Saturday, 30 March 2013

2013 so far

Since my last post, a great deal has changed in my life. I've visited CNES - the French Space Agency in Toulouse as well as met Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk. He told the story of his 300 orbits around the Earth and beautifully described the unique view he had of our planet.

"City lights look like diamonds scattered on black velvet" - Bob   Thirsk

Astronaut Bob Thirsk visited the Masters class at the International Space University, Strasbourg

I attended the 17th Annual International Space University (ISU) symposium at my univiersty last month. The subject being Space Tech & Tele-reach,  a variety of speakers were both physically and tele-present, including:

- Mazlan Othman, Deputy DG of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA)
- Mars Curiosity systems engineer Jessica Sameuls from the LA based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
- Todd. A. May, Manager of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS)

 I was also lucky enough to meet the wonderfully creative Nelly Ben Hayoun who taught my class about the wonders of space experience design. Nelly brought a lot of laughter, inspiration and warmth to the university and her workshop on creating what we imagine to be the sound of the Curiosity Rover on Mars was by far the most fun I've had in a workshop yet.

Todd. A. May introduces the SLS as the "next great ship" the ISU 17th
Annual International Symposium
Nelly Ben Hayoun and the space women of the Masters class at ISU pose
after a fun-filled day of space experience design

I visited local French digital image process company, SERTIT to try my hand at some of their work earlier this year. It's amazing to think that such work leads to quick response times for disaster management around the world.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Chris Kemp flew to Strasbourg for the first ISU lunchtime seminar in Febuary. The Microsoft & OpenStack businessman gave us valuable advice on what it really takes to build your own successful start up.

"Make whatever you spend your time on as big & bold as you possibly can" - Chris Kemp

Earlier in the year, my class joined forces with the other students of the ISU building in a Robot Competition (or war as we liked to put it!). 81 students, 2 universities and a Lego Mindstorm kit each...we were equipped equally yet there was only one winner.  'Triceratops' managed to collect the most gems and avoid the most obstacles. Better luck next time..because there will be a next time knowing us space geeks!

I've loved 2013 so far. Attending ISU has provided me with opportunities I would have previously only dreamt of. I plan to spend the summer in California as an intern at NASA Ames Research Centre, something I would not have imagined to be true a couple of years ago. I hope this blog is a great insight into life as a young graduate student, aspiring to to be part of the space race of tomorrow. 


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