19 December 2012

Astronaut Andy Thomas South Australian star-gazers, aspiring astronauts and science enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet three international astronauts in January including Australia’s first NASA astronaut, Adelaide born Andy Thomas.

The University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with the International Space University will host four free public events in January.

The first event, on Friday January 11, will feature Andy Thomas and two other international astronauts who will share their space stories with the audience.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli will be in Adelaide for the first time for the event; while South Korea’s first woman to fly into space, the effervescent Soyeon Yi, will participate for  a third time.

“This event gives South Australians a remarkable opportunity to meet three astronauts and hear some of their great space stories,” says Co-Director of the Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program, Michael Davis.

“I also expect that we’ll see some incredible space station photos from Paolo Nespoli, who is a keen photographer.”

The event is being sponsored by members of the Australian-Italian community in South Australia who will host the event at the Italian Centre in Adelaide.

The public event program is part of the Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program which involves 40 high-level students from across the globe completing an intensive five-week space program. The students, many of whom already work in space-related fields, will hear presentations by 35 lecturers including some from UniSA’s Institute of Telecommunications Research as well as the three astronauts.

This will be the third time this annual program has been run at UniSA. Davis says the majority of students from previous years are now engaged in space-related activities.

“Many of our students are pursuing space-related careers as a result of the start they got here,” Davis says.

“There are also a number in senior positions in the military and space agencies across the world.”

Public events:

International Astronaut Event: Friday, January 11; 6-7.30pm; the Italian Centre (262 Carrington Street, Adelaide).

Satellite Remote Sensing – the Benefits for Society: Thursday, January 17, 6-7pm, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes campus

Using Satellites to overcome the Digital Divide: Monday, January 21, 6-7pm, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes campus

Showcasing the Australian Space Research Program: Thursday, January 31, 6-7pm, University of South Australia, City West campus

Registrations are essential for each event. For more details see unisa.edu.au/spaceprogram

Contact for interview

Michael Davis mobile 0419 170 251

Media Contact

Rosanna Galvin email rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au office (08) 8302 0578 mobile 0434 603 457

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