re watching the game on Sunday here on Earth, think of the crew of the ISS watching from approximately 240 miles above the planet.

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