This week saw the end of Departmental activities, and the beginning of Team Project lockdown. Following the final presentation of their mini individual projects the participants of the Space Engineering Department were presented with their custom-made department t-shirts. The most notable events of the week were a visit to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research known as CERN in Switzerland, and one to a local winery outside Strasbourg.
Sunday saw the Fast Transit to Mars team project participants at their bus bright and eager, with a journey to their hostel in Nyon. The evening was spent dancing salsa and swimming in Lake Geneva whilst identifying stars and spotting the International Space Station flying past Jupiter shining in the night sky.
Monday morning, and the visit to CERN began with a guided tour of the main premises by Klaus, a CERN veteran of 30 years and retired physicist giving guided tours for 18 more years after that. Participants were given a history of computing and tour of the CERN data centre, where the amount of data generated is so vast it is counted in petabytes. Although much of the number crunching is done from the facility, a lot of the processing is also distributed around the globe. CERN is also where the World Wide Web began with Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. In addition, participants got to see the Antimatter Factory, where anti-hydrogen is produced for experimentation. CERN is well known as a high-energy physics research centre focused on particle acceleration and international collaborations, with many notable scientific achievements in particle physics. Twelve countries in Western Europe ratified the convention establishing CERN in 1954, and it currently operates a network of six accelerators and a decelerator with many active experiments furthering the understanding of our universe.
The Enhancing Industrial Space Competitiveness team project participants combined a site visit with their team social event on Wednesday, travelling to a local winery in Alsace. The aim of the visit was to learn more about one of the most important industries and regional competencies in the Grand Est region. This team project is exploring several local industrial competencies including the wine industry, and how it can boost industrial space competitiveness in the region.
Week 7 will also include Talent Night, and we are looking forward to experiencing all the amazing other talents that participants and staff have outside of their space careers!
Before the start of Week 6, it kicked off with ISU Alumni weekend. To describe this weekend as ‘packed’ would be an understatement. The Saturday began with TedX ISU in the morning with many vibrant speakers that shared their ideas worth spreading including our very own SSP Director Omar Hatamleh. This was followed by the Alumni conference in the afternoon that included a Distinguished Lecture by Tidiane Ouattara titled Space in Africa, “Urbunization and Wildlife monitoring” by Yifang Ban and Career Management by Neta Vizel. The party mode then kicked in later in the evening with a scrumptious meal sponsored by Lockheed Martin held in Pioneer’s Hall at ISU Central Campus.
After dinner the tables and chairs were cleared away from Pioneer’s Hall to usher in the much-awaited Space Masquerade Ball. It was time for everyone to suit up! From satellites to astronauts to Space Gods to the famous ISU Central Campus Yuri Gagarin stand coming to life – the creativity of the costumes were splendid. On Sunday, the famous Football match between SSP19 participants vs ISU Alumni took place, and in style the Alumni earned the cup back after years!
After Alumni weekend, it was back to more department activities in Week 6. The participants in the Space Engineering Department had the opportunity to remotely drive a rover thanks to Ewan Reid from Mission Control Space Services Inc. But the fun did not stop there for the Space Engineering participants. Later in the week they also got to control mini quadcopters thanks to Giovanni Beltrame and his team from École Polytechnique de Montreal.
The Space Policy, Economy and Law department had their departmental project taking place at the hemicycle of the city hall of the eurometropolis of Strasbourg in the form of a moot court.
As Week 6 draws to a close and we near the end of the departmental phase, the participants are readying themselves for the final phase of SSP19 - the Team Project phase that starts in Week 7 (although they have been working very hard on their TPs since Week 1).
Week 5 was kicked off in an explosive manner when the Engineering Department launched miniature rockets, an activity supervised by former SSP director and NASA Chief Exploration Scientist, John Connolly.
The rest of the weekend was no less action packed, as Sunday was start-up day, where participants pitched their ideas to an expert panel. First and second prize were brought home by Riccardo Bunt and Yoav Landsmann, for ideas on pollution tracking and Lunar transportation. Monday continued the same theme with a lecture on how to fund your start-up, and also the first team project deliverable.
The week only got busier as it progressed, with a myriad of departmental activities on the agenda. Space Sciences and Space Applications visited the Ries crater, getting the grand tour with lectures on the history of the crater as well as crater exploration and museum visits, whilst Space Policy, Economy and Law had discussions with experts from NASA and ESA on the Lunar Gateway and workshops with private, research and public representatives on national security and data protection. The Human Performance in Space department were busy at the European Astronaut Center where they inspected the Columbus module and did simulated moonwalks, and finally Space Business and Management visited SES in Luxembourg, where they were hands on with the satellite control center and also satellite operations in general.
Mixed in with the departmental activities were the elective workshops. Here the participants were treated to subjects ranging from planetary defense and how to run a business on the moon, to holistic work systems thinking and even a cubesat design workshop.
