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About Us


The Advanced SpaceLife Research Institute (ASRI), based in Cape Canaveral, Florida, is a 501c3 non-profit research organization dedicated to the study of human sexuality and reproduction factors as they apply to outer space environments.  ASRI is intended as a focal point for research organizations, space agencies, commercial space companies, space societies, universities, and individual researchers and scientists in the planning, execution and data archival of any and all research related to human sexuality and reproduction in outer space.


Conduct and support research and data analysis of human reproduction, sexual health, and behavioral factors as they apply to outer space environments, and develop viable solutions for mitigation of challenges facing human sexual performance and safe, successful reproduction in those environments.

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John Spencer, MA

President, Space Tourism Society

& Outer Space Architect

Gabrielle Caswell, MBBS

CEO, SpacePort Australia,

Space Medicine Researcher & Physician

James Logan, MD, MS

Former NASA Chief of Flight Medicine

& Chief of Medical Operations,

Johnson Space Center

Olivia Lesslar, MBBS

CEO, Lifespan Medicine Australia

& Psychoneuroimmunologist

Egbert Edelbroek, PhD

CEO, SpaceBorn United Inc.

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Mark Finckle, MBA

Investment & FinancAdvisor

Rick Tumlinson

Founder, Earthlight Foundation,

SpaceFund & New Worlds Institute

Adam Cohen, JD, MS

Legal Counsel

Victoria Hartmann, PhD

Clinical/Forensic Sexologist

& Sex Researcher

Javin Pierce

CEO, ORBITA-Pierce Instruments,

& Biomedical Engineer

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Dr. Alexander Layendecker is the founder and current Director of ASRI.  He is a 2008 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and served seven years as a USAF space operations officer for spacecraft launch and recovery, before transferring to the USAF Reserve as an HH-60G helicopter pilot for Combat Search and Rescue. He completed a Master of Public Health (2013) and PhD in Human Sexuality (2016) from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, where his doctoral research focused on human sexuality and reproduction in off-Earth environments, the history of research in this area, and the research gaps that must be filled in the future in order to make long-term settlement of other worlds a viable possibility. He also holds a Master of Joint Warfare (2024) from the USAF Air University’s Air Command and Staff College, for which his thesis focused on future Space Rescue operations. He has been featured as a guest speaker on a multitude of popular podcasts such as The Space Show, The Space Revolution, and Age of Infinite, as well as at various conferences to include SXSW, ISDC, and New Worlds. His work has been featured in numerous media publications and books to include A City on Mars, The Big Book of Mars, and Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe.


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Dr. Carmen Messerlian is a renowned professor of environmental and reproductive epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. A passionate and curious scientist, innovator, and entrepreneur, her vision is to create a healthier future by improving couples’ preconception fertility wellness worldwide.  At Harvard, Professor Messerlian leads an ambitious program of research and training where she investigates how the natural, built, and social environments affect male and female fertility, pregnancy, and child and adolescent health across the lifecourse. Her engagement of the male partner in supporting women’s health and fertility shifts the reproductive medicine paradigm by empowering men. Her mission is to promote the health and wellbeing of couples to improve pregnancy and child health outcomes.  Dr. Messerlian is a NIH-funded scholar, writer, and public health thought-leader. She serves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board and is engaged in policy action on state and national levels to curtail exposure to toxic chemicals that impact fertility, pregnancy and child health. Author of more than 95 scientific papers, book chapters, and commentaries, she teaches and mentors graduate and postgraduate students at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She holds a BS in nursing and PhD in epidemiology from McGill University, as well as a MS in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. After training as a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at Harvard for 5 years, Dr. Messerlian joined the faculty where she has appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at Harvard Chan and in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University where she continues to serve her alma mater.

