The core curriculum of the SSP consists of the core lectures and fundamental workshops. The Core Lecture Series and associated workshops ensure that participants have a basic grounding and common knowledge in the fundamentals of all the disciplines that are relevant to space programs. It also serves to ensure that participants understand the relationships among the various disciplines in any space-related activity. All participants attend the core lectures and fundamental workshops, which create the basic framework of knowledge to prepare them for informed and balanced judgment and subsequent teamwork.
Core Lectures (CL)
Each major aspect of space activity is presented in a series of lectures designed primarily for non-experts. The lectures do not go into depth or enter into significant detail in any subject, except, perhaps, to illustrate a point. Thus, medical specialists will be able to understand the lectures on propulsion, and engineers and lawyers will be able to understand the lectures on the effects of weightlessness on the human body. The great breadth and diversity of the subjects means, however, that a large quantity of material is covered. Many core lectures are grouped around clusters or themes to highlight the interrelation among disciplines. At the end of the Core Lecture Series, when the whole picture can be pieced together, participants always agree that they have gained a valuable, new, and exciting perspective on space activities.
Three or four core lectures are presented each day for a period of four weeks. Lectures are 60 minutes in duration, including 10 minutes reserved for questions. Lecturers know that their presentations are aimed at non-specialists and that, for many participants, English is not their first language. Therefore they are informed to speak slowly and clearly, to avoid colloquialisms, and to explain specialized language or jargon. The lecturers greatly appreciate signals from the participants when they begin to speak too quickly or introduce difficult language without explanation. Feel free to ask questions for clarification during the lectures, questions by participants and group discussions with the lecturers are highly encouraged.
Participants are expected to attend all lectures, including the lectures in their own area of specialization. There are two key reasons for this. First, it is important when the teamwork activities begin that everyone knows exactly what information on the various subjects has been presented. Second, participants who are more knowledgeable in a particular subject are better placed to offer informal help to fellow participants who may be experiencing difficulty.
As a study aid, Core Lecture Study Notes and PDF files of the core lecture presentations are provided to all participants in electronic format upon their arrival at registration. These notes contain the key concepts and phrases that especially help the participants not familiar with the topic to grasp the basics of each lecture. References for further readings are included in the study notes.
At the end of the Core Lecture Series, participants should be able to: Demonstrate a critical understanding of various disciplines relevant to space programs. Explain the interdisciplinary aspects and relationships of various space-related activities. Develop a basic framework of knowledge in preparation for subsequent individual (department) and group (team project) work.
Fundamental and elective workshops are offered during Phases I and II. All participants take part in the fundamental workshops during the first two weeks of the program. The elective workshops are then offered in parallel. SSP workshops are designed to enhance and complement the knowledge acquired during the core lectures through more active learning in smaller groups. The workshops allow greater interaction and individual learning.
There are four fundamental workshops that are required for all participants: Team Building, Design Thinking, Intercultural Skills, and Report Writing and Presentation. Participants will rotate through these workshops in their TP groups.
Elective workshops are based on personal interests, which provide opportunities to broaden interdisciplinary skills. Participants must sign up for their selected workshops in advance, using an online selection tool. Participants who do not sign up will be assigned to an elective workshop by the SSP Academic Team.