In brief

After the success of the pilot on-site edition in 2020 and online edition in 2021, ESA Academy is looking again for 30 highly motivated engineering Master and PhD students with a foundation knowledge of Space Systems Engineering to attend the Clean Space Training Course 2023 from 28 to 31 March 2023 at the ESA Education Training Centre in ESA’s ESEC-Galaxia, Belgium. 


This is an outstanding opportunity for university students to complement their engineering studies with insight into a vital aspect of future space missions, providing a springboard to become the next generation of leading space engineers. 

Clean Space diagram
Clean Space diagram

The space industry has been key in taking environmental research forward by allowing different perspectives on our fragile planet. This has helped to push the environmental crisis to the forefront of public and political awareness. However, more needs to be done to ensure that space missions themselves have lower impacts on the environment, both on Earth and in space. ESA’s Clean Space initiative was set up in 2012 to gain a better understanding of the environmental effects of the entire life cycle of space missions and to investigate more sustainable alternatives. Clean Space’s activities fall into three main areas:

  1. EcoDesign: addressing environmental impacts and fostering green technologies;
  2. End-of-life Management: minimising the production of space debris;
  3. In-Orbit Servicing/Debris Removal: removing derelict spacecraft from orbit and demonstrating in-orbit servicing.
Lecture on life cycle assessment and EcoDesign
Lecture on life cycle assessment and EcoDesign

ESA wants to equip our future space engineers with the knowledge and skills required to tackle these issues. Devised in collaboration between ESA Education and the Clean Space offices, the Clean Space Training Course offers students valuable insight into approaches to consider and reduce the environmental impact across the entire life cycle of a space mission. Lectures focus on how to design a satellite that will not generate debris; will remove defunct satellites and debris already in orbit; and will be environmentally friendly. To apply the gained knowledge, students undertake in parallel group projects to learn how to design a “clean” satellite.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the final group project presentation and will receive a certificate of participation and a course transcript, allowing them to request ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1:Welcome and Introduction
Clean Space Overview
Life Cycle Assessment & EcoDesign
Space Debris Mitigation Requirements & Implication in the Spacecraft Design
Group Project 1: Baseline mission and Environmental impacts assessment
Day 2:Re-entry Strategies
Passivation: Propulsion & Power
Design for Demise: why and how?
Group Project 2: Comply with Space Debris Mitigation requirements
Day 3:On-Orbit Servicing and Close Proximity Operations
Active Debris Removal Overview
Guidance, Navigation and Control for Capturing
Group Project 3: Remove your satellite from orbit
ESA & ESA Education Programme
Day 4:Robotics for Capturing
Design for Removal
Final Group Project: Clean the mega constellations!
Final Group Presentations

Who can apply?

In order to participate, students must fulfil the following criteria at the time of application:

  • aged minimum 18 years old. ESA Academy and relevant partners will only appraise applications from students who have no or limited professional experience in relevant engineering or space-related topics;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a MSc (BSc completed) or PhD student in a university (not graduating before the training course);
  • be studying for an engineering degree;
  • have a basic knowledge of space system design.

Selected students will be requested to attend the entire 4 day training course at ESEC-Galaxia. They will be sponsored by ESA to cover accommodation and meals, as well as up to 300 Euros for travelling to and from Belgium.

How to apply

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (Europass format, PDF, maximum 2 pages);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor of current university;  (if it is not possible to receive the recommendation letter from your referee, please ask them to send a recommendation email to before the application deadline);
  • Upload a copy of academic records (PDF);

All answers and documents should be in English (except academic records if not available).

The deadline for applications is 23 January 2023 23:59 CET.

For more information, please contact AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Copy Link