ISU Continues to Stay in Touch with Previous SSP Host Sites
During the astronaut panel of ISU’s Space Studies Program SSP17 in Cork, Ireland, one of the invited astronauts, Paolo Nespoli, was not able to attend as he was in quarantine for his next long-duration flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
In order to compensate for his absence, he agreed to take a number of flags to space - of the Cork County, CIT (Cork Institute of Technology), ie the host site, as well as one ISU flag.
All flags flew in space on board of ISS during 139 days and were labeled with the onboard stamps and individual QR codes.
At a ceremony in Cork, ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli and ISU President Prof. Peeters addressed a large public explaining the background of this unique endeavor and the framed flags were handed over officially to the respective officials.
Also the ISU flag was handed over and, with the QR code allowing to obtain more information, will be displayed proudly in ISU. A picture of the ISU flag floating in the ISS Cupola can be seen hereafter
It is certainly worth noting that it became clear in the discussions with local representatives that this SSP in Cork was an important milestone in the Irish space history. In particular, the Team Project suggesting the creation of an Irish Space Agency is being considered as a catalyst for the region, and a formal consultation is now taking place by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation of the Irish Government.
This is another strong indication of the importance of the rotating ISU SSP program and the impact thereof on the global space sector!
Photo Credit: Paolo Nespoli, Claire Keogh