Delft’s sizzling summer of space

For nine weeks starting next Monday, June 25 , 135 students and 220 lecturers from all over the world will take over the Aerospace Engineering Faculty. They will be participating in the Space Studies Program, an annual course organised by the International Space University.

TU Delft has partnered up with Leiden University, ESA-ESTEC and the Netherlands Space Office to host the 31stSpace Studies Program (SSP). The SSP is a summer course that offers a broad overview of the space sector to graduate students and professionals from very diverse backgrounds who aspire to develop a career in space.

There is also a festive programme for the general public. Together with its partners, TU Delft has organised the “Sizzling Summer of Space”, an outreach programme with events for children, local residents and space enthusiasts. The programme includes activities such as the Unlimited Space film festival at the Filmhouse Lumen, a robot lander competition for schoolchildren, and a lecture by Jeffrey A. Hoffman, the NASA astronaut who repaired the Hubble Space Telescope.

For this year’s edition of the SSP, the organization will fly in around 220 lecturers, including MIT professors, NASA and ESA astronauts, science-fiction writers and film directors. “Many of the lecturers are really well-known scientists,” clarified Ineke Boneschansker, Communication Manager of the AE Faculty. This is why the organisation opens up part of the programme to the general public.

King Willem-Alexander will be at the opening ceremony

For students, the main prerequisite to participate in the SSP is to have “a strong interest in space engineering and technologies”, explained Pieter Visser, Professor of Astrodynamics and Space Missions in the Space Engineering Department and member of the Local Organizing CommitteeThe SSP covers a multidisciplinary curriculum related to space, from engineering and physical sciences to law, business, medicine and humanities. 

Inés Uriol, PhD candidate from TU Delft and the only participant fully sponsored by the university, believes that taking part at the SSP is a good investment for her future. “I am not sure of what I will do after my PhD, but I know I want to develop my career in the space sector. The SSP will give me a global overview of the field, complementing my technical knowledge.”

The opportunity for networking is also “a key advantage of joining the SSP”, continued Inés. The ISU has a very tight community of over 4,000 alumni from around the world. 

During the program, TU Delft will take care of most of the logistics. The students will be housed in Delft, and the majority of the lectures will take place in the AE building. In addition, at least five professors from TU Delft will participate in the SSP as lecturers. 

The SSP travels every summer to a different country, and this is the first time the Netherlands is hosting it. King Willem-Alexander will be at the opening ceremony of this year’s event, which is being held at the ESA-ESTEC facilities in Noordwijk next Monday, June 25.

spacestudiesdelft_MariaRubal.jpgTU Delft will take care of most of the logistics. (Photo: Maria Rubal)

Maria Rubal / science editor

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