Public Events Announced for ISU Space Studies Program 2017

The International Space University (ISU) is hosting its 30th Space Studies Program (SSP17) at Cork Institute of Technology (C.I.T) from 26th June to 25th August 2017.

This intense nine-week program will attract 320 international space professionals from 26 countries, including five astronauts, who will examine all aspects of space and its related enterprises; from Engineering, Science, and Applications to Law, Business, Humanities, and Human Performance in outer space.

In addition to the official elements of the programme reserved for delegates, C.I.T. and Blackrock Castle Observatory are also running an extensive public engagement programme.  Over 50 public events, aimed at young and old alike, will take place across Cork city and county and throughout the island of Ireland to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges which our exploration of the Universe offers us.

Chancellor of the ISU, Apollo 11 Astronaut and one of the first humans to walk on the moon Dr “Buzz” Aldrin will open the 2017 Space Studies Program in Cork on Monday 26th June 2017 at an invitation-only ceremony.  Commenting, Dr. Aldrin said, “This extensive programme will raise public awareness of the benefits, challenges and inspiration of Space Exploration and other space endeavours.  I’m looking forward to my time in Cork and hope to experience many of the exciting events while there.”

Buzz Aldrin’s public lecture at C.I.T. on Tuesday 27th June at 8pm, promises to be a highlight of the public events series.  Tickets are free. Seating, however, is limited and booking is on a first come, first served basis.

Attracting someone with the status of Dr. Aldrin to the event is seen as a considerable coup for C.I.T.  Dr. Niall Smith, Head of Research at C.I.T., who led the pitch to bring ISU’s SSP17 to Cork, said, “We feel exceptionally honored that Dr. Aldrin has agreed to attend this unique event. He was an integral part of the most pioneering space programs of their time having participated in both the Gemini and Apollo series of missions. He has continued his lifelong association with space in academia and in space engineering and is an ongoing inspiration to all of us who admire him for his brilliance and personal courage. When the current generation of space scientists speak of standing on the shoulders of giants, Buzz Aldrin is one of those giants.”

There are lots more exciting public events taking place over the summer.  From June 21st to 23rd, there will a giant replica of the moon, measuring seven metres in diameter, at the Nexus Hall in C.I.T. open to the public to view.  This Museum of the Moon, designed by Luke Jerram, is a partnership between C.I.T and Cork Midsummer Festival.  The fascinating installation features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.  

Another major highlight is the International Astronaut Panel on Tuesday July 4th. The public will have the opportunity to interact with an outstanding group of astronauts – Dan Tani, Nicole Stott, Robert Thirsk and Yi So-yeon - who represent over 30 years of international spaceflight experience ranging from the Spacelab, to the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.  Again, tickets for this free event and are expected to book out quickly.

People can watch a Robotics Competition on Friday 14th July, when ISU participants will design and build autonomous robots to navigate an unknown world and collect samples, and there will also be a thrilling Model Rocket Launch Competition at C.I.T. Sports Ground on July 23rd.  Young people can hone their own rocket building skills in advance at Blackrock Castle Observatory’s 10th annual Space Camps.

On June 29th NASA astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman will discuss his involvement in the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most extraordinary and beloved space science missions.  There will also be talks on the John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the American Space Program​ on 3rd July.

Other public lectures will challenge if we are alone in the Universe and explore the possibilities of finding evidence of technological life beyond Earth, and how the future direction of education will impact the field of space exploration, understanding and how we can use that knowledge for the benefit of humankind.

A number of events will be of interest to businesses looking to expand into the space industry, including a Space Entrepreneurs Panel on July 5th when proven space entrepreneurs who are leading advances in the global space markets will give insights into new services, products and technologies.  A Geopolitics and the Future of Exploration Panel on July 19th will discuss the strategic, policy, and operational environment for space science and exploration activities in the years ahead, focusing on the biggest opportunities leaders see for programs in the next decade.  A Young Leaders in the Space Industry panel on July 25th will discuss young leaders’ career paths and how ISU can help shape their future, and an Innovation Panel on August 2nd will explore innovative solutions facing the space industry.

These are just a small selection of the public events taking place over the summer. Tickets to these events are free and available on a first come first served basis on

More about SSP17 under  and