French Prime Minister visits the International Space University
“Bienvenue à l’Université Internationale de l’Espace, Mr le Premier Ministre”, asserted Prof W. Peeters, President of the International Space University (ISU) with Prof. Welch, the MSS Program Director and Prof. Favier, the ISU Research Program Director, as the French Prime Minister, Mr M. Valls stepped into ISU’s Pioneers’ Hall.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the newly appointed French Secretary of State for innovation and numerical applications, Ms A. Lemaire, and several local dignitaries from local governmental bodies (Eurometropole, Region..) as well as the mayor of Illkirch.
As President Peeters welcomed the Prime Minister, he pointed to the ISU flag that had flown on Orion, kindly offered by Lockheed Martin. Needless to say that Mr Valls was very pleased when he was presented with a smaller version that had also flown on the same space test flight!
Prof Favier then took the lead, explaining the various research programs ISU is currently developing with Master year B students, visiting researchers, and international or local partners. He presented in particular two programs, the MMARS1 experiment which will fly soon on the ISS, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) collaboration with the University of Strasbourg and Airbus D&S Germany and the research with local SME company IREPA-LASER in the field of lunar regolith 3D printing. He highlighted the importance of ISU’s collaborations with local companies, the University of Strasbourg and the strong support from the Eurometropole of Strasbourg.
These activities fitted indeed very well in the overall framework of the Prime Minister’s visit, which was focused on cooperation between Universities and Industry in the framework of innovation.
The Prime Minister then moved on to the Highbay area. Once inside SHEE, Mr Valls jokingly mentioned: ”maybe we should organize primary elections on Mars!” The Excalibur Almaz capsule, which was visited afterwards, was the perfect spot for a photo shoot.
The Prime Minister also kindly accepted the invitation of ISU to have a picture taken with the ISU staff present.
The second part of the afternoon at ISU consisted in a meeting organized by Eurometropole and the University of Strasbourg in the ISU Board room. Involving major actors from the Alsatian innovation biotech and medtech eco-systems, with invited representatives of internationally recognized companies like Novartis, Lilly and Merck Millipore together with heads of startups and institutional organizations like Aerial, Conectus and Ircad.
When leaving the ISU building, the Prime Minister expressed recognition to all on behalf of the French government. He explained that his presence here is an act of trust and was feeling great and delighted by his visit at ISU!