GROTON, Conn. — More than 50 years ago, one small step on the moon proved anything is possible if you aim high enough. Now, 50 years later, giant leaps are happening to take space exploration even further, and the next generation of leaders in the industry is being trained in Connecticut.
Students of the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) participate in hands-on educational programs at the Survival Systems USA facility in Groton. The international research institute specializes in aeronomy, bioastronautics, operational science and flight test engineering.
“We have a program for professionals, and typically these can be engineers, scientists or operators, pilots, commercial or military. And then we have a program for people who come in younger in their career,” said Jason Reimuller, Executive Director of the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences.
Students from more than 50 countries have come through the institute in hopes of eventually flying high.
One student, 19-year-old Tatyana Ivanova from Bulgaria, is studying and training in hopes of becoming an astronaut.
“You need masters, PhD to become an astronaut, but also you have to somehow outstand and build resume and going through all these courses helps you become the most prepared version of yourself,” said Ivanova.
"The future of space flight is gonna be very multinational, very multicultural, and we realize this change to essentially create professionals so that the future of space flight is not seen as an elitist pursuit. It's seen as something that everyone can aspire to be a part of,” said Reimuller.
The classes at the Survival Systems USA facility involve building environments that simulate the space environment, with several courses taking place in water.
“The students we've had here have gone through several courses. They understand the theoretical backgrounds. This is a way to hammer that in. It's not just a way of doing immersive education. We always try to add novel science, whether it's new tools, new procedures,” said Reimuller.
The students hope the IIAS training and education puts them at the forefront of the new frontier of space research and exploration.
“Humans are going back to space, they’re going back commercially, they’re going back through NASA, other countries are getting involved,” said IIAS student Mac Malkawi.
“Hopefully these people are going to be pioneers of what humanity can offer,” said Daniel McInnis, an instructor for Survival Systems USA.
To find out more about Survival Systems Inc., click here.
To find out more about the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences, click here.
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