Haifa to host International Space University major parley
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Haifa to host International Space University major parley

The prestigious institution that trains astronauts, among others, will hold its premier event in 2016 at the Technion

A model of SpaceIL's lunar landing craft prototype , which an Israeli group proposes to send to the moon (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A model of SpaceIL's lunar landing craft prototype , which an Israeli group proposes to send to the moon (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Where do space men and women go to learn their craft? At “space school” — specifically, International Space University, a France-based institution offering training in engineering, aeronautics, space policy and economics, legal and political issues, and much more. The highlight of the ISU year is its intense Space Studies Program — and this week, ISU announced that it had chosen the Technion to host the 2016 Program.

“We are delighted to be taking the SSP to Israel for our first session to be offered in the Middle East,” said Dr. Angie Bukley, dean of ISU. “The Technion features world-class facilities and a beautiful campus. Haifa is an excellent location to deliver our signature Interdisciplinary, International, and Intercultural Space Studies Program.”

ISU is in many ways the educational backbone of the international space “industry.” The not-for-profit interdisciplinary university was founded in 1987, offers a Master of Science in Space Studies (MSS) and Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degrees, and has so far graduated over 3,700 professionals — many of them in the top tiers of space, satellite, and aerial defense programs in countries around the world. At least 13 astronauts — representing all countries that have manned space programs — have advanced degrees from ISU.

Its big annual event is the nine week Space Studies Program (SSP), which takes place every summer. The program has anything a space professional could want: discussions and labs on space physical sciences, space engineering, space policy, economics and law, space management and business, space and the humanities, space applications, human performance in space, and more. Besides individual learning, the program also features team projects, with groups presenting their projects to all participants at the end of the SSP.

Recent SSP sessions have taken place in Poland, the NASA Ames Research Center, Beijing, and in Melbourne. This year the SSP will take place in Montréal, Quebec, Canada — and in 2016, it will be Israel’s turn, chosen because of the country’s advances in space and satellite research. The Technion has worked extensively with the ISU, said its President, Prof. Walter Peeters. “It is a genuine pleasure for ISU to further enhance this relationship,” especially because of the “considerable interest from other countries to discover more closely the amazing high-tech achievements and cultural richness” of Israel, he said.

For the Technion, hosting the Program is a singular honor — and a well deserved one, said Technion President, Prof. Peretz Lavie. “The Technion is one of the first universities to launch a satellite and has an active space program. We will ensure that the 29th SSP program will be an exciting event that will allow the participants to experience first-hand Technion scientific achievements, and the beauty and culture of Israel.”

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