Disability, Outer Space, and Artificial Intelligence

A conversation roundtable with Ann Michel and Phil Wilde, filmmakers at Insights International, with Tracy Minish of Mission Control at NASA, and John Robinson, a disability rights advocate working in Artificial Intelligence


NASA is at the forefront of hiring individuals with disabilities.  The agency is dedicated to enhancing its recruitment, promotion, and retention of qualified persons with disabilities by providing the information and resources necessary to support them and to accomplish the agency’s mission. In order to implement the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the agency is committed to providing timely and effective reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of individuals (employees and job applicants) who meet the statutory definition of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would cause undue hardship to the Agency.

Tracy Minish, Johnson Space Center, NASA

Tracy Minish has worked for NASA’s Manned Flight Programs for 35-years. Tracy spent his first 15 years training astronauts and flight controllers on Shuttle systems and payloads, earning multiple certifications, designing payload math models, and creating innovations in software design and training. In 2000, Tracy was selected as the branch chief for the Shuttle and ISS Flight Software and Data branch.

Tracy Minish

In 2005, he started chairing the Ground Segment Control Board, responsible for defining International Partner control center requirements and interfaces. This required travel to Russia, Japan, Germany, and other countries to negotiate requirements. Tracy is currently the Mission Control Center Operations Manager and is involved with the ISS, Commercial Crew, and Exploration Programs. Tracy is the No Boundaries (NoBo) chair, an employee resource group for the disabled and is legally blind.

John Robinson, CEO, Our Ability

John Robinson

John Robinson is dedicated to connecting individuals with disabilities towards education and employment through mentoring, workshops, and public speaking as well as job placement. Our Ability is the only disability owned and operated business dedicated to building employment opportunities through job platforms, employment webinars, digital profile system and personal empowerment.


Insights International, Inc. is a documentary and interactive media design company specializing in technology transfer, science education, engineering subjects, and children’s programming. Insights produces video, builds websites, and produces graphics, video and audio for websites and theatrical productions as well as for other delivery systems. Insights offers a full range of production services from design, scripting, and shooting, to online editing, standards conversion, and duplication. The company’s clientele has included Cornell University, the National Gallery of Art, and Program for Workplace Systems. Insights’ two locations, Ithaca and New York City, allow the company to serve the local and international needs of their clients.