Effort Underway To Launch International Space Studies Project
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Mankind’s conquest of space will require international cooperation and a pooling of resources, say planners of an educational endeavor called the International Space University Project.
″We have one chance and only one chance to move into space as one species. Right now,″ said Peter H. Diamandis, chairman of the project’s founding conference this weekend at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
″If we move out into space as nationalists with nationalistic interests, it will remain that way.″
Some 60 delegates from Canada, the United States, Europe, India, Japan, the Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union hope to create a ″university″ for top graduate students from around the world that would provide advanced instruction in space-related fields. The aim is both to enhance space curricula and to set the stage for international cooperation.
″It’s interdependency that we are trying to build this institution upon,″ said Todd Hawley, executive director of Space Generation Foundation Inc., a Washington-based non-profit organization that coordinated the weekend conference.
″It’s the whole sense that there’s a definite need at the outset to interlink nations, to pool resources, to create a sense of teamwork in doing things that benefit humanity as whole,″ Hawley said.
Space University already has gained an impressive list of backers.
Author Arthur C. Clarke is a project trustee, and advisers to the founding conference included Harvard President Derek Bok, MIT President Paul Gray, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, and Ian Pryke, head of the European Space Agency’s Washington office.
And MIT has offered to host Space University’s first term - a three-month session in the summer of 1988.
Organizers say that with a planned budget of $1.3 million, garnered from corporate and foundation contributors, as many as 100 students will be able to attend.
Planners say the university might move from one campus to another or possibly involve several simultaneously. The timetable calls for three-month summer sessions for the first five years, then expanding into a year-round format.
″The end goal, which I will not put a time factor on but I will say we want to work towards, is having facilities in orbit,″ said Diamandis, a student jointly pursuing a medical degree at Harvard Medical School and a doctorate in aerospace engineering at MIT.
″We may be entering (space) by different nations doing their own thing, but the fact of the matter is that ... no one nation can ever undertake a venture of this kind on its own,″ said David Webb, chairman of space studies at the University of South Dakota.
″Sooner or later, we are going to have to cooperate,″ he said. ″And I think that the International Space University is going to be the first attempt.″