ISU Brings Astronaut Activities to the People of Strasbourg

In the context of the now traditional astronaut panel for the International Space University ISU Master of Space Studies MSS class, the opportunity was taken to organize a public event in cooperation of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg on 18 December 2018 in the early evening.

In a prestigious setting in the Eurometropolis’ building, in the center of town, a number of local citizens were invited for bilingual presentations. As it became clear from the registrations that there would be a large number of families with astronauts in spe in the approximative 150 public attending, the program was adapted to this.

First a presentation was made in French by ISU Emeritus President Prof. Walter Peeters based upon his previous experience working at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne. Under the motto ‘how to become an astronaut’ the general criteria for selection and the specific training phases were explained. Evidently emphasis was put on STEM, good school results and a healthy life, including adventure sports such as mounting climbing and rafting.

Dr. Robert Thirsk then showed a video on how he spent 205 days in space, first in a Shuttle mission and afterwards on-board of the International Space Station, using the Russian Soyuz space transportation system.

In his well-prepared softly accented French voice explanations, dr. Thirsk showed the various aspects of living in space emphasizing that one of the strongest prerequisites for astronauts were interdisciplinarity as, on board, besides scientific work, a lot of e.g. repairs require dexterity skills in different fields.

Evidently after these excellent introductions there were a plentitude of questions, whereby priority was given to youngsters, who asked very pertinent questions on pollution due to launches, concern about space debris and the risks for astronaut activities and disposal of modules at the end of their lifetime. And also a number of questions targeting future missions to Mars and beyond, which clearly demonstrated that the young public is eager to continue the present endeavors and explore far beyond Low Earth Orbit.

Events of this nature bring the citizens in closer contact with space activities in general, and in particular make the upcoming generation of space explorers dream of their future space achievements.