International Space University

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International Space University

As space programs become increasingly international and commercial in nature, the education of the space-sector workforce needs to continually adapt to maintain this pace. The International Space University (ISU) is dedicated to meeting this challenge by training the world's next generation of professionals who will lead the way into space.

The ISU provides postgraduate training for students of all nations who are interested in space. Each year, the ISU conducts a two-month summer program in various locations around the world. Examples of past ISU Summer Session locations include Thailand, Chile, Sweden, and the United States. In addition, the ISU provides a master of space studies program at its central campus in Strasbourg, France.

Because specialist knowledge alone is no longer sufficient to meet the challenges of complex space programs implemented by governments and companies from around the world, the ISU presents an interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural approach. The university provides participants with a thorough appreciation of how space programs and space business work. This is accomplished through extensive coursework in science, engineering, law and policy, business and management, and other space-related fields. In addition, all ISU students participate in a student design project that allows them to integrate their classroom learning in a complex, hands-on, practical exercise. Because this design project is conducted with classmates from all over the world, it allows ISU students to master the challenges of working with international teammates in an intercultural environment.

Since the first summer session in 1988, more than 1,500 students from more than 75 countries have reaped the benefits of an ISU education. Most of these students have gone on to work in successful careers in space and related fields. Universally, ISU alumni credit their professional success to the broad intellectual perspectives gained at the university as well as to their extensive international network of contacts in the space community. The university's interactive, international environment provides its students with continuous opportunities to forge professional relationships with colleagues and with its faculty, who also come from many different countries.

The Origins of the International Space University

The ISU was the brainchild of three young men* in their early twenties who, as college students, became interested in space exploration. Passionate about space, they proposed a university dedicated to a broad range of space-related subjects for graduate students from all parts of the world. With their enthusiasm, they succeeded in winning over important players in the space field, including science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who became chancellor of ISU. The founders' vision for the university was that it would be an institution dedicated to a peaceful, prosperous, and boundless future through the study, exploration, and development of space for the benefit of all humanity.

The ISU began to materialize in the summer of 1988 as participants in the first ISU summer session gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Four years after this initial session, Strasbourg, France, was selected as the site for the ISU central campus. The first master of space studies program was initiated in September 1995 following the move of the campus to Europe.

see also Careers in Space Science (volume 2); Education (volume 1).

Margaret G. Finarelli

Internet Resources

International Space University. <>.

*Peter H. Diamandis, Todd B. Hawley, and Robert D. Richards founded the International Space University.

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International Space University

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International Space University