The International Space University Summer Space Programme (SSP17) will take place at Cork Institute of Technology from June 26th – August 25th 2017. Being awarded SSP17 represents a significant achievement for Ireland (this being the first time an SSP has been held here and given the international competition against which the application was successful), for Cork, and CIT (which is supporting enterprise across a wide spread of domains and is now seeking a lead role in the national space agenda). The SSP program generally attracts from 90 to 130 participants, about 25 faculty and usually more than 100 visiting lecturers coming from all parts of the world, including 3-5 astronauts for a flagship promotional event called “Astronaut Splashdown”. Participants are generally space professionals, with an average age of 32.
Every summer, the SSP takes place in a different location around the world. Recent sessions have convened in Adelaide (Australia), Graz (Austria), the NASA Ames Research Center (USA), Beijing (China), Melbourne (USA), Montreal (Canada), Athens (USA) and Haifa (Israel). This is the first time that the SSP will be held in Ireland or the UK and it represents a considerable coup given the competition. Ireland is considered by the organisers to be one of the “hot locations” and it is expected that there will be a huge interest in coming to Cork for SSP17.
CIT is dedicating two of its buildings to housing SSP17 participants, its award winning Tourism & Hospitality Building and its cutting edge Architecture Factory. CIT’s Blackrock Castle Observatory, which is coordinating National Space Week (an annual STEM week funded by Science Foundation Ireland and commencing in October 2016), will play a central outreach role.
The SSP itself is an intense nine‐week program which offers the participants a unique and comprehensive professional development experience covering all aspects of space programs and enterprises. Disciplines highlighted include space physical sciences; space engineering; space policy, economics and law; space management and business; space and the humanities; space applications; and human performance in space. The program targets young and seasoned professionals from all disciplines as well as post‐graduate university students. The team projects allow participants to refine the topic as a team, and also produce professional quality reports and final presentations, all in the span of a few weeks.
Interspersed throughout the session are Theme Days on current issues and topics, workshops with hands-on activities, professional visits, and rocket launches.