Bonjour from International Space University!

Elizabeth's journal about her experience at International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Read on to find out what she did...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Experiencing Strasbourg

Today was another good day. The lectures in the morning were really good again. Today we talked about management of space projects, the international dimensions of space exploration (mostly about the policies in place for ISS), and space mission design. In the space mission design class John Connolly used the lunar lander that he is working on for NASA as an example. It is so cool to know that we're learning the processes that are being used today to design the next vehicles.

Our afternoon session was a departmental activity. It was my first session with the business and management department, and I am SO glad they let me switch. Alex Tai, the VP of Operations at Virgin Galactic, gave a presentation on what's going on at Virgin Galactic and with Spaceship Two. Then Bob Richards revealed a plan for an International Lunar Observatory, which I don't think we're really allowed to talk about. I can say that he has a great idea. It still needs to be funded, and I'm sure there are a lot of political hurdles to overcome, but it will be awesome if he can pull it off. After their presentations we were given a couple of hours to ask questions of them as well as Chris Sallaberger from MDA and Chris Stott who I mentioned yesterday. I think that was the best part. They didn't always agree, but they all had great insights and seemed to be very open about sharing their successes and their failures. It was an inspiring discussion. I think it made all of us want to do something we are passionate about whether that is space or something completely different.

After the department activity the US students got together to practice for our culture night. One night each week a few countries share information about their culture to help the other students better understand us. We've been told that US students in the past have just given boring power point presentations, but not us! Our current plan is to do something for each region of the country. For the south, we're going to do a country line dance and possibly serve Tex-Mex food. Of course, we'll include some factual information as well, but we're hoping this will be fun.

I finally made it to Auchan today, which is the French version of Wal-Mart. Everything here closes around 8 PM, and since we are usually at ISU until 9, I haven't been able to go. I have been in desperate need of a few things, so it made me a very happy girl to go. The other wonderful thing about tonight was that a few of us skipped out on the cafeteria meal at ISU and went out to eat in Strasbourg. We had tarte flambe, which is a specialty in the Alsace region. It 's sort of like a thin crust pizza with out the pizza sauce. It was delicious! That was followed by a chocolate and banana crepe. Again, delicious! I really wish we had more free time like we have had tonight. I enjoyed being out among the people of Strasbourg indulging in the food and the culture. Right now I'm sitting in my room with the windows open (no AC) listening to some of my fellow classmates playing the guitar and singing downstairs. It's pretty nice. Now I need to go study!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is way cool! I so look forward to your posts and following your wonderful experiences. It was so good to hear your voice yesterday on the answering machine. When we got the message I hope you were asleep as it was probably 1 AM your time.

It is enspiring to read that planning for the future space program seems to be in capable and creative minds. I'm so pleased that you made a move to business and management.

When sharing southern culture don't foget our redneck roots and the convergence of cultures in S'port that resulted in the blending of country, blues, gospel and jazz leading to rock-a-billy and rock-n-roll. The Louisiana Hayride is recognized around the world.

I know there is much to cover in these 2 months but didn't realize your days would be so long with study. I know that good information and good people and a great place make the time go fast.
Love, dad

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are surrounded by motivated and inspired people! I'm so glad that your classes are holding your interest. Be sure and let your cultural-diversity- sharing-adventure reveal your talent for boot-scootin' boogying that will make your Mom proud! I was beginning to worry about you until you said you found time to go I know the earth's axis is still tilting in the right direction! Loved hearing your message on the machine even though we missed your call. We love you and hope there's more fun to come in each and every day. PFY! Love, MOM

11:34 AM  

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