I can’t believe it's week 9 already! I feel like I first walked past the doors of the big blue building into the core lecture hall (CLH) a few days ago. Time flies in SSP.
This week started off witnessing sleepless nights and empty coffee cups at the fellowship building. With the team project deliverables being submitted on time, the participants began rehearsing for the final presentations. This year, the presentations were dramatically engaging as each team took their story-telling to the next level with the use of props and theatrical performances.
With applauds the participants stood in the CLH as a team answering every question that was hurled at them. The evening came to a close with a fabulous reception, where the participants engaged with the spectators of the presentations and explained to them their experiences.
The next day, the closing ceremony was held in Leiden. The proud 135 received their certificates from the Program Director Omar Hatamleh and ISU President Walter Peeters. The closing ceremony was also live casted on the internet. With friends and family watching from all over the world, the participants finally became part of the ISU (officially!). The participants also received their ISU pin on this day.
Our very own Thomas Wijnen, received the SSP18 academic award of the year. This was a definite highlight!
To commemorate the participants achievements over the summer, the closing ceremony was followed by a lively evening of fun, laughter and dance.
The saddest part of the program was the day after the closing ceremony. The participants were homebound. Some left in tears, while others laughed it off saying they will meet again. With plans of trips to 35 countries, the participants left, hoping to meet their SSP family in this small world.
Here’s to the months that turned into years and to the friends that turned into family. Welcome to the Space mafia, SSP18!
‘The End is Nigh’
As the Space Studies Program heads into its penultimate week, emotions were high and creativity sky-rocketing! All the Team Projects had their work cut out for them – collating their work into a spectacular Executive Summary report deliverable. These reports would go on to serve as the testament of the research and hard-work undertaken by each Team Project (TP) group for the space industry and their sponsors to look at.
TP Debris continued their concept design into Week 8, spending days stationed in the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) kindly made available by ESA-ESTEC in Noordwijk. The concurrent engineering exercise meant that the entire group was working hands-on on all aspects of their ‘On-Orbit Servicing’ spacecraft design – All Systems Go! While the system engineers made sure that all subsystem teams would build their concepts up in coherence with the others, the folks in the business, management and policy side of things made sure that the spacecraft had a solid business case to support it. The fluidity and flexibility of such a system, that might seem too chaotic to some, was in reality a beautiful ballet of ideas. The last of the CDF sessions culminated on Thursday, with a final concept presentation to a jury of ESA experts, and some very valuable feedback that would surely be fruitful in writing the final TP report.
The other three TP groups worked tirelessly towards their project report draft submissions as well, making sure to dot all their ‘i‘s and cross all their ‘t’s. However, as it goes with all SSP endeavors, all work and no play is strictly out of order. Introducing Mati the Moon, the extremely adorable TP Lunar mascot, and guess what it even has its Instagram page!
Monday saw Andrea Gini conduct his Personal and Corporate Brand Identity workshop which focused on introducing the major elements of brand identity, showing how they work at a personal and corporate level.
Written and Directed by our very own participant from Australia, Scott Millwood, “Wildness” was screened for all SSP participants and staff, telling an epic story of two men whose passion for nature became a crusade to save an environment under threat.
Though on paper, Week 8 seemed somewhat blasé, there was a lot of goodness brewing under the hood. Watch out for Week 9, as it blossoms into the perfect ending to SSP18 in the Netherlands!
Week 7 began with blank spaces on the calendar! Nearly everyone from the program was in either Bremen or Luxembourg making professional visits to SES, Astron, Airbus and OHB. The trips also served as a well earned break after the department phase. Free time in Luxembourg was spent around the pool and this was followed by a tour of SES and presentations from their suppliers, partners and even competitors. The Bremen group was able to see the production facility of the Ariane first stage at Airbus and a full-size practice mockup of the ISS Columbus module. Amazing!
