Blast Off to Space University: 4 Must-Attend Events


This summer, 150 space professionals from across the globe will converge in Athens for International Space University (ISU), which provides graduate-level training to leaders of the emerging global space community.

Athens is lucky to have the chance to host many unique programs and festivals, but we are especially excited to be hosting the International Space University Space Studies Program through Aug. 7. Every year, Space Studies convenes in a different location around the world—and this year they chose Athens! Past locations have included Strasburg, France, Barcelona, Spain and Beijing, China.

There will be a variety of out-of-this-world panelists, competitions and keynote speakers that are open to the public. Here are four events great events you have to attend:

1) Rocket Launch | Saturday, July 18, 1 to 5 p.m. | Gordon K. Bush Ohio University Airport

Teams of graduate level ISU participants from all over the world will design and launch model rockets that must meet a certain set of design criteria. Teams will design the airframes, select the motors, use computers to simulate the flight and construct the rocket in a limited period of time. Then, you can watch them set off the rockets they built!

2) International Astronaut Panel | Wednesday, June 17, 8:30 to 11 p.m. | Ohio University’s Baker Center Ballroom



Panelists of the International Astronaut Panel

Guests will have the chance to interact with an outstanding group of spaceflight veterans who represent more than 40 years of experience on just about every vehicle that has ever taken humans into space.

Panelists include:

  • Harrison Jack Schmitt: The Lunar Module pilot of 1972’s Apollo 17 missions. The only scientist to walk on the moon!
  • Sergei Krikalev: Record-holder for most days in space by a human – 803 days, including 8 EVAs. His spaceflight career spans from 1988 to 2005.
  • Paolo Nespoli: An Italian astronaut, he’s flown on Space Shuttle Mission STS-120 in 2007, and on Soyuz to the International Space Station to serve as flight engineer for Expedition 26/27 during 2010-11.
  • Bob Thirsk: A Canadian astronaut who flew aboard Space Shuttle for Spacelab mission STS-78 in 1996 and flew to the ISS aboard Soyuz as flight engineer for Expedition 20/21 in 2009.

3) Arthur C. Clarke Panel | Wednesday, June 24, 8 to 11 p.m. | Ohio University’s Baker Center Ballroom

Notable personalities from cinema, television, print and social media discuss how space, both real and imagined, has become part of American culture.

  • Mike Resnick: Five-time Hugo Award winning science fiction author and one of the top science fiction writers ever published.
  • John Beck-Hofmann: Award winning producer/director/editor/DP and composer at NASA/JPL for more than 20 years. His latest work, a documentary called “Red Planet Rover,” just aired on the Discovery Channel.
  • Joe Pelton: Pulitzer Prize-nominated author with nearly 40 books. He is the founder and vice chairman of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.
  • Daniel St. Pierre: Director and production designer on several Hollywood movies, including “Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey” and “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.”
  • Co-chairs of the event are Mr. Michael Potter and Harry Kloor, who are both are graduates of ISU and award-winning filmmakers in their own right.

4) Robotics Competition | Friday, June 26, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. | Ohio University’s Academic and Research Center and Stocker Center

LEGO kits, talent and a lot of imagination! ISU participants, assisted by robotics experts, will design and build autonomous robots following precise specifications to simulate planetary exploration. Robots will have to avoid obstacles and collect the most “gemstones” in the shortest given time.
For more information and for a full event schedule, visit Ohio University’s website.