ISP20 Blog – Week 1

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Lift-off! In homage to the one of the greatest exploratory feats of humankind, the International Space University (ISU) also made history this week with the successful launch of the Interactive Space Program (ISP).

Cross-checks completed and all systems operational, our crew (participants) consisting of 86 members representing 30 nations, have connected across multiple time zones as they embark on a joint Expedition in the first-of-its-kind online only program for ISU. The ISP crew are aboard an innovative “synchronous” online and virtual program scenario set in the year 2120 where humanity has successfully expanded beyond the cradle of Earth to become an interplanetary species among several habitats. With the hard work and dedication of our Earth-based Mission Operations Control (MOC) and IT team, our crew have safely navigated a geomagnetic storm and arrived at their Mars, Moon and Orbit habitat destinations. You can view the transmission logs of the journey here and here.

Guided by Expedition Captain Mr Göktuğ Karacalioglu and Mission Commander Dr. Farhan M. Asrar, the first week of the ISP20 Expedition is in no way leisurely with operations commencing immediately. The Academics and IT teams have been hard at work hosting live interactive daily sessions, integrated workshops, team mission seminars, and one-on-one mentoring. The efforts of all staff and crew are now jointly focused toward supporting the completion of the Team Mission: Innovative Approaches of utilizing space for the monitoring, and mitigation of the Covid-19 crisis and for the preparedness and prevention of future pandemics; a project which will investigate how the space sector can significantly support monitoring, mitigating and prevention of pandemics of Earth by utilizing the extensive knowledge base of the ISU library, alumni and industry experts.

Often referred to as ‘the Dean of space policy’, the first of four daily seminars for the ISP20-Expedition this week commenced with the final professional lecture by Dr. John M. Logsdon speaking on Policy Rationales for Space Activities; we thank you for your wisdom sir, and we wish you the very best. Workshops this week had our crew engineering and prototyping tools that may assist with pandemics, as well as examining how, and what, humans communicate through crises. Among our team mission habitats Orbit, Mars and Moon, crew have had the privilege of receiving 14 guest speakers from across ISU’s Deep Space Network to guide them in their specialist missions of monitoring, mitigation, and preparedness and prevention respectively. On the social front, our staff and crew are beginning to form bonds as they work closely together, share their own MySpace Journey, and attend public events. Many more social activities are set for the coming weeks which, while using the virtual space, will surely strengthen the international and intercultural ties that ISU embodies as we all embrace the necessary changes for advancement during a pandemic.

Organizing and coordinating the collaborative efforts of the 300+ people who are all devoted to the success of this exhibition is no easy feat. Our IT team has been hard at work overcoming the challenges inherent in such an endeavor by implementing the technology required to improve the experience for all, and reproduce the close working relationships ISU is renowned for. Supporting all of these activities is our much-loved Capcom Lisa, who has been hosting a daily planning conference each morning to bridge the communication gaps and keep the whole team up-to-date of Expedition developments. As we move into week 2, our Earth-based MOC Communications team has been intercepting these data from all three of our habitats and relaying them to the inhabitants of Earth via updated mission briefings along with details of how you can connect with us during our many upcoming public events, such as the International Astronaut Panel (viewed here). And so, our expedition moves onward into the unknown but toward a common goal. Be sure to follow along via our social media channels.

“The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one Earth.” – Sultan bin Salman Al Saud

Nate Taylor
ISP20 Mars Officer

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