By Glynn Cosker
The Space Education & Strategic Applications (SESA) Conference kicked off Thursday, Sept. 22. The theme of this year’s conference is “50 Years from the Moon: The Future of Commercial, Government, and Military Space Exploration.”
The annual virtual event features presentations via Zoom from space industry subject-matter experts and leaders – with segments focusing on the future of human exploration and development in space.
SESA is sponsored by Policy Studies Organization – and has been co-hosted by American Military University (AMU) since 2020. AMU offers an undergraduate degree in space studies with concentrations in aerospace science, astronomy, space policy, earth science and space entrepreneurship – and a master’s degree in space studies with concentrations in aerospace science, astronomy and space policy.
SESA Keynote Flew 3 NASA Space Shuttle Missions
AMU’s Provost, Dr. Vernon Smith, initiated the virtual conference with a brief speech before turning over the proceedings to Thursday’s keynote speaker, Colonel Mike Mullane (USAF, Ret.). Col. Mullane was a mission specialist in the very first group of space shuttle astronauts in 1978 and was onboard for three shuttle missions: Discovery (STS-41D) in 1984 and Atlantis (STS-27, STS-36) in 1988 and 1990, respectively.
The first major presentation of the conference, “Diverse Perspectives: Exploring History, Innovation, International Relations & Ethics in Space” featured Dr. Michelle Watts, Assistant Department Chair of AMU’s School of Security and Global Studies; Dr. Alison Becker, AMU’s Department Chair for Legal Studies; along with AMU professors, Dr. Mark Kelso, Dr. James Barney and Dr. Gary Deel – the latter of whom is a frequent contributor to AMU Edge.
Space Human Factors and Life-Support Technology for Exploration
AMU’s Dr. Edward Albin, Department Chair in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math moderated the “Space Human Factors and Life Support Technology for Exploration,” presentation. The speakers for the first part of this presentation were AMU professor Dr. Kristen Miller; NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk, and NASA’s Deputy Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr. Vincent Michaud.
Dr. Miller’s segment provided a fascinating discussion on the future of space exploration, including upcoming missions to the Moon and Mars – along with the possible exploration of the upper atmosphere of Venus and the possible exploration of Saturn’s moon Titan – which may be suitable for human habitats in the distant future.
Dr. Polk’s segment featured information on the many physical changes to the body and challenges faced by people who spend time in space. Dr. Michaud spoke about the U.S. Space Force and human and life-support technology for space exploration.
American Military University’s New Space Habitats Course
Dr. Albin presented a segment on the world’s return to deep space and introduced AMU’s new upcoming Space Habitats Course – which will be featured in the University’s Space Studies degree programs starting in 2023.
“This new graduate-level class will cover the fundamentals of space and planetary habitats,” said Dr. Albin. “The eight-week course will provide students with knowledge about our early space stations including Skylab – along with Mir, the International Space Station and others. There will be an emphasis on lunar, Martian and even asteroid habitats.”
Other presentations at SESA on the first day included:
- NATO Military Space Policy and Space as a Warfighting Domain
- Venus Life Finder Missions
- Space Safety and Traffic Management
- Molding the Space Governance System
- Enabling the Next Fifty Years of Space Law: A Multi-Jurisdictional Proposal
- The African Space Program: Promoting Participation in the Lunar Economy
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to New Space Systems Engineering
- Mapping of Educational Technologies and Methodologies in STEAM for Partnerships at the Brazilian Space Agency
- Developing Countries, Build these Foundational Space Capabilities First: Opportunities for Space Cooperation and Development
- Orbital Federates: Developing a Game-based Learning Module on Space Operations for Middle School Students
- The Political Dimension of Space Exploration
- Student Perspectives on Research Experiences for Non-traditional Students
- Mitigating Threats to Space Security
- Making SPACE available to the National Science Fair Winners
The SESA conference continues on Friday, Sept. 23 and includes the following presentations:
- UniSpace Program in Hungary
- Space Science Enabled by Missions Developed by NGOs and Commercial Entities
- Our Supply Chain is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link
- Governance and Long-Term Sustainability in LEO
- Your First Step to Space: Parabolic Flight
- Disability in Space
- Regulating Space Resource Activities on the Moon (and Beyond)
- Five Pillars for Building America’s Strength and Strategic Advantage in Space
- Space Ethics: Addressing the Burden of the Highway Planner
- Teaching Space Policy to Undergraduate Students through General Education
- Open-Source Software in Space Operations
You can register for SESA here.