50 excited participants from 15 different countries are now in Adelaide, Australia, for the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SH-SSP), a 5-week, residential program run jointly by the International Space University (ISU) and the University of South Australia (UniSA).
This is the seventh SH-SSP held at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus during the southern hemisphere summer, embodying the international, intercultural and interdisciplinary philosophy for which ISU is renowned.
Like its nine-week Space Studies Program (SSP) counterpart usually held in the northern hemisphere, the SH-SSP in a more condensed format focuses on space applications, space policy and space services, while giving a well-rounded overview of space science, space systems engineering and technology, space business and management and space legal and regulatory issues.
In 2018, alongside its longstanding stratospheric balloon launch and a newly introduced model rocketry component to the program, the participants will for the first time be involved in two separate Team Projects. The first of these will be examining the use of space in disaster management, while the second will be analysing the role of space agencies in emerging space countries (of relevance to Australia’s recent decision to establish a new space agency).
With 19 participants arriving in Adelaide a week early for the Space English Access Course, the remaining participants arrived on January 14th for this 5-week ISU experience that will be transformational for all those involved.
During this first week of SH-SSP18 participants have been joined by Dr. Soyeon Yi, South Korea’s first and only astronaut and a long-time supporter of ISU. They have already studied such diverse topics as Space Psychology, Space Project Management, Spacesuit Design, Space Ethics and Strategic Space Law. This packed first week has also seen the traditional ISU opening ceremony with participants representing their respective countries behind their national flags, team building exercises including the construction of a Rube Goldberg Machine and their initial Team Project meetings.
The week will conclude with the ‘International Astronaut and Human Spaceflight Panel’ public event, where Soyeon will be joined on the panel by Prof. Walter Peeters, ISU President, and Dr. Omar Hatamleh, SSP/SH-SSP Director.
As described by participant Ali Akhtar, a SatCom Executive from Pakistan:
“This first week of SH-SSP has been one labour after the other, a labour of intensity and comradery and an all-out mind-blowing experience. I’m doing things I never thought I’d be doing.”
These sentiments are echoed by Desi Gancheva, an Australian Lawyer:
“It’s been an intensely fun and hectic week meeting so many amazing people and working on space projects I’d never thought I’d be doing and I’m so excited to be a part of this.”
With though four more weeks to go, the experience has only just begun for the 50 participants of SH-SSP18.