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N° 25–1997: Technology Transfer and Mission to Mars at the International Space University

10 July 1997

Technology Transfer and Strategies for the Exploration of Mars are the design projects assigned to the 96 students from 25 nations who are attending the International Space University (ISU) Summer Session this year.

The course, which started on 7 June and will end on 15 August, is being hosted by Rice University in Houston, Texas (in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center). This has been the 10th Anniversary ISU Summer Session, a program that was inaugurated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) in 1988.

During these ten years, in line with the founders' intention of creating a truly international institution, independent of national or commercial constraints, the ISU Summer Session has been held around the world at a different university each year and counts already about 1200 alumni*.

The ISU Summer Session is an intensive 10-week program for post-graduate students and young professionals of all disciplines related to the space sector. During the course, students are exposed to over a dozen academic or research courses including Space Systems Architecture and Mission Design, Space Business and Management, Space Engineering, Space Life Sciences, Space Policy and Law, Space Resources, Robotics & Manufacturing, Satellite Applications, Space Physical Sciences, Space Informatics and Space & Society.

Each year, ESA sends a group of European students to the ISU summer course. This year, 14 scholarships were awarded to students of ESA's 14 member countries, in addition to six ESA employees who were selected to attend the summer course. ESA has also contributed a Faculty Members, Design Project co-chairs and Visiting Lecturers throughout the course.

In the concluding phase of the Summer Session, the Design Project phase, students work together to produce a complete conceptual design of an international space project and/or programme which covers all technical, financial, organizational and policy aspects. This element of the Summer Session provides students with the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in lectures, workshops and other presentations and allows them to experience top-level decision-making processes in a truly multinational and interdisciplinary environment.

One of the two projects developed this year focuses on Technology Transfer and investigates strategies, policies and methods to improve the cross-fertilization between technologies developed and used by the space sector that may have applications in other sectors such as medicine or transport or environmental applications for instance. The second design project, dubbed "Strategies for the Exploration of Mars" is based on the development of a coherent and coordinated set of strategies and associated infrastructure elements (scientific and environmental data acquisition, data relay infrastructure, space transportation systems, operational resources, etc.) for international robotics and eventual human Mars exploration over the next 25 years.

The International Space University is a non-profit, educational institution specializing in multidisciplinary, advanced space studies programs. Since 1994, ISU has had its permanent home in Strasbourg, France where it offers an 11-month Master of Space Studies programme. For further information on ISU, contact the Strasbourg Central Campus, tel:+, Fax:+ ( or contact ESA's Education Office, Personnel Department, tel.:+, fax:+ (

* Previous ISU Summer Session have been held in the following places:

1988: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

1989: Université Louis Pasteur (ULP), Strasbourg, France

1990: Institute for Space and Terrestrial Sciences (ISTS), Toronto, Canada

1991: Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC) Formation Internationale Aéronautique et Spatiale (FIAS), Toulouse, France

1992: City of Kitakyushu, Japan

1993: University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Huntsville, Alabama, USA

1994: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain

1995: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden

1996: Austrian Society for Aerospace Medicine (ASM), Vienna, Austria

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