Grand Forks, ND - About 25 Manitobans from Industry, Government and Academia made the short trek from Winnipeg to Grand Forks to visit the University of North Dakota (UND). The idea for the trip came from CSS member and long-time industry supporter Mr Norm Lee (he is supposed to be retired for a few years now but that is debatable!) and was further 'fleshed out' by fellow members Jeff Cieszecki and CSS President Wayne Ellis. At the outset, the intention was to create a multi-stakeholder event that would also involve a reciprocal visit from UND at a later time. Initially, a full interaction with Department of Space Studies was envisioned, but it was later determined that there was also interest in visiting and learning about their Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program and facilities.
The Canadian visitors take a moment to pose by an iconic image.
CSS President Wayne Ellis offers 'Mugs of Thanks' to UND Space Studies Chair Dr Santhosh Seelan and Admin Assistant Bev Fetter
Incredible Inflatable Lunar Habitat! At the time of the visit, there were 3 students 'living' in the habitat on a 30-day mission.
Dr Vadim Rygalov explains key challenges of work in the Space Life Sciences Lab.
Tour Guide Tiffany gives a great overview of the Human Spaceflight Lab
There was also a brief tour of their Spacecraft Simulator Facility in which there is a capsule mock-up complete with screens and switches, as well as a SpaceShipOne simulator in which you could practice flying the craft.
We also received very interesting briefings on UND's UAS Center of Excellence, some important stories about UAS research, as well as received a good understanding of their UAS T&E program and the challenges associated with flying UAVs in controlled airspace.
The tour wrapped-up with a visit to the UND Aviation facilities at the Grand Forks airport where we were able to learn about one of the largest pilot training institutions in the US!
Again, a huge thanks to Norm Lee and Bev Fetter who tackled much of the admin and logistics for this visit, and to Dr Seelan, his staff, the UAS staff, and our tour guides for taking care of us so well. The group is already a-buzz with ideas for the reciprocal visit which will probably take place in the early spring.