Sunday, May 30, 2010

DLR Delegation from Cologne Visit Leipzig


by Ralf Heckel
International Space Education Institute
www.spaceeducation.eu

Leipzig, May 20th 2010

Photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623984704043/

Last Thursday our initiative welcomed official space agency representatives of our country for the first time in the 8 years of our existence. This visit was designed for us all to get to know each other and we've toyed with the idea as early as December 2008 in Philadelphia.

Mr Michael Heinze, advisor to the board of directors, DLR, and Dr Wolfgang Mett, scientist and director of business development Neustrelitz, DLR, arrived by plane from Cologne. Their first impression was surprise about the changes of the Leipzig area during the post unification years.

It was the intention of the International Space Education Institute to show the delegates as much as possible of the enthusiasm, excitement and pioneering spirit in the area of space education in Leipzig as bridge between Huntsville and Moscow. The focus was to present an overview of the achievements of networking outside state funded schemes, in particular how this resulted in a winning team at the NASA Moonbuggy Race 6 weeks earlier.

Accordingly, the schedule was packed and there wasn't time to visit all ports of call on the itinerary. But at all times there were constructive conversations on an almost visionary level. At the end of the day both parties gained profound insights into each others' work and formed a strong basis for future cooperation. Throughout the day, they surprised each other with an open and cordial air, subject competency and a personal interest at the core of change for education and vocational orientation.
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The following places and people were visited:

Observatory Kletzen
Mr Henri Schulz, Director



This is private, self-constructed observatory acts as school observatory for SEI students and their high school science projects. It also broadens the horizons (optical and philosophical) of young people. The designer, builder and owner is a member of the institute and has acquired all related knowledge and skills autodidactically and through practice. Both guests appeared impressed and interested in all details. Mr Schulz cherished the spotless subject matter expertise of his guests.
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Chamber of Crafts, Leipzig
Mr Joachim Dirschka, President
Dr Andrea Wolter, Communications Director

The surprise success of the trial project Mooonbuggy as vocational orientation measure has made close allies of the Chamber of Crafts and the International Space Education Institute.
This meeting served as encounter of two industries who, according to received wisdom, don't go together. SEI understands craft, engineering and science as integrated unit and practices that in its training programme.

The discussion mainly focused on necessary ways for a new approach to education and vocational orientation. A common denominator was quickly found.

At the end of the visit, ambassador Yvonne Heckel presented the president of the chamber with the world champion award of the Moonbuggy team and thanked them for their support. The Chamber of Crafts displayed selected parts of the Moonbuggy and its processes and engineering background in a cabinet.
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Discovering Leipzig's unknown space history
Tour guide Ralf Heckel

The guests of DLR were shown the remains of the houses were Prof Dr von Puttkamer, Prof Harry O Ruppe and Rudolf Bromme were born, as well as the early workplaces of Eberhad Rees. Thus they learned a lot about the historical roots and their evolution from crafts and engineering into today's spaceflight industry. It was a surprise for the guests to find that parts of the Korolyev family (Sputnik) have been in Saxony already since 1907 and are still here today.
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International Space Education Institute

The core cell of the institute is the recently acquired estate in Wurzener Straße 4. The five storey Wilhelminian style building boasts 2000 m² of green grounds, workshops, seminar rooms and dormitory, and is a popular meeting point for youngsters who want to get ahead. The simplicity of the building and its interior encourages down-to-earthness and hard work in home-rule. Remaining overnight accommodation is utilised as part of the "Space Hostel" during fair season to cover overheads and project costs during.
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Sports Grammar School and Moonbuggy
Mr Rädler, Head Teacher
Dr Wolfgang Gerber, Geography & Astronomy Teacher
Max Frank (17), Moonbuggy Team Trainer



As sports elite school, the Sports Grammar School Leipzig presents an opportunity of professional sports for students without chances of further education. They support vocational orientation in crafts and techology without neglecting sports and fun. On one hand the Moonbuggy offered the perfect prerequisites and combined them with the necessary thrill of the new for the students. On the other, the sports students focus their construction team on a single mission goal with their enviable training drive. The SEI has learnt to appreciate this symbiosis very much.

