To accomplish its mission and goals, FISE established United Space School, an educational entity managed, coordinated, and funded by the Foundation. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, with a panel of distinguished aerospace professionals serving in an advisory capacity. The Board strives to ensure a beneficial and enjoyable United Space School educational experience.
FISE invites students from over 28 countries to Houston, Texas each summer to participate in United Space School. Participating countries and their respective schools are recommended by individuals associated with NASA JSC, as well as various international aerospace and education entities. Many of the countries selecting students for Space School are currently partners in development and operation of the International Space Station. The dates for USS 2020 are July 19th – August 3rd.
United Space School’s organization, schedule and curriculum are designed to provide the structure, knowledge, resources, mentoring, and appropriate settings to complete the project, a Manned Mission to Mars. To provide the knowledge necessary to complete the Manned Mission to Mars Project, a curriculum has been designed to provide appropriate training and development by instructors qualified and knowledgeable in the proper disciplines. Civil and contractor aerospace professionals are selected to provide needs-based instruction in topics relevant to designing a Manned Mission to Mars. Library and on-line research facilities are provided at the University of Houston Clear Lake campus.
To enhance and build upon this instruction, the students participate in a variety of space-related activities at the Johnson Space Center, the University of Houston Clear Lake, Rice University, Space Center Houston, the George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. These activities include a tour of JSC facilities, A Full Crew Mission, a special project at the George Observatory, an ARISS link with ISS and an international video-conference on life sciences, bio-astronautics, and aerospace medicine at a university.
To complete the Manned Mission to Mars Project the students are divided into teams. Each of these teams has a specific goal and function; Mission Control identified by the gold shirt, Mars Operation & Logistics identified by a maroon shirt, the Mars Transit team which wears the red shirt, Mars Habitation team designated by a green polo shirt and finally Mars Exploration who proudly wear the blue shirt. The teams are expected to work independently to develop their portion of the Mission; however, many elements must be considered collaboratively. Each team functions as part of a larger system which must come together for the final presentation outlining the Mission to Mars.
The students are hosted by families residing in the Clear Lake – Bay Area of Houston. Many of the host families work within the aerospace community. The daily one-on-one interaction between the student and their family provides many personal and professional examples of being a part of the American aerospace community.
During their two-week stay, the students will participate in several cultural and social events designed to provide a setting in which the students will demonstrate and share their respective cultures with each other and with their host families. Experiencing and celebrating international diversity as a Space School student is frequently the first step for these students as they work closely with each other on their respective Teams. Learning about the results of differences in communication due to language barriers, terminology differences, varying levels of educational competency, and cultural differences, causes these students to recognize how these differences are magnified in professional situations. The goal of Space School is to demonstrate that building upon diversity in an educational team building environment can lay the foundation for international collaboration in space exploration initiatives, which will be required in order to design and complete projects of the magnitude required for successful space exploration and development.