One computer science and two engineering technology students at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford recently participated in a new student exchange program offered by the Space Policy Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston.
The Stafford-Leonov Student Exchange Program was attended by Trey Biddy of Weatherford and Colton Parkinson of Crawford, both engineering tech students, and computer science student Kurtis Clark of Weatherford. Participating with the students was Cindi Albrightson, instructor in the SWOSU Engineering Technology Department.
The exchange program is so named to pay tribute to the commanders of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission — Thomas Stafford and Alexei Leonov. Their mission was the first in which spacecraft from different nations docked in space and pioneered the spirit of international cooperation in space that resulted in the successful International Space Station.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program — Space Development: Theory and Practice — was hosted via videoconference and teleconference in late July. Co-sponsors were the Youth Space Center at Bauman Moscow State Technical University and the Russian Space Program.
The purpose of the program is to develop international collaborations in which engineering, biomedical and science students from different countries work together to design simulated missions and to encourage at the university level the next generation of space explorers. Selection to the program was competitive and the three SWOSU students were among students chosen from across the United States.