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On 14-15 September 2021, the ArianeGroup Launcher Academy and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) held their first Space Propulsion Summer School (SPSS). The online event was designed for the students of the Interdisciplinary Space Master (ISM) and open to all engineering students. Interested participants from Luxembourg and the Greater Region were also invited to attend, but the event saw the participation of students and professionals from all over the world.

Propulsion technology is fundamental to spaceflight, and therefore also to our research at the University of Luxembourg. An active research field in institutions around the world, space propulsion will be the first to benefit from the use of space resources, such as water, or its components hydrogen and oxygen. In fact, the most immediate application of space resources consists in the resupply of spacecraft, which will in turn extend their operational lifetime.

During the event, various representatives of Luxembourg-based deep-tech companies developing specialised propulsion technologies held lectures at the SPSS. In fact, speakers from Bradford-Deep Space Industries and Sparc-Industries joined experts from ESRIC, ArianeGroup and SnT to provide attendees with a complete overview of the space propulsion panorama, as well as the sector’s current challenges.

The event was highly successful, with a large number of attendees joining the online sessions. “The very high interest in the Space Propulsion Summer School shows the growing excitement about propulsion. The participants were very eager to learn about this key technology of the future space economy, in which it will both make use of and enable in-situ space resource utilisation,” said Dr. Jan Thoemel, Course Director of the Space Propulsion Summer School and Head of the CubeSatLab at SnT.

The first day of the SPSS focused on launchers. Participants had the chance to learn how rocket propulsion systems work, from learning about the fundamentals – like the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation – to gaining an overview of rocket propellants and their characteristics, as well as of systems engineering and prototype design synthesis.

The second day was dedicated to in-space propulsion and logistics. The lectures focused on topics such as electric propulsion and orbit control systems, designed to keep the spacecraft secure and on track. Subjects such as space logistics, space resources and atmospheric re-entry were also explored to explain the challenges awaiting future missions to Moon, Mars or further afield. The day ended with a presentation from the students at the University of Luxembourg about their studies in space resources, and a panel discussion in which experts from ArianeGroup and ESRIC presented and shared their ideas on how space resources can be used for future missions.

“The Space Propulsion Summer School was a great opportunity for students to learn how space resources will disrupt space activities in the future, understand what we are doing at ESRIC in Luxembourg and ask questions about the various use cases of space resources.” said Bob Lamboray, Strategic Advisor at ESRIC.

Read the original article on the SnT website.