ISU MSS17 Internship Series – Starting with Bethany Downer at ESA


An internship during ISU’s Master of Space Studies (MSS17) allows participants to apply their knowledge and skills to on-going activity in a real-world space context. And to provide participants with the opportunity to establish professional links within the global space community.

downer esa2MSS17 participant, Bethany Downer reports back from the European Space Agency’s ECSAT:

“This summer I am working for the communications department at the European Space Agency's ECSAT (European Centre for Satellite Applications and Telecommunications) located in Harwell, England. Here, I work for the center’s communication officer, Margherita Buoso, to assist in the agency's communications, outreach, and event planning. In particular, I will be assisting in the planning of ESA's involvement with the New Scientist Live event to be held in London this September, which showcases both science and technology.

For my first week with ECSAT I was not working in Harwell. Instead, I had the pleasure of attending the UK Space Conference in Manchester. With over 1,200 delegates this was a large event, in which ESA was featured as an exhibitor and sponsor. I assisted in the preparation and operation of the exhibition booth to answer questions from delegates about ESA's operations, programs, and projects. This also required assisting in the facilitation of various ESA representatives to be properly arranged with the appropriate journalists for interviews around the exhibition space. Furthermore, I assisted media and staff in the preparation of the exhibition booth for a contract signing in which ESA and Open Cosmos signed a space access agreement.

The highlight of the conference attendees was the talks and appearances made by Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut, who completed his 185-day space mission aboard the International Space Station in 2016. He is a recognized face across the United Kingdom and is visibly an inspirational public figure to many. I had the pleasure of assisting Tim Peake during the conference to assure he was properly escorted between his events, and was very excited to attend the conference gala with him.

I look forward to my Summer at ECSAT and rest assured that it will be a memorable and educative experience.”