Insight into the benefits of ESA Education activities: an overview of the next European space-related workforce

Growing efforts are currently being addressed by ESA to support the next-generation of space professionals and researchers. ESA’s Education Office is successfully creating a network of individuals sharing and promoting dedication to space technology on the basis of the values of trust and cooperation. In this framework, students and early-career researchers can rely on experienced tutors and professionals to improve their area of expertise effectively.This paper provides a detailed insight of the utterly positive return on the careers of who had first-hand experience of ESA’s Academy activities, both through training courses and hands-on projects (as REXUS/BEXUS program). The authors have contributed in many different and unexpected ways to the advancement of their fields of study and/or work. Accordingly, the outcome of this paper is a vivid and varied patchwork of people from various professional backgrounds reflecting on their experience and thus depicting the actual situation of the young European generation in the space sector.What links the authors of this paper together is their participation in the five-day didactic training course “Concurrent Engineering Workshop” held in May 2018 at ESA ESEC facility. During the workshop, the students worked as a team to develop a mission architecture for a satellite impacting the Moon surface, surviving and deploying a scientific rover: LIAR mission (Lunar Impactor And Rover). The concurrent design study offered a realistic environment to work within, amidst different scientific backgrounds and expertise, thus leading to a challenging and rewarding learning opportunity. This paper will also discuss the Concurrent Engineering development cycle, by giving an overview of main carried out activities to present the most important lessons learned.During their involvement in ESA’s educational programs,the participants had been given a precious perspective on the tools and strategies behind ESA’s space missions. One year later, the participants are still in contact and committed to fruitful collaboration aimed, among other things, at creating a space start-up. The example highlights that educational support constantly proves to be the key to a successful and prolific future of space sector by encouraging and technically challenging passionate students.