Astronauts are a key player when it comes to sharing knowledge about space, science, and technology. To better engage the public in these topics, the European Space Agency Education department commissioned Design & Data to organize and manage livestream Q&As with two astronauts on board the ISS, namely Matthias Maurer and Samantha Cristoforetti. This brough its share of challenges beyond creating a livestream and making it accessible by an international audience. Design & Data would need to manage the event across three different countries and would have to ensure everything ran smoothly for the short 20-miunte window that the astronauts would be available.
To tackle these challenges, Design & Data used easily accessible video tools to provide simple access and connection to the livestream for the moderators and important guests, which included representatives of the German and French governments. In the lead up to the event, a full technical infrastructure was developed to carefully monitor the quality of the livestream and maximize the time with the astronaut once the ISS connected. This included a detailed onboarding process, playing videos during the livestream, cutting back and forth from live speakers, streaming intros and outros, and providing additional video content about the astronauts and their careers where necessary, developing a well-rounded educational event.
The livestreams were made accessible to the public through YouTube and the ESA Livestream Events page. Through these Q&As, students and young professionals were able to interact and ask questions with the astronauts and get firsthand insight into what the astronauts do, how they conduct experiments, and how life in microgravity differs from life on Earth.
With the technical infrastructure connecting the astronauts to six different countries (Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Italy), Design & Data and ESA provided a unique opportunity further promoting space education.