The SSP “Space Studies Program” is an intensive professional development course for postgraduate participants, as well as for young and seasoned professionals of all disciplines. A nine-week program that covers the main space related fields. The 32nd edition is taking place this summer in Strasbourg at the International Space University (ISU) and will welcome 120 participants from all around the world. 


What about ISU ? The International Space University is specialized in providing graduate-level training to the future leaders of the emerging global space community. ISU is located at Central Campus in Strasbourg, France, and at locations around the world. Since its founding in 1987, ISU has graduated more than 4600 students from over 100 countries. For more information:

“This INTERNATIONAL, INTERCULTURAL and INTERDISCIPLINARY working environment is an ideal networking forum.”

In brief, the program includes : Core lecture series, departmental Focus and Team Projects. It will last for nine weeks and will be the international meeting of “hundreds of world leading experts in the space filed along with astronauts, heads of space agencies and local politicians. They will all share their knowledge with participants from all around the world and engage them in International and Interdisciplinary professional development”, said Dr.Omar Hatamleh, SSP executive Director, ISU/NASA.

We met three participants to learn more about this amazing program which started in Strasbourg at the end of June… 

Antonino Salmeri is 26 years old and come from Italy: “ I am a #SpaceOptimist”

Antonino Salmeri in the center with the French Astronaut Jean-François Clervoy (left) and the Italian Paolo Nespoli from NASA (right)

“I hold three Master Degrees in Law and I am currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Luxembourg, where I also work as a researcher. In the space sector I have already worked for a British startup called AMC and Airbus DS NL.

I am doing SSP to broaden my perspective on space issues and to share our amazing journey through the stars with a new family, the International Space University. I have visited France a few times (Paris, Mt. Saint Michel and Marseille), but I have never actually lived here before SSP.”

Gilad Sivan is from Israël : “Space brings people together”

“I’m an engineering student that lives in Tel-Aviv. I came to the SSP to learn more about space. My wish is to become an astronaut and space entrepreneur. 

The reason for that: space brings people together, you can look at Russia and the USA, they have a lot of conflicts but they manage to cooperate in the space sector. I wish to do the same in the Middle East. Moreover, the challenges of the space sector demand innovative solutions so I think that by doing space works, we better ourselves.”

Erin RobotGrrl from Ottawa (Ontario) Canada : “We’re in an exciting time to take ideas to fruition and go to space — this is why I’m here at SSP19!”

“I’m the founder of a startup, Robot Missions, where we are making a robot platform for tackling environmental challenges – such as collecting plastic pollution. We have tested prototypes on a beach, and so far we have 5 robots. I’m also a designer at Bayview Yards, where I help entrepreneurs develop their prototypes. My experience is non-traditional, as I learned how to build robots through online tutorials, community forums, and mentors. 

I am fascinated with exploratory space robotics and all the opportunities that the new space era is presenting us for entrepreneurship. We’re in an exciting time to take ideas to fruition and go to space — this is why I’m here at SSP19! It is my first time outside of North America. While in France, I backpacked and visited the engineering marvel Millau Viaduct, hiking in Grenoble, and Juno Beach. France is beautiful!”

The participants have many expectations for this summer…


Antonino : “I would like to be a better space lawyer !”

I came to SSP to be a better space lawyer and thus at the end of the program I expect to have formed a solid knowledge on all the fundamental aspects of space issues. Further, I also joined SSP to expand my network of connections and there is no better community than the ISU family.


Gilad : “How can I contribute to society through the space industry ?”

My expectations are to meet a lot of different people, get well connected in the space industry and to figure out how I can contribute to society through the space industry.


Erin : “ It’s a dream to be on the audacious Fast Transit to Mars team project”

My goals originally for this program were to meet 30 people who resonate with futuristic ideas, come up with 2-5 excellent startup ideas, and understand more about the intersection of certain fields. One example is the intersection of generative design + additive manufacturing with lunar habitats. I want to meet people related to MIT Media Lab, NASA JPL and Ames, and startup founders. It’s a dream to be on the audacious Fast Transit to Mars team project. At some point I want to wire up my robot’s brain and get it rolling, too. We’re just starting – stay tuned for our future updates.

And when we ask them about their first impression…


Antonino : “Quality of the classes, prestige of the lecturers and the amazing humans of SSP”

“I am truly amazed by the Space Studies Program. Already from day 1, I immediately got the impression that this would be a life-changing experience, and this feeling consolidates more and more as the weeks go by. Inter alia, I have been really impressed by the quality of the classes, the prestige of the lecturers and of course the amazing humans of SSP, both within the staff and the participants.”


Gilad : “Very multicultural”

“My first impression is that it is very multicultural. There are about 120 students most of them from different countries all over the world. It’s exciting to be in a so diverse environment.”


Erin : “There are amazing moments!”

“My first impression of SSP is that it’s possible I might not fit in very well, as my priorities are not similar of fellow participants. For example, I wasn’t expecting to be sitting in lectures for half a day or the entire day. My learning style does not align with this, so I spend the time drawing many startup ideas in my notebook. Passing the exams due to this might be unlikely, however, for me my definition of success is different: based on my specific goals.

There are amazing moments! For example, meeting Dr. Jim Green, Chief Scientist at NASA. He was receptive to my crazy ideas, such as a space blimp to Jupiter, and we also discussed lava tubes for how this might work for habitats and transportation through a planet. It was really exciting and fun to riff ideas with him!”



Antonino from Italy, Erin from Canada and Gilad from Israel

Let’s see in a few weeks how this program goes and how the participants continue to enjoy it… keep in touch !

Laetitia Koenig, Strasbourg Europtimist.