Development and flying of the student satellite

Link with the Strategic Plan

Our graduates are able to solve complex real world problems with an evidence based mindset, practical engineering skills, good self-management and cooperation skills as well as an entrepreneurial drive. They are prepared to take on responsibility for the development of the Estonian economy whilst being in high demand on the international labour market.

Project and problem based learning constitute an integral part of all our curricula; successful entrepreneurs, managers and leading experts contribute to the students’ education.

Project goal

The project goal is to develop a pico-satellite with the support systems required for the satellite mission, test its operation and launch the satellite into orbit within 4 years.

Project benefits

  • The main project benefit is the experience gained by more than 100 students in the development of a very practical, complex/interdisciplinary and publicly visible project.
  • An important project benefit is certainly the visibility of the university in the media through hundreds of mentions in the press, radio and television. The space project or the satellite program is one of the university’s biggest projects visible in the Estonian media. To be more precise, it is the second largest project after the self-driving vehicle ISEAUTO project. Media extracts indicate that the space project got 265 media mentions between 2016 and 2022. For comparison, the ISEAUTO topic got 505 mentions, Student Formula 156 mentions, NYMO 51 mentions and Smart Road Pavement 13 mentions.g. the Space Centre was 5 times on TV and 6 times on the radio.
  • Another project benefit is the continuity and improvement of competence in space technology at the university through researchers who maintain the satellite project’s code base, support structures and supervise students during the development of the project. Space technology is a rapidly growing field of business, from where Estonian unicorns will grow in the coming years. In 2021, Estonia’s contribution to the activities of the European Space Agency amounted to 6.7 million euros and the contribution is increasing – the aim is to reach 10 million euros per year by 2027. ESA invests this money directly into Estonian economy and boosts Estonian space sector.

Results and deadlines

1. The basic concept and initial design of the satellite mission, the prototypes of important nodes will be completed.The end of the spring semester 2022
2. The design of the satellite will be finished, the prototypes of subsystems will be completed.The end of the autumn semester 2022
3. Assembling the prototype of the satellite, functional testing.The end of the spring semester 2023
4. Detailed and improved satellite design, a critical design review. The end of the autumn semester 2023
5. Manufacturing and assembly of the satellite subsystems, functional testing. Signing a contract for rocket launch.The end of the spring semester 2024
6. Functional and environmental testing of the satellite (space qualification) A possible launch into space.The end of the autumn semester 2024
7. Satellite launch into space, operating.Spring semester 2025
8. Operating the satellite in space, conclusions, summaries, publication of articles. Autumn semester 2025