Skip to main content
Space Day 2023 graphic with astronaut

Eberly College of Science partners for Space Day celebration at Whitaker Center

For space enthusiasts of all ages, the event will feature hands-on activities, exhibits, and science talks including keynotes by NASA astronaut Bob Hines at nonprofit science and arts center
11 October 2023

The Penn State Eberly College of Science is thrilled to announce its partnership in the highly anticipated Space Day event “Space & Entrepreneurship” at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to be held Saturday, Oct. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event will feature captivating presentations by locally known NASA astronaut Bob Hines, the documentary premiere of “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit,” a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and talks presented by the Eberly College of Science, and opportunities for exploration in Whitaker Center’s newest exhibit, “Space: An Out of Gravity Experience.”

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the public to learn about space and to meet someone who’s actually been there,” said Teresa Diehl, associate dean for administration at the Eberly College of Science. “Our college’s Office of Science Outreach and Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics — which has its own decades-long tradition of doing science outreach — are perfect partners to help bring the far-out science of the universe ‘down to Earth’ for space buffs of all ages.”

Space & Entrepreneurship Day at Whitaker Center, supported by presenting sponsor TE Connectivity and educational partner the Penn State Eberly College of Science, promises to be an engaging and exciting event for space enthusiasts, students, families, and anyone fascinated by the mysteries of the cosmos. The day’s schedule will include a variety of activities and educational opportunities, including the following:

  • Keynote presentations by NASA astronaut Bob Hines: Hines will share his remarkable journey from aspiring astronaut to his spaceflight experiences and his current role as an active NASA astronaut. Hines recently returned from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, where he served as flight engineer of Expedition 67 and 68 aboard the International Space Station. Hines logged a total of 170 days in space during the mission. His talk will provide insights into life in space, the challenges faced by astronauts, and the future of human space exploration.
  • Meet-and-greet with NASA astronaut Bob Hines: Attendees will have the exclusive opportunity to meet Hines, ask questions, and get autographs. (Spots are limited to 50 individuals.)
  • “Space: An-Out-Of-Gravity Experience” exhibit: Developed in partnership with the International Space Station Office of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, this 10,000-square-foot space exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to experience traveling to, living, and working in space. Visitors will be immersed in the challenges that face astronauts and the engineers and scientists who make their journeys possible.  
  • Space activities: Kids can participate in space-themed crafts, educational games, and interactive learning experiences tailored to their age groups throughout the Harsco Science Center. The Eberly College of Science outreach team will facilitate hands-on activities and demonstrations on electromagnetic waves in space, designing your own comets and meteors, exploding supernovas, black holes, and colored flames and gases.
  • Presentations by Darren Williams: Williams, an Eberly College of Science alumnus and professor of astronomy and astrophysics and physics at Penn State Behrend, will present about the James Webb Space Telescope discoveries and understanding gravity and spaceflight.
  • Premiere viewing of the documentary “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” in the Select Medical Digital Cinema.
  • Satellite model and rocket display: View a model of the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, a satellite in space for which Penn State runs mission operations, as well as pieces of rockets that have flown to space.
  • PNC Innovation Zone: The purposeful gaming studio will be open with space-themed gaming.

“We are honored to host Space Day at Whitaker Center and have the privilege of welcoming NASA Astronaut Bob Hines as our keynote speaker,” said Heather Woodbridge, vice president of operations at Whitaker Center. “This event offers a unique chance for the community to immerse themselves in the wonders of space, gain valuable insights into the world of astronautics, and connect with a real-life astronaut in a fun and awe-inspiring way.”

Space Day and the “Space: An-Out-of-Gravity Experience” exhibit, open until Dec. 31, 2023, are supported by presenting sponsor TE Connectivity.

For more information about Space Day and the exhibit, please visit Whitaker Center's website. Early registration is encouraged for Space Day. 

About Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is a nonprofit center for the arts, education, entertainment, and cultural enrichment located in the heart of Harrisburg’s vibrant downtown. Whitaker Center is home to the PNC Innovation Zone, Sunoco Performance Theater, Harsco Science Center, STEM Design Studios, and Select Medical Digital Cinema. Visit for a full list of events, shows, hours of operation, and ticket rates.