A spacecraft cobbled together with equipment scavenged from university laboratories will be blasting off into orbit next week.
The Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative is a European project involving 400 students from 23 universities in 12 countries. It aims to launch three student-built satellites, culminating in a mission to orbit the moon.
The satellites should cost no more than €100,000 each, as they are built using existing university equipment donated for the project. The students work in virtual teams to solve problems.
"We are not doing the work for the students. They do it all, learn in the process, and we also learn a lot."
The 62kg satellite will be launched in Russia on 30 September, and will fly in low earth orbit before releasing three 'pico-satellites' each weighing less than 1kg.
These will be used to test systems for the next launch and provide a target for amateur radio enthusiasts to track.
The project is being financed by the European Space Agency as part of its remit to develop future space skills.
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