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SSP23 BLOG – Week -1

With just one week remaining until the participants' arrival, the excitement is reaching its peak! This week, most of the International Space University’s (ISU) Space Studies Program (SSP23) teaching associates from around the globe have finally joined forces, all united by the shared goal of making SSP23 an extraordinary success.

Our week kicked off with an immersive tour of the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) and Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) campus, led by the insightful Colonel Figueiredo. His guidance shed light on the campus layout, offering us valuable insights. However, we received a surprising cautionary note about the seemingly harmless Capybara, giant cavy rodent native to South America. Despite their cute appearance, we were advised to observe them from a safe distance. Who knew they could bite? Furthermore, we learned that SSP23's presence has influenced the authorities to reschedule the regional airshow, allowing both the SSP23 Mission Control Team (MCT) and participants to witness the Brazilian military's prowess firsthand.

As we draw closer to the participants' arrival, we dedicated time to training sessions aimed at ensuring their seamless navigation and full enjoyment of this remarkable program. Speaking of navigation, we are currently putting the finishing touches on signage for the areas where SSP23 activities will take place. This meticulous attention is necessary, as even the colonel and other military personnel who have been on the base for years can sometimes find themselves lost due to the seemingly random labeling of the buildings.

Figure 1: Team building session where the Mission Control Team learnt ways to communicate more efficiently.

To celebrate the rich diversity and multiculturalism of this year's SSP23 MCT, we engaged in numerous creative team-building activities. These exercises allowed us to visualize the unique perspectives and strengths that each team member brings to the table.

Figure 2: Testing of the launch system used by Bravo, the Universidade do Vale do Paraíba (UNIVAP) aerospace team

An exciting highlight of the week was our visit to the area where the rockets built by the SSP23 participants will be launched from and to top it off, we were fortunate enough to witness a launch, courtesy of Bravo, the Universidade do Vale do Paraíba (UNIVAP) aerospace team. It was an incredible opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the launch system in action.

Figure 3: One of the many pizzas made during the make your own pizza night event

To round off the week, we indulged in a "make your own pizza" dinner night, where we had the chance to showcase our individual tastes in food. Some choices were definitely intriguing! Additionally, we sampled the restaurant where we will be going with the participants for lunch. Trust me when I say there's an abundance of delicious food waiting for us. We all can’t wait for the SSP23 participants to join us and the sight of the swarm of yellow bikes filling the campus bike lanes!!