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Finding out all about spacecraft propulsion at the Space Propulsion Summer School 10-07-2022 |  3 minutes


Last month, the ArianeGroup Launchers Academy and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg organized their second Space Propulsion Summer School (SPSS).


As a result of its resounding success the first time around, the courses were held once again this year from 12 to 14 September. The program is geared to students who are studying for a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

The three-day program offered online conferences by ArianeGroup experts, University of Luxembourg professors and speakers from high-tech companies.

On the first day, participants were introduced to launchers and their propulsion systems, including the Tsiolkovsky equation and other theoretical fundamentals. Students then delved into the characteristics of solid and liquid propulsion systems.

@ArianeGroup – The core stage of Ariane 6 uses a liquid propulsion system


The second day focused on electric propulsion, as well as flight mechanics, a more technical subject that covers attitude and orbital control systems (AOCS), which ensure the safety of a spacecraft and maintain it on the correct trajectory. The day ended with a course on atmospheric entry, which is particularly crucial for understanding the challenges of future space missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

The third and final day took a rather less traditional approach. Speakers talked about the hot topic of future space missions, including aspects such as space logistics and space resources which are inextricably linked to an increasingly large and complex space ecosystem.

Students were also given a class on the challenges of launching the James Webb Space Telescope on Ariane 5, which set off in a spectacular manner on December 25, 2021.

The summer school program ended with an additional innovative session called “Pitch your idea”. A few selected students were asked to present their ideas to a panel of ArianeGroup and ESRIC (European Space Resources Innovation Center) experts. In keeping with of the day’s conferences, the theme of the presentation was: “Space logistics: how do you imagine future transfer vehicles and their propulsion systems, whether their missions are to, in or from space?” At ArianeGroup, this is a topic which is very important to us..

Propulsion is an essential area of study in the space industry, and a research topic in very high demand in schools and universities worldwide. ArianeGroup hopes that this summer school program will generate interest among young students.

@ArianeGroup – Propulsion in action during Ariane 5’s Flight 258 on 7 September 2022


The University of Luxembourg received over 300 registration requests for this year’s summer school course; around 230 people logged in to the conferences over the three days.

Make sure you follow ArianeGroup on LinkedIn and visit the University of Luxembourg website so you don’t miss out on next year’s event.

ArianeGroup wishes to thank the Launchers Academy staff, event participants, other ArianeGroup employees who gave their time and expertise during the conferences, and the University of Luxembourg for a highly stimulating experience.