Max Frank trained the world champion Moonbuggy-Team 2010 and held a talk to 8th graders. The DLR guests observed that lesson and saw the student's enthusiasm sparked by Max during the break when all admired the Moonbuggy on display. The cabinet also contains parts, processes and awards. They made a big impression on the guests. The meeting with the students, enthusiastic teachers and the competency of Max opened hearts.

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Space Hotel Leipzig ***
Lunch

As the Space Hostel's "big brother", the Space Hotel Leipzig *** recently opened as trial project in Gräfestraße 15. This low budget business model benefitted from the experience of over 70 flight trips in the framework of SEI. The conference hotel is intended as venue for international exchange groups, workshops, seminars, and of course as another business and vocational instruction centre.

The interior walls consist of hundreds of images from our many excursions through the world of spaceflight. In the tradition of the third US president Jefferson, the bible usually found in the drawers of hotel room furniture was swapped with the books "On the trails of chief constructor Korolyev" and "To the Moon with Bolts and Nuts" (about Eberhard Rees). Thus the focus was placed on science, craft and technology. The Business-Centre was rebuilt into a Miniclub. The former breakfast buffet is now an online-restaurant with PCs. All food is delivered in 15 min on the push of a button while you work next door in an integrated NASA-style way.

This is where we have lunch together with the director of the Vocational & Technology Centre, Dr Schmidt. There's the local speciality Leizpiger Allerlei, followed by kettle goulash and red cabbage.
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Vocational & Technology Centre Borsdorf
Dr. Schmidt, Director

This place combines 35 vocational apprenticeships under one roof. The fragrances change from motor oil and welding smoke, from butchery, wood workshop to construction. We don't have time to look at everything. Nevertheless, the integrated concept and the enthusiasm of new possibilities through the Space Euducation Institute convince with their ability to provide visions and goals for the apprentices.
Dr Schmidt guides the delegates through the halls and earns their praise and recognition at every stop, above all through the innovative combination of apprenticeship and further education. During a coffee break at around 4pm, we reflect on the visit and decide it was not the last one.

At 5pm a long but very eye-opening day ends for everyone.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceeducation/sets/72157623984704043/

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Some Statements of all Parties.

Hi Mr Heckel,
I hope you had a successful day yesterday. Have only heard positive news from Dr Schmidt.
Many thanks,
Dr. Andrea Wolter, Communications Director, Chamber of Crafts Leipzig

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Dear Mr Heckel

I was impressed by your considerable historical and up-to-date knowledge of spaceflight in the US and equally in Russia. I don't know of anyone who is that excellently connected to the contemporaries of the beginnings of spaceflight and their descendants.
In particular I liked how, as space visioneers, you and your wife managed to win youngsters, industry and even the Chamber of Crafts for your Moonbuggy project, and thus sparked their fascination for spaceflight. We should couple your approach (fascination of space, sports ambition, student-led high tech development, cooperation with industry) with ours at DLR (DLR_Campus) and make sure that, for instance "your" spaceflight fans visit our DLR_School_Lab in Neustrelitz and we do a Moonbuggy event there at the same time. We could also think about a collaborative summercamp.
Before I end I have another compliment for the owner of the private observatory, Mr Henri Schulz (correct name?): He has fulfilled the dream I had as a teenager aged about 18. And he did it without formal degrees in astronomy, electronics, optics or construction. Amazing!

Dr Wolfgang Mett, DLR

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Leipzig is still worth a trip today

It was hardly known a few years ago that this town was home to some of the godfathers of spaceflight. Those roots were found only after the investigations of the SEI, and they reach far into the past into times where the term spaceflight itself was still unknown. But from an aviation, aerospace and astronomy perspective, Leipzig is not only a historically interesting venue. There are also new approaches to get young people into engineering.

The broad range of activities in technology and science are given the cutting edge by aviation and space. This paved the way through integration of private intitiative, and the areas of enterprise and education. It is great to see that representatives of DLR came to get a first hand impression and were able to witness themselves what was created here in the past years.

Now it's important to focus the existing forces to sustainably and continuously strengthen the position of the area as a location for vocational orientation. The successes of the Moonbuggy as product of international collaboration of motivated youths show us a direction where the results of future collaborative support through the areas of aviation and space could make Leipzig into a source of future technology development.

I will continue to support the students of SEI in the future. This is what I see as my commitment as a member of DGLR and, to be honest, it's fun to work with motivated youngsters.

Peter Scheuermann,
Teacher for IT, astronomy and amateur radio

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