Erasmus Virtual Campus
PHOENIX--Feb. 14, 2008--When the European Space Agency (ESA) wanted to offer some of its research partners on the International Space Station (ISS) a series of real-time interactive lectures on astrobiology, the consortium turned to iLinc Communications, Inc. (AMEX:ILC), a leading provider of Web conferencing software and audio conferencing services. The inaugural class series, originating from the Erasmus Centre at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk the Netherlands, was made available to more than 140 students across five European universities.
The Erasmus Virtual Campus was launched in 2001 as part of an initiative to broaden collaboration across the agency's extensive industrial and academic partnership base and since then has powered numerous e-learning, Web conferencing, training, lectures and even online technical symposia reaching more than 150 universities, research institutions, government institutions and companies active in the space industry.
The successful astrobiology series recently kicked off its second academic year and is connecting students at more than a dozen universities for study that counts for credit points under the new European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). "iLinc has been instrumental in facilitating virtual staff meetings, the unique astrobiology lecture series, student parabolic flight workshops, payload safety, life in space lectures and much more," said Massimo Sabbatini, Head of the Erasmus Centre. "Additionally, students interested in astrobiology who are not studying at one of the participating universities are also able to learn from the courses since iLinc enables them to be recorded and played back on-demand."
In addition to the astrobiology series, iLinc has been used by ESA for such events as:
-- Joint NASA/ESA/CSA Increment Science Symposia. More than 60 participants at sites in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia gathered to share knowledge on a wide range of ISS research to educate Increment mission management teams and the scientific community at large about the variety and significance of science to be performed on the ISS during the specific mission.
-- The IMPRESS Integrated Project. The Intermetallic Materials Processing in Relation to Earth and Space Solidification (IMPRESS) project is a large multi-disciplinary consortium of 42 research groups and companies, with a total 5-year budget of 41 million Euros. The consortium uses iLinc for virtual meetings between work groups.
-- Life in Space Program. About 120 students, professors and researchers at four universities participated in an Interactive real-time lecture about life in space.
"The support from Jimmy Georgiades of Parsec Infotech is a great added value for our use of iLinc for merging video conferencing, streaming video and teleconferencing technologies and in achieving our goals to create a virtual community," added Sabbatini.
Parsec Infotech is the iLinc reseller based in The Netherlands that provides ESA with the technology and support behind its Erasmus Virtual Campus.
"It's tremendously rewarding to see iLinc in action on a global scale, bringing together people for a common purpose no matter where in the world they live or work," said James M. Powers, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of iLinc. "The academic and scientific communities in particular have embraced Web conferencing technology because their budgets are typically highly scrutinized. On top of saving time and money, they also appreciate the environmental benefits of reduced travel."
To learn more about ESA and the Erasmus Virtual Campus, visit
www.esa.int or http://streamiss.spaceflight.esa.int/