On Tuesday, the TP Lunar group conducted a simulated moon mission at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne. The scenario featured a ground station on Earth, a proximity team on the Deep Space Gateway and an Astronaut team on the Moon. Communication between Earth and the Gateway was via text and then from the Gateway to the Moon via voice. The teams had to negotiate a power outage on the Moon base which affected oxygen production, rover usage, life support systems and communications. The group was assisted by a number of the EAC staff and was able to use the virtual reality room to simulate being on the Lunar surface.
On the academic front, the TP’s have begun full time with many breakout meetings and sub-committees occurring at all times of the day in the Fellowship building. It is interesting to see the four different TP’s coming together with their own unique styles and strategies. TP workshops were conducted during the week by the expert editorial and design teams. The workshops covered the executive summary, editing, graphic design and how to effectively communicate ideas. The academic week will finish with TP internal reviews where each team is expected to present their Mission Statement, detailed content of the final report, and the status of their team management.
Final run before the end of the department activities, week 6 is here, full of exciting events!
Four departments went to Cologne (Germany) to visit the European Astronaut Center. They could see the various equipment for astronaut training and go around the facilities. They even where given the unexpected occasion to discuss with Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian European Space Agency astronaut present that day. In the meantime, two other departments went to visit the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR), the Dwingeloo radio telescope and Satellite ground stations in Rotterdam
Tuesday was the very busy ESTEC day where the participants had an overview of the future technologies developed there. The highlight of the day was the unveiling of two new tiles on the "Walk of Space" of Noordwijk followed by an excellent barbecue on the beach, facing the beautiful sunset.
Department activities are coming to an end but people were able to test cubesats in clean rooms, to perform analog rescue missions on Mars and many other fascinating exercises
TP weeks are at the door and and it is time for the participants to brace themselves for the impact ;)
Full of tension and excitement, hard work and fun, and the fusion of the old and the new, the Week 5 of the #SSP18 might be the most memorable so far. What am I talking about? Well, let’s get down to it.This week the participants enjoyed Department activities in Delft and other places (the APPs department ventured all the way to Wadden islands!). They also experienced a full day of elective workshops together in Leiden with a great dinner under the stars after all the hard work. All well and good on that front, but that was not all that happened. By far. Not while you’re at the SSP 😉
The Team Projects are finally taking form, with the Literature Review having been submitted by the different teams on Monday 23rd, and the Team Project Plan on Sunday 29th July. Everything is now set for the teams to dig deeper and work hard in making the best Team Project they can! Sleepless nights and long days await… let the games begin! So, tension and excitement, hard work and fun are now all covered but… what about the fusion of the old and the new? Well, that can be answered in two words: Alumni Weekend!!!
Close to 200(!) alumni were present during this weekend, adding to the 135 participants. Many old friends reuniting, and new friendships being made. The participants got to meet the community they are now a part of, exchange experiences and… compete! The Space Masquerade is a tradition at ISU’s alumni weekend, as is the costume competition, where a fight to the death on a field of fire and blood happens … well, it’s more like a dance-off in the Aula building between people in space-themed costumes but almost as epic!
Although not nearly as epic as the Alumni vs Participants football match! That is where the true death-battle happens! OK, again a bit of an exaggeration. But not by much. The participants crushed the alumni this year with a final score count of 7-1 (that hurts my alumnus’ heart 😞). Congratulations to the victors, and welcome to the International Space University or ISU family!
It’s week 4, the lectures are over, the elective workshops are in full swing and the department activities have begun! This week was a busy one so it's hard to pick what to talk about because it's all so much fun; so here are a few of my personal highlights! Bowtie Tuesday (which is every Tuesday). This year’s first meeting of the international bowtie administration, an organisation that was established in Cork during SSP17, was held at TU Delft!
The humanities department also had an “out of this world” afternoon on Tuesday with former humanities TA and founding member of the international bowtie administration, Petter Skanke. In their activity they made films and taught us all valuable lessons about planetary protection. This week the Human Performance in Space department visited ESTEC to learn about issues that manned missions that go beyond Earth’s orbit face. To celebrate the end of the core lectures, the staff serenaded the participants and brought all the cake from the nearest shops. But the big celebrations had to be put on hold until the end of the exam, for the participants at least; the staff spent the evening at the beach in The Hague to celebrate Omar and Kavindi’s birthday!!!
