First ESA lecture series for EuMAS university students
Earlier this month forty students from the University of Pisa, in Italy, attended the first lecture series given by ESA experts as part of the European Master Course in Aeronautics and Space Technology (EuMAS).
The three 3-hour lectures covered topics including international cooperation in technology programmes, space system engineering and the engineering parameters behind Europe's Mars exploration mission, ExoMars.
Attendance of the lecture series was compulsory for the twenty-four EuMAS students who are currently in the first year of the two-year Masters degree course. A further sixteen students from the university's Aerospace Engineering course also attended.
Feedback received via an evaluation form indicates that the students rated the lectures highly - most found them very motivating and an interesting initiative that is certainly worthwhile to be repeated.
An initiative of the European Commission through the Erasmus Mundus programme, five European universities jointly offer a two-year master course over a five-year period. Each course cycle is hosted in turn by two of the partner universities.
The students spend their first year at one location and move to the second university for the second year. The 2005/6 edition of EuMAS, which is hosted by the University of Pisa and Supaero Toulouse, in France, started at the beginning of the current academic year.
As the main non-academic contributor and sponsor of the new world-class course in aerospace engineering, ESA has a commitment to provide the students with a series of lectures on human spaceflight and exploration by experts in the field each academic year.
The second intake of first year students will take place in October this year – and will be hosted by the Technical University of Munich, in Germany. So far around 220 applications have been received for just 25 places.
The successful applicants to the second EuMAS course can look forward to a special expert lecturer – ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter is due to present one of the lectures from space. Reiter will join the students in their lecture theatre directly from the International Space Station (ISS) where, starting from July, he is due to spend six to seven months on Europe's first long-duration ISS mission.
ESA will soon sign an agreement with a further five European universities for another Erasmus Mundus degree course which will be known as 'SpaceMaster'.