International Space University Organization, Inc.

Space Education for a Changing World

aka ISU   |   WEBSTER, MA   |


The International Space University (ISU) is an interdisciplinary postgraduate institution, with over 150 global faculty members, preparing students and professionals to respond to the current and future demands of the international space sector. ISU has over 5200 graduates from over 110+ countries. Its alumni base includes Astronauts, Space Entrepreneurs, and (former) heads of space agencies. It receives funding from leading space agencies, such as NASA, ESA (EU), CNSA (China), ISRO (India), and JAXA (Japan), private corporations, and alumni donations. ISU is dually registered in the United States, via a 501c3 in Massachusetts, and in Strasbourg, France (Association). About 95% of its revenue flows through its French Association so please check the additional attachments section.

Notes from the nonprofit

ISU is the sole university worldwide devoted entirely to space education since 1987. Today, ISU is made up of a unique network around the world with a Central Campus in Strasbourg, with hubs in the USA and the Asia Pacific region, and partnerships with leading space organizations worldwide. ISU is a 35-year success story with 5200 alumni shaping the international space ecosystem in 110 countries including astronauts and entrepreneurs along with current and former space industry and government leaders.

Ruling year info



Pascale Ehrenfreund

Main address

45 Klebart Avenue c/o Debbie Flanigan


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NTEE code info

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

Graduate, Professional(Separate Entities) (B50)

University or Technological (B43)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Masters of Science in Space Studies (MSS)

The MSS is structured as a one- or two-year program. The first year is essentially a taught one and is delivered primarily at the ISU Central Campus in Strasbourg. Some students will take only this year and graduate with an a Master of Space Studies. During the first year, students who perform at an appropriate level may apply for the second ‘thesis year’ in which they perform a single extended piece of research or scholarly activity, either at ISU, or an appropriate host institution. These students will graduate with an MSc in Space Studies and Thesis.

Population(s) Served

The Space Studies Program (SSP), an intense two-month professional development course for postgraduate students and professionals of all disciplines, in a different global location every year. The program is packed with a wide variety of activities, including lectures by renowned experts, hands-on activities and projects, team work and professional visits.

The main elements of the SSP curriculum are the core lecture series, workshops, departments and team projects. All course work at ISU is conducted in English. Each year, the program evolves to better meet the needs of the participants and their employers. Participants are strongly encouraged to contribute their own knowledge, experience, ideas, culture and opinions as well as their energy and enthusiasm.

Population(s) Served

The Southern Space Studies Program (SHSSP) has been running since 2011, provided in partnership by ISU and the University of South Australia. The program is designed with a particular eye to the southern hemisphere space environment and is built around the themes of space exploration, space policy and space services, while giving a well-rounded exposure to the principles and concepts involved in space science, space systems engineering and technology, space business, project leadership and space legal and regulatory issues. The program is designed to be a catalyst to boost the role of space for countries in the southern hemisphere and those cooperating with them, and to build human capability and capacity.

Population(s) Served

This intensive program was developed by the International Space University and Aldrin Space Institute for students passionate about shaping the future of commercial space.

The objective of the Commercial Space Program graduate certificate is to provide students from diverse backgrounds in science, engineering and business an intensive series of courses focused on commercial space with an emphasis on technical and entrepreneurial management, public-private partnership, and New Space activities.

Population(s) Served

The Executive Space Course looks at current space and space-related activities and explains the technology, science, business and policies upon which each phase of a space program or mission is based.

Taught from an international perspective, the course allows participants to gain an understanding of the differences as well as the common approaches to space strategy across the globe. The course explains core engineering and technical concepts in a simple, understandable manner, allowing participants to develop their knowledge of space-related activities and terminology.

The Course is intended for two broad categories of professionals, those working in the space sector but who do not have a broad space background (e.g., those with expertise in finance, law, marketing, human resources, etc. or even engineering and science) or those currently working outside the space sector but who have an interest in developing a better understanding of it (e.g., entrepreneurs, government employees and politicians, etc.).

Population(s) Served

This course, held in partnership with the Luxembourg Space Agency and Colorado School of Mines, provides a broad overview of the space resources field, including the current knowledge of available resources in the Solar System, identification, collection, extraction, processing, and utilisation systems under development. The course also presents economic and technical feasibility studies, legal and policy issues, and space exploration architectures and commercial ventures that may be enabled by utilizing extraterrestrial resources in the near future.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


VIA Satellite Excellence Award’ as University Program of the Year 2014

Via Satellite

Affiliations & memberships

United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space - Permanent Observer Status 1998

International Aeronautical Federation 1995

Member of EURASHE in Europe 2017

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of program participants who remain employed 12 months after program completion

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Masters of Science in Space Studies (MSS)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of grants and research funding awarded to the institution

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The International Space University develops the future leaders of the world space community by providing interdisciplinary educational programs to students and space professionals in an international, intercultural environment.

In the last decade, we witnessed how space became more accessible. Advances in
satellite manufacturing technologies, reusable launch systems and artificial
intelligence have driven market disruption in the space industry. With the arrival of
NewSpace and the need to bring down costs and production timelines, new business
models and partnerships between academia, research organizations and industry are
emerging. The space sector is increasingly integrated with other economic sectors,
and international cooperation and multi-stakeholder partnerships will be the key for
There is a significant shortage in the STEM workforce; in the near future we need
thousands of highly skilled employees in the space sector, especially in industry
(primes, small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups) to design, manufacture
and operate innovative space technologies and missions.
The evolving space economy offers students and professionals of the International
Space University (ISU) exciting future perspectives. ISU is the sole university
worldwide devoted entirely to space education since 1987. An education at ISU offers
great opportunities for employment in academia, in space agencies, in the booming
space industry, and for developing entrepreneurs. Main future goals for ISU include
establishing a visible ISU global brand to foster stronger international cooperation
between the ISU Strasbourg Central Campus, the North American branch, entities in
the Asia-Pacific region, and new entities in Africa and Latin America. A new Master’s
Program reflecting the current trends and dynamic development of the space sector
is under development for the Master’s Class of 2022/2023 in order to train the future
workforce of the interdisciplinary space sector. An academic strategy aligning all ISU
programs - including the successful Space Studies Program, as well as the
digitalization of program administration and operation - will enable an optimized
execution of the various ISU programs as well as Executive education.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


International Space University Organization, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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International Space University Organization, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 04/18/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Christian Sallaberger

CanadenSys Aerospace

Gabriella Arrigo

Italian Space Agency

Xiangming Fang


Alexia Lacaze


Dirk Beckmann


Hugo Maree

European Space Agency

Buckner Hightower

Heinlein Prize Trust

Ofer Lapid

Israel Space Agency

Sudo Katsuya


Tom Cremins


Joan Chesoni

ISU Alumni Representative

Silvio Sandrone

Airbus Defence and Space

Joe Landon

Lockheed Martin

Helmut Kessler

Manx Precision Optics Ltd.

Brian Rishikof

Odyssey Space Research

Violetta Kuvaeva


Audrey Allison

The Aerospace Corporation

Michael Davis

Art Dula

Ramin Khadem

Siamak Khorram

Robert Richards

ISU Founder

Pete Worden

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/18/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/26/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.