Status Report

NASA Ames Research Center Starts Preparations for Hosting 2009 International Space University

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2007
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NASA Ames Research Center Starts Preparations for Hosting 2009 International Space University

In a previous blog, we discussed the history of the International Space University (ISU). In this blog, we will look at the future for ISU, specifically in relation to NASA. The ISU has never been hosted at a U.S. Federal facility. “I recognized and I think everyone else recognized that it was critical to devote some attention to this to get ahead of the curve and to prepare the center because we knew that there were some things that we were going to have to do to be ready. It was important to start early,” said Donald James, Project Manager for the International Space University.

James led a team of Ames employees to write the ISU proposal for Ames to host in 2009. With his background in both education and international affairs, he seemed the logical candidate to be project manager. So, James decided to leave his position as Director of Education to be the ISU Program Manager. “I had mixed feelings about leaving NASA education. I love NASA education and I still do. However, I was tremendously excited about this new opportunity. I have the opportunity to do a great job and put my heart and soul into this. That is very exciting to me,” said James.

Some Ames employees have already volunteered to be guest lecturers for ISU. “I have signed letters of intent from several scientists stating that they want to participate,” said James.

James is setting up an ISU Ambassador Program. With this program, Ames employees agree to work with ISU students, helping acclimate them to the area.


The International Space University (ISU) recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary of providing graduate level training to the future leaders of the global space community. The ISU specializes in space programs such as space science, space engineering, space policy and law, business and management, and space and society. The program offers both a two-month Summer Session Program and a one-year Masters program. NASA Ames Research Center recently was selected to host the ISU for the summer session in 2009.

One of the things that ISU focuses on is that they emphasize the three I’s, representing that the program is international, interdisciplinary, and intercultural. “The interdisciplinary is definitely a key component. It’s not just astrophysicists, engineers and scientists. It’s people who are interested in issues like space intellectual property. These are going to be emerging issues as access to space eventually becomes easier,” said Donald James, Project Manager for the International Space University.

The relationship between ISU and NASA started 20 years ago, as NASA provided a small grant to help start ISU. “NASA was supportive from the start, engaged throughout, and currently, especially with Dr. Worden’s interest, and winning the opportunity to host the program NASA is playing a more prominent role,” said James.

For the last three years, NASA has provided services such as sending NASA employees to work for ISU. The current executive director of the summer session is Gary Martin and is a NASA employee. His detail ends at the conclusion of the summer Beijing program so NASA will be sending another person to ISU to replace Martin.

Coming soon we will have a blog about what Ames has to offer as the host of the 2009 ISU summer session.

SpaceRef staff editor.