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!