SHSSP21 TA Blog – Week 1

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On Monday, 18th Jan, 2021 the International Space University (ISU) and University of South Australia (UniSA) kicked off the online program of Southern-Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SHSSP21) with a simple yet wonderful online opening ceremony which you can watch online here.

Our program director Mr. Arif Göktuğ Karacalioglu and co-director Mr. Adrian James along with ISU President Juan de Dalmau, welcomed virtually all our 33 participants spread across the globe. They will be working together on preparing the Team Project (TP) topic- Space and Fighting Bushfires with the help of various lectures and workshops which will take place during this 5-week program to support and create their final TP presentation.

Lectures and workshops:

The week started off with the very first workshop of the program on Cross Cultural Communication with our experts of this topic Carol Carnett and Philomena Bonis who introduced the participants to some broad culture communication aspects to consider when interacting with colleagues in an online environment.

After learning some intercultural aspects from the workshop the participants moved on to the very first lecture of the program- Origins of the Space Age, given by the Australian Space Agency, Senior Policy Advisor- Kerrie Dougherty who made the participants explore the history of space flight from the origins of rocketry to the beginning of the Space Age.

To continue the venture of Space and its various spectrums our participants attended the lecture on Space Medicine- the Physiological Aspects with our Space Medicine Experts Dr. Brett Gooden and Dr. Volker Damann who is also a very prominent ISU lecturer. They explained in detail how the major stresses are imposed on the body during a prolonged spaceflight, how the body responds to them, and the ways it can be prevented or reduced, along with the potential dangers faced by astronauts travelling in varying gravitational fields.

Next the topic of Industrial Impacts on Lunar Cultural Heritage was taught in the lecture given by the Space Archeology Expert, Dr. Alice Gorman who explained the extent and nature of human material remains in the solar system and how to conceptualize them as a cultural landscape. Following the archeological study came the lecture on Origins and Principles of Space Law given by our known Space Law specialists, Michael Davis and Tanja Masson-Zwaan who spoke widely about various International Space Treaties, described various space law issues and the importance of Space Law principles.

An interesting workshop on Designing Clinical Trials by Dr. Mona Nasser, who spoke avidly how various methods of clinical trials can be adapted for future space missions. And to wind-up the amazing first week of our multidisciplinary space program, the lecture on Cultural Rationales for Space Activities by Kerrie Dougherty explained the role of some philosophies in promoting space exploration and discussing with participants the most important question- “Why explore space?” from a cultural perspective apart from the economic and policy angle talked about in the previous lecture.

The final lecture of week concluded on Space Psychology where the senior lecturer from University of Tasmania, Dr. Kimberly Norris spoke broadly about managing stress, psychological issues during long spaceflight mission and the psychological selection, training, monitoring and support provided to astronauts.

Social Events:

To help our participants from the two time-zones socialize in our virtual program and have some fun as well amongst such an intensive program, we organized the My Space Journey and Intercultural Session where they shared with everyone the diverse fields they belonged to, their hobbies and passions, how and when they got fascinated towards the space domain and the cultural diversities from which they belong.

We also got to know during the Story of SHSSP21 Patch session, how few participants conceptualized the beautiful SHSSP21 patch and worked on designing and developing it around the TP topic of the program- Space and Fighting Bushfires.

Astronaut Panel:

After covering space related topics in a wide range of spectrum through the intensive lectures and workshops in the first week of the program, our participants had the incredible opportunity of amalgamating all that learnings and interact with astronauts who shared their real life space experiences, thereby giving a complete finish to all the theory they learned during the week.


The live streamed SHSSP21 Astronaut Panel was moderated by our very own ISU President Juan De Dalmau. Our esteemed panelists of this session were- German physicist and ESA astronaut- Dr. Reinhold Ewald, American physician and a NASA astronaut- Dr. Michael Barratt and astronaut from JAXA- Mr. Takuya Onishi shared and interacted with our participants (virtually, but directly) how Space travel has evolved massively over various generations and how this space revolution will change the lives of future humankind. 

Upcoming Week…

As our participants head to the end of week-1, they are extremely charged and highly motivated from the Astronaut interaction, and look forward to exploring more on topics ranging from space engineering, business, telecommunications and much more in the coming week lectures and workshops followed by the Online Alumni Conference Weekend and the very old traditional and customary event the Online Space Masquerade!

Hence, let’s continue steadily progressing in this virtual journey of ISU and keep our perseverance going!

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” Neil Armstrong

Supprabha Nambiar – India

Sasiluck Thammasit – Thailand

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