SHSSP22 TA Blog – Week 1
So it Begins!
The 17th of January, 2022 saw the official start of the Southern-Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SHSSP22) with the opening ceremony presented by SSP/SHSSP director Kenol Jules. It was the opportunity for our 36 participants to introduce themselves, alongwith several other guest speakers, including our very own ISU president Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund.
This year the online course was split into Australian sessions and European sessions organized by the International Space University (ISU) and the University of South Australia (UniSA). The Team Project (TP) this year is on using Artificial Intelligence to Develop Space Mission Strategies with a focus on Optimizing Lunar Output Location. This will be developed over the 5-week program culminating in a TP report and presentation.
The sessions began with a workshop on Cross-Cultural Communication. This excellent workshop was driven by the wonderful Carol Carnett and Philomena Bonis. It involved several activities to get participants to develop consideration for cross-cultural communication in this virtual environment where we can lack much of the in-person understanding or awareness. We practiced our model faces and remember ‘Humankind – be both’.
This was followed for the AU side by ISU’s former president Juan de Dalmau on Team Communications, critical to the success of the TP and core in ISU’s principles of embracing and developing intercultural, interdisciplinary, and international teamwork. Useful topics such as processes to handle conflict and managing team discussions in an organized and importantly, inclusive manner. On the other side of the Earth, for the EU side, Imre Végh held the workshop.
The next day consisted of Origins of the Space Age and the Future of Leadership. Origins of the Space Age, given by Kerrie Dougherty of the Australian Space Agency, explores the background of rocketry, as well as the history and development of humanity going to space as a consequence of the 20th-century geopolitical agendas, perhaps too early!
The European side was then treated to a workshop on the Future of Leadership given by Mia Kleregard at the Swedish Space Corporation where they are currently developing Sweden’s very own spaceport!. An interesting tale of her own experiences and difficulties, with how that has led to her developing the understanding of what is required for future leaders in the creation of a sustainable future. Her talk has been extremely inspiring for the participants, it was a very emotional moment as well.
On the divide between the time zones, we saw the first of the TP sessions where the participants can start organizing themselves as a group, already implementing what they have learned from seminars. Furthermore, the middle of the week sees different mentoring and coaching sessions which allowed the participants to directly connect with their mentors and coaches. Very meaningful moments where advice and tips are given!
This is followed by the Origins and Principles of Space Law instructed by expert Michael Davis focused on detailing the five existing international space treaties, the key principles and the most prominent issues in space law. The development of space law is of course critical to overseeing inclusive access and use of space for all. The day was completed by Dr. Mona Nasser with an engaging workshop on Designing Clinical Trials. Reflecting on the importance yet difficulty of preparing and understanding clinical research for aerospace medicine, particularly as we look to long-term interplanetary missions. The workshop got the participants very involved and put a lot of effort into working with Mona!
Space Medicine Time! Prolonged space flights overstress our bodies, to prevent this, making studies and trying to prevent main issues can help to limit the potential dangers. Space Medicine and Life Support systems were instructed for the EU side from Volker Damann and AU side from Christophe Lasseur and Brett Gooden. This enabled participants to understand the importance of being able to describe the needs of the human body in space and the importance of providing complete support.
Alongside the workshops and lectures, we had several social events to allow students to socialize and get to know each other in a more relaxed manner. The first of these events was the My Space Journey where participants share their diverse experiences, backgrounds and their journey into the field of space. The week then finished with a fantastic opportunity to meet and discuss with Astronaut Robert Thirsk.
After this first exciting week, participants are finally getting into the ISU rhythm! The following weeks are going to be extremely intense yet inspiring. They will be exploring Artificial Intelligent and Machine Learning (IA/ML) both with lectures and workshops, Satellites, Telecommunication and Space Economy.
Giorgio Lorini & James Hurrell