Redstone Arsenal had the opportunity to host 26 future space leaders April 13.
The Schriever Space Scholars are a cohort from the Air Command and Staff College at Air University, which is located on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. During their visit to Redstone Arsenal, the scholars received presentations from Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor, and representatives from NASA, Army Contracting Command, Space and Missile Defense Command and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center.
The scholars also toured the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and received a presentation from the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber. Andrea Harrington, chair of the spacepower department, associate professor at AU and director of the program, said the trip will help the students complete projects that are required for graduation from the 10-month program.
The space scholars program formed out of a partnership between Air Force Space Command (Space Force’s predecessor) and the Air Education and Training Command. The program is accredited through ACSC, and scholars who undergo the program have the option to receive a master’s degree or Joint Professional Military Education Program credit. Coursework for Schriever scholars is similar to other ACSC programs, but with some important differences.
“Instead of airpower courses – there’s an Airpower I and Airpower II course during the academic year – we substitute in Spacepower I and Spacepower II to get that space focus,” Harrringon said. “Otherwise, the core courses are pretty much the same as the ACSC core courses, so war theory, leadership, international security I and II and joint warfighting, and we do add some additional readings to focus on space.”
Schriever scholars are also required to complete a research project in lieu of one of their elective classes. Harrington said these projects, which can be completed individually or in a group, range from traditional research papers to educational board games to participation in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition.
Thirteen scholars were accepted to the first two seminars, which graduated in 2019 and 2020. However, interest in the program was so great that two seminars of 13 students were accepted for the 2020-21 academic year. Harrington said the number of accepted students will nearly double again for the 2021-22 academic year; 48 students will be divided into four seminars of 12, constituting the largest class of Schriever scholars yet.
Though membership largely consists of individuals from the Air Force, Harrington said the Air Force’s sister services have also been consistently represented. Students from other branches of the military including the Army, Navy and Coast Guard are encouraged to apply and have been accepted to the seminar in the past. Civilians are also encouraged to apply; two of the 2021 graduating class are current U.S. government civilians.
Likewise, the program has accepted students representing five foreign countries, including France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.
Though COVID-19 has limited the amount of traveling that the 2020-21 cohort was able to do, Harrington said she was glad that the Montgomery-based students had last week’s opportunity to travel to Huntsville and learn from the industry leaders working on the Arsenal and in the community.
“I think we’re really lucky to have a spot that’s got so much rich space history and current involvement in this community that’s only three hours away from us,” Harrington said.