But for the participants it was study time, they had to wait until the exam (and Thursday's workshop) was over to celebrate. One of the workshops held on Thursday afternoon was Biomodd. Biomodd is an open source art installation that combines technology and biology. Here 25 participants took apart computers to build new machines and theorise ways they could use these machines as part of a closed loop system to help feed an ecosystem.
This week was jam packed, exciting and exhausting; like every week! And with departments now in full swing they'll be much more to come next week!
The working week started off with a quiz on Monday morning, the first for SSP18. The participants had the chance to test their knowledge on what they had learned about space from multiple disciplines. Topics included space management and business, space engineering, human performance in space, space science, humanities and space policy and law. For the second part of the day, some participants and staff visited the UN’s International Court of Justice. Judge Peter Tomka gave a presentation on the court and its history after which ISU members were provided with a guided tour of the stunning building and a catered reception. This was the first time ISU was invited to visit a UN court.
The improvisation classes have been continuing weekly, with high participant engagement allowing participants to develop their confidence and on-the-spot thinking kills. This activity is always light-hearted and full of laughs and indeed a good way to unwind. The participants play out unlikely and humorous scenarios whilst others try and depict what exactly they are trying to demonstrate.
Wednesday evening consisted of a trip to Airbus where the CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, Dirk Hoke, gave a presentation. He provided insight on how Airbus is tackling the emergence of new space sectors and about their plan to manufacture components for the Ariane 6 launcher using their own facilities. The participants were also provided with a special tour of the facility.
On Thursday night, the film Orphans of Apollo was screened at the Lumen cinema in Delft. Making this event even more special, Michael Potter, the director of the film, and an SSP88 alumnus, was in attendance and gave an introduction to the screening.
As with the previous weeks, the working week finished off with a Culture Night! On Friday, participants from Greece, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway, Spain and Sweden presented on their culture and delighted everyone with different types of food from their countries. Later in the night, the staff band and participant band performed, showcasing further the diversity of skills within this ISU family.
What is Future Studies? What is the difference between predicting, forecasting, and inventing the futures? Jim Dator responded to these questions and more by using his 50 years of work in Future Space. Mr. Dator is a professor and director of Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, and he is a legend among the ISU community. He even has his own brand and T-shirt that participants placed orders for!
One of the highlights of the space program is the International Astronaut panel where participants and other members have the opportunity to learn from astronauts and discuss their experience and to meet and greet the space explorers. This year our astronaut panel was held at Space Expo in Noordwijk, on July 2nd of 2018. It was formed by Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, Dutch Astronaut André Kuipers. Where Korean Astronaut Soyeon Yi and NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott joined us through videos. The week continued with an exciting and fun workshop in team building by participants building the Rube Goldberg machine, challenging the members to solve simple problems by using complex designs and devices. This activity was introduced to all participants in Week-1 by Astronaut Soyeon Yi. The participants created 12 different teams and assigned very creative names such as Space Sheep, Hubble Trouble, The Flying Dutchmen, Boom Boom, etc. Four judges were assigned to evaluate each team based on functionality, complexity, creativity, and innovation. The first place was given to Boom Boom, second to Interstellar, and third to Hubble Trouble.
Furthermore, SSP members learned about some unique initiatives to find answers to questions of life in our universe. For this purpose, Breakthrough Initiatives was founded by Yuri and Julia Milner with collaboration of Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking. Pete Worden, former NASA Ames Director joined us the night of July 4th, 2018 at the University of Leiden to present about these initiatives and his new addition to the foundation called Breakthrough Starships. The idea is to send hundreds of single mission nano-scale chips into space and to use light beaming technology to sail through the stars.
What an amazing fun and knowledge filled week this was!
