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About ESEO - the European Student Earth Orbiter

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ESA / Education / ESEO

ESEO (European Student Earth Orbiter) is an ESA educational satellite project for university students - a part of the ESA Academy portfolio of hands-on space projects. 

ESEO is an ESA micro-satellite project with an educational objective: for the participating university students to acquire hands-on experience of a real space project, in order to prepare a well-qualified technical workforce for the European space sector.  This was achieved by offering the student the opportunity to develop the payload (scientific instruments or technology demonstration experiments), key satellite subsystems and the ground segment (ground stations and Mission Control) to the mission, under the coordination of ESA and SITAEL, the Industrial Prime Contractor, responsible for the satellite platform, system integration and testing, and the technical coordination of the student teams.  

Ten Universities from eight ESA Member States (Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK) have participated in ESEO, with more than 600 university students involved in the project since its inception.

The ESEO mission will validate in-orbit the SITAEL S-50 platform (50kg including the payload), the smallest within the SITAEL products portfolio, and hence it represents a crucial milestone of the intensive hard work in designing, developing and manufacturing innovative multi-purpose small satellites platforms’.

Quick Facts

Project: European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO)
Level: University
Status: Operational with degraded performance.
ESEO was launched on 3 December 2018. After beginning its in-orbit commissioning, ESEO experienced several anomalies that have since been investigated by the ESEO prime contractor, in collaboration with the students supporting the ESEO Mission Control Centre.
Following corrective actions, the spacecraft is receiving commands and transmitting telemetries, yet with some subsystems showing sub-nominal performance. In December 2019, the S-band communication link for payload data was successfully tested. First pictures were taken with the payload microcamera in early 2020. While the investigations into the anomalies offered important learning opportunities, the commissioning phase for the platform and the payloads is unfortunately not yet finished.
The educational path of the ESEO students continue.
Size: 33x33x63cm (including antennas:107cm)
 Weight: 50kg
 Launch: 3 December 2018
 Orbit: Sun-synchronous (SSO), Local Time Ascending Node, or LTAN = 10:30, circular, h = 575km, i = 97.5°
 Orbital Period: 94 minutes
 Mission time: 6 months + optional 12 months
 Payload: 9 student-built experiments
 Ground stations: 3 ground stations operated by students
 Contact: Joost Vanreusel at

Find out more about each payload and its dedicated student team in the ESEO Student teams section.

Learn more about the ESEO spacecraft and the ESEO Mission.

ESEO bottom view
ESEO bottom view