The week 5 highpoint for many was Pete Worden’s Breakthrough Projects lecture on Starships - Mission to Alpha Centauri. In this lecture, everything from the technology to reach Alpha Centauri to the origins of life were discussed, and it no doubt inspired many.
Looking ahead, we are now moving into the final week of departmental activities, which means that the Team Project phase is on the horizon, and that the Team Project Plan is due soon. No doubt it will be yet another busy week!
It’s week 4, we’re nearly halfway through SSP19, and we’re moving on to the second phase of SSP – the departmental phase.
The week started off with la Fête Nationale, or Bastille Day, where the night ended with a spectacular firework show in the city center on Sunday evening.
On Monday, the department activities kicked-off with some exciting workshops and trips.
This week, the Space Applications department went on a geocaching adventure, the first of many field trips. Space Engineering is preparing for the annual SSP rocket competition, run by former SSP director and NASA Chief Exploration Scientist, John Connolly. The Human Perforamance in Space department had an ultrasound workshop and also had a Space Bar that experimented with different space cocktail techniques. The Space Humanities built spaghetti-marshmallow towers and had workshops on anthropology and bioethics, and search for extraterrestrial life. The Space business and management group visited a local start-up incubator and were introduced to a business plan competition and coached on marketing and business pitch ideas. The Space policy, economy and law department was visited by the chief of Committee, Policy, and Legal Affairs at UNOOSA for a discussion on space governance and the UN global sustainability goals. Space sciences had a microgravity experiment and a Remastering Viking 1 and 2 Data workshop.
The start of the department activities marked the end of the core lectures, with the last lecture on Wednesday morning. As per tradition, the staff sang a musical interlude at the end of the core lectures, written by our very own Participant Liaison, Dillon, featuring four different languages! After a review session and a study-filled evening, the participants were ready to take on the exam on Thursday.
With a stressful week coming to an end, everyone is looking forward to an exciting culture night with Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, South Korea and USA.
It’s going to be a busy weekend for the participants with the rocket competition and the first TP deliverable due on Monday!
It’s week 3, participants are heading into the final stretch with core lectures, and the Elective Workshops have begun. This week started with the midterm quiz(which everyone did great in!) then the class of ‘19 got to see if they have what it takes to become an astronaut in the Austronaut Challenge. Teams and individuals battled it out across a series of challenges designed to test their creative, physical, and mental skills.
One particular highlight of this challenge was a station which took place in the lake on the ISU campus. Here, the team had to save our stranded Audio visual technician turned austronaut, Etienne Boucher from being lost in space using whatever they had in hand. In honour of his sacrifice, the lake has now officially been called Lough Etienne, and you can even find it on Google maps!
The area surrounding Lough Etienne also became the official training grounds for ISU’s very own croquet club this week. The No Gateway Croquet Club (NGCC) meet whenever the full SSP schedule will allow, for golf croquet on the lawn, no previous experience is required to join!
This week’s culture night was an all-singing-all-dancing extravaganza, with India really treating us to dinner and a show. Our Indian participants serenaded us and cooked us a mountain of amazing food; thankfully they also choreographed plenty of dancing for us to do too to help burn off everything we ate!
Robots featured heavily in week 3, our resident robot expert Erin, treated us to a participant talk on the subject and we all decided we wanted to be her when we grow up. The robotics EWS also ran over 2 days this week, culminating in the ever popular robotics competition on Saturday! The workshop was undertaken by people who had no previous experience with robotics and the finished products were, as always, out of this world!
Week 2 took the SSP19 class to the moon and back with a surprise visit from the second Man on the moon, and former ISU chancellor Buzz Aldrin at the end of June.
ISU couldn’t get enough of astronauts this week as we kicked off July with the International Astronaut Panel hosted at the Strasbourg City Hall. The panel this year featured Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, French Astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, and wait for it… Buzz Aldrin. We were fortunate to also have Korean Astronaut Soyeon Yi, and American Astronaut Nicole Stott joining the session via videos. Popular topics at the panel this year included, exciting parabolic flight experiments from Jean-Francois, wishful places to travel in the solar system from Buzz, and a perspective on space food from Paolo. Not only was this a legendary opening for the week but as the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the moon, a spirit of inspiration filled the room full of SSP participants and the Strasbourg general public.
On Tuesday, participants had to make a tough decision to select which department they wanted to participate in during phase II of the program. For some background, the SSP is structured around seven academic departments. This organization provides an anchor that allows smaller groups of participants to focus on a particular space discipline that interests them. The departments are:
Space Applications (APP)
Space Engineering (ENG)
Human Performance in Space (HPS)
Space Humanities (HUM)
Space Management and Business (MGB)
Space Policy, Economics, and Law (PEL)
Space Sciences (SCI)
Following this tough decision, the excitement of week 2 continued with the finale of the team building Rube Goldberg machine workshop on Tuesday, where team Dragon Ball won for their Rube Goldberg design out of 12 teams. The problem-solving nature of building the Rube Goldberg machine challenged students to solve a simple problem using limited resources and limited time. Next up on Thursday the words innovation, disruptive terminology, exponential growth were terms that could be heard in an inspirational talk about a Future with Innovation given by the SSP program director Omar Hatamleh.
