The first International Space University (ISU) Space Studies Program (SSP22) opening ceremony in Portugal drew more than 200 guests on Monday 27th June 2022 – for a ceremony combining tradition, symbols, rituals, and modernity, aiming to generate cultural meaning and spur immediate connections between participants.
The celebration welcomed 107 participants from 37 countries – including for the first time at an SSP, a participant from the Maldives – along with dozens of faculty and guest lecturers, and staff.
The President of Portugal, Dr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa greeted the group via a video address: “Hosting the International Space University’s Space Studies Program is a symbol of how important space is for Portugal, for science, and in particular for space research and technology.” Listen to the full address.
Speakers – introduced one after the other by ISU SSP22 director Arif Göktuğ Karacalıoğlu – included:
- Isaltino Morais, Mayor of Oeiras
- Christian Sallaberger, ISU Board of Trustees chairman
- Rogério Colaço, Instituto Superior Técnico
- Pascale Ehrenfreund, ISU President
- Eng Ricardo Conde, Head of Portuguese Space Agency
- Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal
- Hugo Andre Costa, ISU alumnus and Head of the Local Organizing Committee
Ricardo Conde, President of Portuguese Space Agency said:
“This SSP brings together a strong inspiration and motivation from all participants. It also encompasses diverse expertise and knowledge from all lecturers and high-level experts. This will contribute, for sure, to a deep understanding on how space sciences and space technologies can address the current main societal challenges, particularly the climate changes and the sustainability of the biodiversity of our planet and, at the end our existence.”
“An exciting program awaits SSP22 participants! You will be immersed in the Portuguese space ecosystem which is very entrepreneurial and internationally connected. You will work on exciting Team Projects that address current trends in the space sector,“ said ISU President Prof Pascale Ehrenfreund. “The participants will gain a strong understanding of the Portuguese, European and worldwide space industries and their importance in the global space sector.”
Portugal is home to six European Unicorns, being one of the most thriving nations in entrepreneurship in Europe, resulting in a myriad of opportunities for new space startups. During the last year, Portuguese space startups raised nearly 15 million Euro from Portuguese private investors.
This ceremony was also a first opportunity to discover Portuguese culture – the amazing voice of Teresinha Landeiro singing fado, traditional music, did not leave the audience emotionless, far from it!
ISU is very excited to be hosted by Portugal Space and the Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), Taguspark Campus in the city of Oeiras, Portugal, from 27 June to 26 August 2022 to offer its intensive, multidisciplinary, intercultural, and international two-months in-residence Space Studies Program and five-week online program.
The SSP22 director, Göktuğ Karacalıoğlu concluded by thanking and reading out the names of all the sponsors, without whom this Space Studies Program could not take place, and declared this 34th edition open!