July 30, 2007

US Space institute hosts first international students

Related Links
• Air Force Space Command
• National Security Space Institute

by Capt. Catie Hague
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

7/26/2007 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Four Australian military members recently traveled more than 10,000 miles to Peterson Air Force Base to expand their knowledge of U.S. space operations and the constantly changing global arena of space.

Air Force Space Command officials invited these international students to attend the National Security Space Institute's two-week Space Fundamentals Course in Colorado Springs, Colo., strengthening ties between the two nations' space professional cadre.

"The Australian attendance in our Space Fundamentals Course and in the upcoming Executive-level Space Operations Course this August adds another dimension to the education provided all those who attend our institute," said Col. David Jones, the NSSI commandant. "The unique perspectives of our allies enable the entire class to look at systems, capabilities and challenges in a different light."

Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenants Dave Goodwin and Wayne Armstrong, both radar operators, rated the Space Fundamentals Course a "nine" on a scale of one to 10. They said the course was extremely informative on how the United States operates in space, especially in regards to satellite communications.

"We each got something different out of the course," said RAAF Squadron Leader Roger Halford. "We all have different backgrounds. I am a legal officer, Goodwin and Armstrong are radar operators and (Flight Lt. Stephanie) Collet is in intelligence."

The team members said Australia is in its infancy when it comes to space.

"We have no satellites in orbit," he said. "We lease commercial satellites to transfer all forms of data from Point A to Point B."

The RAAF is made up of approximately 15,000 airmen, while Air Force Space Command alone is made up of about 39,000 space professionals.

"We are here on a three-month tour because our country wants to get more involved in space," Squadron Leader Halford said. "We came to learn how the U.S. Air Force utilizes this unique environment."

"We are a globally engaged force," said Maj. Gen. Erika C. Steuterman, the NSSI chancellor. "Australian participation highlights the fact that we train as we fight - in a coalition environment. It is just one example of Air Force Space Command's commitment to space professional development, providing the best trained space professionals in the world to support the warfighter."

International participation in NSSI courses only enhances the quality of learning for all those involved, Colonel Jones said.

"The Australians are consistently at our side as an important ally," he said. "They are making great strides in growing their own space capabilities."

The Aussies are visiting various AFSPC units into September, after which they will return to Australia and further their air force's space professional development program.

NSSI's international reach continues with one RAAF and two Royal Air Force officers scheduled to attend the executive-level course Aug. 2 in Colorado Springs.

NSSI is the Department of Defense's center of excellence for space education throughout the National Security Space community. Its staff researches, develops and provides world-class instruction of space system technologies, capabilities, operational concepts, acquisitions and tactics in support of joint service strategies to develop certified space professionals.

For more information about the institute and the courses offered, visit www.thenssi.com.

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