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Highlights from the ISU SSP24 Curriculum Planning Meeting in Houston, USA

In the heart of space exploration, Houston, USA, hosted a milestone event—the International Space University (ISU) Space Studies Program SSP24 Curriculum Planning Meeting (CPM). This meeting was led by SSP24 Director Claudia Eyzaguirre (on detachment from NASA) and Dean of ISU – Dr. Su-Yin Tan – supported by Claudiu Mihai Taiatu, SSP Academic Coordinator, held at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Rice University, brought together faculty members, educators, and industry leaders to chart the course for the future of interdisciplinary space education.

Prior to the CPM, the SSP24 core lecture and department chairs were endorsed by the Academic Council. This year, there was no Call for Chairs issued due to the late confirmation of the SSP24 host site, early scheduled CPM, and ongoing academic review of the SSP program. This is an exception and we expect the process of appointing Chairs to return to normal next year. As a result, seasoned Chairs were selected as follows:

  • Core Lectures: 

o Su-Yin Tan, Canada/Papua New Guinea

o Lucy Stojak, Canada

  • Space Applications (APP) Department: 

o Su-Yin Tan, Canada/Papua New Guinea

  • Space Engineering (ENG) Department: 

o Daniel Garcia Yarnoz, Spain

o Joseph Pellegrino, USA

  • Space Management and Business (MGB) Department: 

o Natalia Larrea Brito, Spain

  • Space Policy, Economics and Law (PEL) Department: 

o Dimitra Stefoudi, Greece

  • Space Sciences (SCI) Chair: 

o Eric Dahlstrom, USA

  • Human Performance in Space (HPS) Department 

o Ana Diaz Artiles, Spain

o Kris Lehnhardt, Canada

  • Space Humanities (HUM) Department 

o Kerrie Dougherty, Australia


The Space English Access Course (SEAC) will be delivered by Carol Carnett in charge of English Programs for the Space Studies Programs.

NASA Johnson Space Center: A Fitting Backdrop:

The iconic NASA Johnson Space Center, renowned as the hub of human spaceflight, provided an inspiring backdrop for the meeting. Participants had the unique opportunity to engage with NASA experts, tour cutting-edge facilities, and gain firsthand insights into the agency’s ongoing missions. The JSC visit allowed attendees to connect theory with real-world applications, enriching the curriculum planning process.

Rice University’s Academic Excellence:

Collaborating with Rice University added an academic dimension to the event. Known for its commitment to research and innovation, Rice University provides a scholarly environment for in-depth discussions and planning sessions. The university’s expertise in space-related fields complemented the practical insights gained at NASA JSC, resulting in a well-rounded curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience.

The CPM also offers the opportunity for the ISU logistics (Tania Robles), external relations (Geraldine Moser), and information technology (Joel Herrman) teams to meet their counterparts at both host sites and plan operations and promotional aspects.

The International Space University Space Studies Program Curriculum Planning Meeting in Houston was a landmark event that shaped the future of space education. With NASA JSC and Rice University as catalysts for inspiration and collaboration, the meeting produced a curriculum that combines academic rigor with practical experience, ensuring that the next generation of space professionals is well-equipped to push the boundaries of exploration. As we look to the stars, the curriculum developed at this meeting will guide future space enthusiasts and pioneers.


More info about SSP24 Houston 

SSP24 Registration Here