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.