Join the Space Debris Training Course 2020



Space debris is a hazard to our satellites and spacecraft as well as a contributor to near-Earth space pollution. To help raise awareness of this issue, ESA’s Education Office is organising the third edition of ESA Academy’s Space Debris Training Course. 

The Space Debris Training Course will be hosted at ESA Academy’s Training & Learning Facility in ESEC-Galaxia, Transinne, Belgium, from 8 to 12 June 2020. University students will be provided with an introduction to the concept of space debris, why it is necessary to address this problem, and how the mitigation policies set by ESA apply to missions. Participants will not only learn about the space debris environment and mitigation technologies, but also about how it impacts spacecraft operations and potential future solutions. Taught by ESA experts as well as external experts in the sector, the course will be delivered through formal technical lectures complemented by hands-on exercises based on a real-life case study. 

Trainer explaining the problem of on-orbit fragmentations

This training course is a collaboration between ESA’s Education Office and ESA’s Space Debris Office, which coordinates ESA’s research activities in all major debris disciplines. These include measurements, modelling, protection, and mitigation. It also implements the space surveillance segment of the Agency’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme, the space debris aspects of the Agency’s Space Safety programme (S2P), operates ESA’s collision avoidance system for a fleet of 20 spacecraft, and represents ESA on space debris matters at international bodies such as the IADC (Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee) and UNCOPUOS (United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space). 

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1: The Environment  Introduction
 Forces Acting on a Space Object
 Space Debris Environment
 Legal Environment
Day 2: Mitigation  Mitigation Principles and Guidelines
 Mitigation Context and Technology
 The Future of the Environment 
Day 3: Operations  Space Surveillance 
 Collision Avoidance 
 Operations in the Space Debris Environment 
 Protection and Shielding
Day 4: Re-entry  Aerothermodynamics
 Atmospheric Break-up
 On-Ground Risks
 Tour of ESEC-Redu
Day 5: The Future  Design for Demise
 Active Removal


Upon completion of the training course students will be evaluated via an online questionnaire and will receive a certificate of participation and a course transcript, allowing them to claim ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

Who can apply?

Students working with a trainer on the Group Project

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

  • be aged between 18 and 32;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Canada or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a full-time MSc (BSc completed) or PhD student in a university (not graduating before the training course);
  • be studying for a scientific or engineering degree and have minimum knowledge of space technology. 

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;
  • 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 20 April 2020.

The selected students will be sponsored by ESA. The sponsorship will cover accommodation and meals, as well as up to 200 euros for travel costs to Belgium.

For more information, please contact tlp @