On Saturday June 23, 2018, 135 participants from 35 nationalities arrived in Delft, The Netherlands for the beginning of the Space Studies Program. Throughout the day, busses full of participants departed from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to be brought to the Delft Institute of Technology (TU Delft). Upon arrival, participants were welcomed and continued through the process of registering for the program. Participants went through 8 stations ran by the staff where they received backpacks, T-Shirts, Bikes and of course the keys to their new home! In the evening, all the participants gathered for the welcome dinner where they got to introduce themselves to their classmates.
The next morning, it was the staff’s turn to introduce themselves. Participants and staff were bussed to the Huis ter Duin Hotel in Noordwijk where they were treated to a multi-course brunch overlooking the ocean. Between courses, participants were introduced to the staff members as well as some of the sponsors from this year’s program. The graduation ceremony for the Space English Access Course (SEAC), which has been taking place over the previous week, also took place. 23 participants from China received certificates for the course. After brunch, the staff and participants were bussed to Leiden where they had the chance to partake in a brief one-hour walking tour of the city. They then headed back to TU Delft for Orientation.
On Monday June 25, 2018 the 2018 Space Studies Program was officially opened with a formal ceremony at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ESTEC High Bay. The King of the Netherlands was in attendance and took the time to speak to selected participants before the ceremony began. After the King was seated for the ceremony, participants walked in country by country behind their flags and under a 1/10 scale model of the International Space Station! Participants, staff and guests were treated to speeches by astronaut Andre Kuipers and director general of ESA Jan Woerner as well as Space dances and laser performances.
The programs first evening event was a lecture by Professor Jeffery Hoffman at the Den Hague Omniversum. He discussed what went wrong with the Hubble Telescope and how his crew helped to fix it. It was followed by a 50 minute IMAX documentary called Hubble. It’s been a busy 5 days already but there couldn’t be a more perfect way to begin the Sizzling Summer of Space, here in the Netherlands!
The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), that preserves one of the most ambitious and world renowned Aerospace Engineering departments alongside the International Space University, is ready to welcome the class of 2018 of the Space Studies program to Delft.
Together with the rich Dutch culture that fills your heart with passion and curiosity, the space studies program will broaden the horizon of your Universe in ways that will help you grow the Interdisciplinary, Intercultural, and International aspects of your personal and professional life.
A week before the program starts, the staff offices, filled with dialogues of space law, the Moon, Proxima Centauri and every other topic you can possibly imagine, even the likelihood of space cheese? Now, how about that! Final preparations are coming to an end for the number of events, professional visits and core lectures that the participants will have the opportunity to be part of. In between the busy schedule, we did have some time to experience some Delft culture by painting and creating our very own Delft blue porcelain plates.
The surrounding of the Faculty of Aerospace at TU Delft, the tall buildings, the refreshing summer breeze is ready to be broken into the sizzling summer of space with the arrival of our participants. We’re all working hard to make this summer the best space studies program ever in the ISU history. And we are lucky to do so right in the heart of Europe’s space Industries.
Connecting, networking with people from all over the world that work to accomplish one goal this summer. To be able to open up about your experiences and share each other’s values is part of been an ISU Family member. One thing I did not forget to mention is the delicious Dutch meals! The Dutch herring is of course, now in season. You’ll enjoy them with some onions and a cool drink on a summers day.
You might imagine what it’s like spending time here at TU Delft working to make SSP18 happen? With my colleagues just across the table, the ISU lanyard adding colours to our outfit, if I close my eyes for a moment I’m flying to moon, to mars, through the stars to Proxima Centauri on a journey of endless discovery with a group of passionate space enthusiasts!
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, Delft and the Netherlands! There will also be loads of behind the scenes with what’s happening at this year's host institutions, TU Delft, University of Leiden and ESA - ESTEC! #NLargeYourUniverse
Don't forget to download the International Space University application. This is the easiest way to keep up to date with all the news and events happing at this year’s #SSP18!