One way I would compare the first week of SH-SSP is similar to a rocket launch itself. No matter how much you prepare for it, you will still be mind blown with the rapid amount of acceleration into things.
Calm before the storm, all staff quietly waiting at their posts for participant registrations, then the first participant walks in, followed by another, until all 46 participants were signed up with orientation.
The participants congregate for the first time Sunday night when all are in a circle, with each introducing themselves with fun facts about themselves.
At the Program Director Omar’s official welcome, the look on the faces of all participants were a mixture of curiousness and excitement. Inspirational speeches were given at the opening ceremony by many including Anthony Murfett, the Acting Head of the Australian Space Agency and Hon. Steven Marshall, the premier of South Australia. Refreshment were followed where everyone had a chance to get to know each other more.
Lectures kicked off Tuesday morning with guest lecturers, including Flavia Tata-Nardini from Fleet Space, who opened minds with possibilities of Space 2.0 and Michael Davis talking floor with Space Law.
In the evening everyone got to give a 3-minute presentation of their ‘Space Journey’.
Walter Peeters lectured about economic rationals of space. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the design thinking workshop this week where they had to build a wallet with innovative ideas.
Towards the end of the week Ady gets everyone excited about Project Management and Systems Engineering. Brett Gooden and Kimberley Norris then deliver an amazing bunch of lectures and workshops in Space Medicine and Space Psychology that the participants had many questions about. The Astronaut and Human Spaceflight Panel was held in City West Campus, where ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli shares his experience in space. Refreshments follow, cheese is served. Joel our French IT guru is happy!
Touchdown in Mawson Lakes. The International Space University has returned to the University of South Australia for the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program. Twelve months after I was a participant at SH-SSP18 I have returned as a Teaching Associate to SH-SSP19. There are many familiar faces on the staff and a wealth of experience which is needed for conducting this unique, intensive and rewarding program.
The Space English Access Course (SEAC) is conducted for one week prior to the main program and is intended to help non-native English speakers grapple with the academic language of the lectures. Some of the highlights included an ethical debate about leaving Elon Musk on Mars, presentations by the TA’s on Australian slang, games of badminton and basketball, some Zumba dances, a small scavenger hunt around Mawson Lakes, close readings of Drops of Jupiter and Hey, Soul Sister by Train and presentations of the core lecture content amongst the SEAC participants. Some of the more adventurous participants are travelling to Uluru and Kangaroo Island for a well deserved break this weekend.
In the meantime, the TA’s and staff have been busy preparing for the arrival of the participants and the commencement of the program. This has included organising welcome bags, setting up rooms and determining logistics for the expert lecturers and instructors who will be travelling from all over the world to contribute to the program.
The staff were treated to a delicious welcome dinner of peking duck at a local favourite restaurant Bailong which was naturally followed up by a walk to Rundle st and a visit to the ice cream shop.
The scene is set and the cast is ready for another fantastic Space Studies Program, some even say it might be the best one yet. What I do know is that the next five weeks will be full of mind expanding knowledge, unforgettable experiences and a unique blend of networking and friendship building that only an ISU program can create. Welcome to another sizzling Adelaide summer of space.