Unique space education celebrates 20 years

Published: 6 October 2017

Twenty years ago, Sweden's first Master Programme in Space Engineering started at Luleå University of Technology. 160 space students, teachers and guests have now celebrated the anniversary at Space campus in Kiruna.

Based on the number of applicants, the Master Programme in Space Engineering is one of the most popular programmes at Luleå University of Technology. The cooperation with space industry gives students interesting opportunities when it comes to graduate work and project work. Several student groups have contributed with experiments to both sounding rockets and high altitude balloons (Rexus/Bexus) over the years, and many have benefited from the links to the international space environment and the opportunities for exchanges with other universities.

– Thanks to our masters programmes, there are students from all over the world here in Kiruna, says Anita Enmark, senior lecturer in Atmospheric Science and teacher at the programme and one of the speakers during the celebrations.

– As a student in space technology, you can have life-long relationships with friends from all over the world. And it all starts today!

Education with unique conditions

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Erik Höglund started the formal part of the celebration for all space engineering students and specially invited guests. The audience listened to short stories about everything from history to research.

It was in autumn 1997 that the first students were admitted to the space engineering programme. Already from the beginning, the first part of the education was done in Luleå, and the latter part in Kiruna. On site in Kiruna, students become part of a unique space environment, a cluster of research, industry and education.

– The space students are the link between two campuses. Research is also affected, which benefits the entire university, says Lars-Göran Westerberg, who is the programme's coordinator together with Johnny Ejemalm.

Proud former student

Ella Carlsson Sjöberg graduated from the programme in 2004. Today she works as deputy director at the Institute for Space Physics, IRF. When she met the students, she shared her joy and pride in being an alumni from the Space Engineering programme.

– You lucky boys and girls – you have a wonderful future ahead of you! My best year was the year in Kiruna. Thanks to the collaboration with researchers, in Kiruna we got to experience space in a whole new way. We got in touch with space and it was an incredible experience.