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Dr. Shawna Pandya is a globally-renowned astronaut, physician, scientist, aquanaut, and speaker. She is the Director of the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) Space Medicine Group, and was selected as IIAS Astronaut 002 in June 2024. She is a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta, emergency and primary care physician, subject matter expert in space medicine, and analog and extreme environment researcher. She has co-authored a book chapter on sexuality and reproduction in long-duration spaceflight with Dr. Layendecker, and has served as a keynote speaker on the topic for media, podcasts and conferences.  She has served as the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator for numerous space-based biomedical and physical sciences experiments for Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Polaris Dawn, Axiom, Blue Origin, the International Space Station, and the Jules Undersea Lodge underwater habitat.  Her additional publications include a paper on medical guidelines for commercial suborbital spaceflight, and book chapters on space technologies that have benefited terrestrial medicine and psychological resilience in long-duration spaceflight. She has presented her work at the International Astronautical Congress, the NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, the Aerospace Medical Association Conference, the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers’ Conference, the International Space Development Conference, the World Extreme Medicine Conference, among others.  In 2019, her career and trajectory were captured at the Ontario Science Center’s “Canadian Women in Space” exhibit, where Dr. Pandya is permanently exhibited alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space. She was also named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and a Canadian Space Agency Space Ambassador. Dr. Pandya has also been a multi-year finalist for the IIAS’s “Awesome PoSSUM” Award for contributing to the strength and development of that organization, and was the Association of Spaceflight Professionals 2019 “Contributor of the Year.” In 2022, she was named one of the Explorers’ Club’s “50 Explorers Changing the World,” listed as #5 on the 2022 Top 100 Women in Aviation and Aerospace to Follow on LinkedIn, and named to the Destination Canada 2022 Empowerlist. In 2023, she was named to The SustainabilityX Magazine’s “Global 50 Women in Sustainability,” for her work in Social Inclusion.


Chief of operations

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Tamar Valdman, M.S., was the Communications Manager at Woodpile Studios, an award-winning firm in Washington, DC, where she worked on a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She then served as the Chief Business Development Officer for Agrio, an international agtech startup that assists farmers in low-income nations, and held the role of Chief of Staff for two startups. Tamar is currently a Communications Consultant in industries ranging from longevity to cryptocurrency. She holds a Master of Science degree in social work from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in psychology. Additionally, Tamar co-authored a published manuscript that was the first to measure cognitive changes in approach and avoidance motivations towards oneself and others following social rejection.

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Chief of Publications

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Riley Harrison graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences and a minor in Psychology. At FSU, she focused on integrative human development over the lifespan with research in minority achievement. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Space Operations at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University while assisting Dr. Andy Aldrin as his Teaching Assistant. She works for Embry Riddle Worldwide College of Arts & Sciences promoting an integrative Higher Education initiative, Humanistic STEM. Additionally, Riley is the Director of Educational Outreach and an inaugural fellow at For All Moonkind: Institute on Space Law & Ethics. Her research focuses on Indigenous Space, an emerging field promoting First Nations' access to the space ecosystem.

Research fellows

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Simon Dubé, PhD


& Kinsey Research Fellow

Maria Santaguida, MS

Professor of Psychology,

Concordia University

Matthew Hudnall, MS

Director of Laboratory Operations,


Eleonore Poli, PhD

Founder, CHASM Analog Astronauts

& Materials Scientist 

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Lucie Ráčková, MS

Anthropologist, Biologist,

PhD Candidate, Environmental Physiology

Haley Race, BS

Reproductive Biologist & Embryologist, 

Boca Fertility 

Morgan Kainu, BA

Anthropologist, Bioastronautics Researcher

& Analog Astronaut

Roberta Pečiūraitė, MS

Clinical Psychosexologist

& Sex Researcher

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Joannes Hernandez, DComm

Associate Professor of Nursing,

Associate Dean of Simulation,

Helene Fuld College of Nursing

“Sex in space is not about going somewhere else to have sex.

It’s ultimately about expanding beyond our immediate neighborhood, into a Universe to which we belong.”


Vanna Bonta


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