We come to today, Friday, where we await an intercultural mashup with participants from Argentina, Australia, Estonia, and China.
Be. Right. Back.
Week 1 has begun, the participants have arrived and it is time for SSP19 to lift-off!
On Saturday, we had our first dinner together where each of the participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves and talk about their interests and goals.
The next day, we had a brunch in the Strasbourg City Hall where the President of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, Robert Herrmann, and the Vice-president, Catherine Trautman, gave the participants a warm welcome to their city. The brunch was followed by a boat trip around Strasbourg and later, back at ISU Campus, we had the General Orientation sessions to talk about intercultural skills and prepare for campus life overall.
On Monday, the participants had the introduction to the program and presentations from the four Team Project Teaching Associates:
-Fast transit to Mars, a project that explores the feasibility and implications of using a 1g propulsion system to reduce travel time to Mars and the impact of microgravity effects on a crew.
-Enhancing Industrial Space Competitiveness: Global Trends and Local Positioning, a project which will propose recommendations on how to increase the integration of space into the industrial infrastructure of a region.
-Space for Urban Planning, the purpose of which is to identify valuable space resources and efficient combination of data, infrastructure and distribution networks to maximize sustainability in urban planning.
-Next Generation Space Systems: Swarms, a project that will analyse space systems based on swarms of nanosatellites for different applications.
It was time for the participants to decide which team project they will like to work with. After lunch the participants attended the opening ceremony in the European Parliament, followed by a reception on Pavilion Josephine in Parc de L’Orangerie.
We had additional activities such as the speed networking session, the visit of the Director General of the Emirates Space Agency, Dr. Al Ahbabi, who talked about the Emirates space exploration mission to Mars set to launch in 2020, and on Thursday we had the privilege of welcoming again John M. Logsdon who gave us an insight of the lunar missions with his presentation: Once, We went to the Moon.
To finish the week, we will have the traditional tarte flambee followed by our first intercultural night, where participants will make presentations about their countries and will be able to share some of their traditional gastronomy.
With so many activities still to come, we go onwards to week 2!
In 1989 Voyager II images of Neptune allowed us to better understand the reaches of our solar system. During that particular summer humanity was also exploring new space concepts on the Earth’s surface; Europe’s first ISU Space Studies Program.
Now, thirty years later, the SSP has returned to its home city for a summer of SpaceOptimism.
Hosted by Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, this year’s nine-week Space Studies Program complements the development of the region’s digital economy through space-based data, technologies and business support.
Officially dubbed Week-0, the preprogam of SSP19 saw twenty-two participants attending the Space English Access Course. SEAC is an opportunity for participants to brush up on English skills and understand how English will be used across the seven disciplines of SSP.
One of the participants in SEAC is Shanghai-based spacecraft engineer Zhao Chen. Zhao commented she is participating in SSP to meet more friends and learn other space disciplines, and she feels the course has prepared her for the rest of the program; “It is very busy and challenging, to speak and read so much in English, but I’m enjoying it. I feel comfortable for the rest of the program because of this first week.”
From the staff side of the program, the SSP team spent the week planning professional visits, building the specialised departmental activities and preparing the research projects. Today, arrangements were finalised for the opening ceremony, a widely esteemed event hosted this year by the European Parliament at Strasbourg.
2013 was the last SSP held in Strasbourg and SSP19 Director Dr Omar Hatamleh acknowledges the ever strengthening relationship between Strasbourg and ISU, particularly in terms of innovation and business “with lots of collaboration and planning since Strasbourg’s last SSP, we have many capabilities to offer participants. By harnessing Strabourg’s business culture we can keep space education current with the latest technological and industry trends.”
Program registration opens Saturday morning followed by a cultural activity and orientation on Sunday. With an expected 124 participants joining this year’s SSP, Strasbourg will see a rich summer of international and interdisciplinary engagement.Not unlike Voyager II, SSP19 participants will capture a wealth of information for their projects back home, contributing to humanity’s understanding of space.
We are excited to announce that the International Space University will be continuing the traditional - Space Studies Program blog!
Over the next nine weeks, our teaching associates, participants and other authors will be highlighting all the great experiences in and outside the classroom, Strasbourg and France! There will also be loads of behind the scenes with what’s happening at this year's SSP especially with the professional visits that will be taking place all over Europe. #SpaceOptimist
Don't forget to download the International Space University mobile application. This is the easiest way to keep up to date with all the news and events happing at this year’s #SSP19!
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