The core curriculum of the SSP consists of the core lectures and fundamental workshops. The Core Lecture Series and associated workshops ensure that participants have a basic grounding and common knowledge in the fundamentals of all the disciplines that are relevant to space programs. It also serves to ensure that participants understand the relationships among the various disciplines in any space-related activity. All participants attend the core lectures and fundamental workshops, which create the basic framework of knowledge to prepare them for informed and balanced judgment and subsequent teamwork.
Core Lectures (CL)
Each major aspect of space activity is presented in an interdisciplinary series of lectures designed primarily for non-experts. The lectures do not go into depth or enter into significant detail in any subject, except, perhaps, to illustrate a point. Thus, medical specialists will be able to understand the lectures on propulsion, and engineers and lawyers will be able to understand the lectures on the effects of weightlessness on the human body. The great breadth and diversity of the subjects means, however, that a large quantity of material is covered. Many core lectures are grouped around clusters or themes to highlight the interrelation among disciplines. At the end of the Core Lecture Series, when the whole picture can be put together, participants will have gained a valuable, new, and exciting perspective on space activities.
Three or four core lectures are presented each day for a period of four weeks. Lectures are 60 minutes in duration, including 10 minutes reserved for questions. Lecturers are aware that their presentations are aimed at non-specialists and that, for many participants, English is not their first language. They are informed to speak slowly and clearly, to avoid colloquialisms, and to explain specialized language or jargon. The lecturers greatly appreciate signals from the participants, if they begin to speak too quickly or if difficult language is introduced without explanation. Questions or requests for clarification during the lectures are welcome and participants are encouraged to ask questions and to engage in group discussions with the lecturers while they are on-site.
Participants are expected to attend all lectures, including the lectures in their own area of specialization. The reasons for this are twofold. First, the Core Lecture Series provides common knowledge on fundamental concepts relevant to space programs before project teamwork activities begin, so that everyone has access to the same information on various interdisciplinary subjects. Second, participants who are more knowledgeable in a particular subject are better placed to offer informal help to fellow participants, who may be experiencing difficulty with learning the subject for the first time.
As a study aid, Core Lecture Study Notes (CLSNs) and PDF files of the core lecture presentations are provided to all participants in electronic format upon their arrival at registration. These notes contain a summary of key concepts and phrases of each lecture, which especially help participants who are not familiar with the topic to grasp the basics of each lecture. References for further readings are included in the study notes.
At the end of the Core Lecture Series, participants should be able to: (a) demonstrate a critical understanding of various disciplines relevant to space programs, (b) explain the interdisciplinary aspects and relationships of various space-related activities, and (c) develop a basic framework of knowledge in preparation for subsequent individual (department) and group (team project) work.
Fundamental and elective workshops are offered during Phases I and II. All participants take part in the fundamental workshops during the first two weeks of the program. The elective workshops are then offered in parallel. SSP workshops are designed to enhance and complement the knowledge acquired during the core lectures through more active learning in smaller groups. The workshops allow greater interaction and individual learning, and often include a hands-on component.
There are four fundamental workshops that all participants will attend: Team Building, Design Thinking, Intercultural Skills, and Report Writing and Presentation Skills. Participants will rotate through these workshops within their Team Project (TP) groups.
Elective workshops are selected based on personal interests and topics complementary to the Core Lecture Series, which provide opportunities to deepen and broaden interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. Participants must sign up for their selected workshops in advance, using an online selection tool distributed during the program. Participants who do not complete the sign-up process will be automatically assigned to an elective workshop by SSP Academics.