Space Missions (SM - 30EC)


About this minor

This joint minor is offered in collaboration with Leiden University. Education may take place at several locations.

The 15EC (Q1) variant is only for students who cannot do the full 30 EC minor due to limitations in their BSc program (mainly EUR students). All other students should register for the full 30EC (Q1+Q2) minor.

This minor is associated with LDE’s ‘Space for Science and Society’ program and is accessible to students of selected BSc programs from all three universities. Students will obtain insight in the science carried out from space as well as the design of associated instrumentation and spacecraft.

Through theory and challenge-based mission assignments performed in teams, they will experience the interdisciplinary relationship between the engineering and scientific domain of spaceflight. The missions will be provided and supported by professionals in the space sector (ESA, SRON, etc.) and guided by academic tutors from both the scientific and engineering field.

What will you learn?
How does our universe look like and how is it formed? Can we detect life-forms on other planets? How can we monitor pollution and climate change? Space missions are key to answer these fundamental questions. It all starts with curiosity and the science that drives these missions. But the idea should also be feasible in terms of engineering. Moreover, new technology can sometimes enable new applications not thought of before. In Space Missions, challenging science and innovative engineering comes together. However, people working on these missions often have limited understanding of the other discipline which sometimes leads to wrong expectations, miscommunication or missed opportunities. The space sector is growing rapidly worldwide, and missions become increasingly more demanding. This minor intends to provide the new generation of scientists and engineers with a broad understanding of the main disciplines involved, being able to bridge the gaps in this exciting field!

The minor comprises scientifically oriented courses (10 EC) on Earth observation, astronomy and planetary sciences. There are two engineering oriented courses (10 EC) on spacecraft and space instrumentation. Finally, students will apply their scientific and engineering knowledge and skills in a large assignment (10 EC) on a real mission case study provided by experts in the space sector.

Learning outcomes

The qualifications of a student after having followed the Minor include:

  • The student understands the scientific goals of space missions and related instrumentation. The student can define and analyze missions for these applications and provide the key characteristics and fundamental physics behind it.

  • The student is able to investigate a scientific application, starting from a specified need or conceptual idea, and derive the scientific and technical requirements related to it.

  • The student is able to make a conceptual design of an innovative space mission including the preliminary system sizing, main subsystem trade-offs and a project plan.

The learning goals, related to the qualifications, are that the student shall be able to:

  • Understand scientific space missions and goals, motivate and quantify their main characteristics and create and evaluate the key requirements within the context of the scientific ambitions, innovative technologies and organizational resources and constraints.
  • Describe, explain, compare and select instrumentation, spacecraft and ground segment components according to specific mission and/or subsystem requirements.
  • Design and evaluate scientific space applications, compare this with existing solutions and identify novel applications relevant to the body of science.
  • Design and evaluate the top-level of an innovative space system for a scientific application and compare this with state-of-the-art technology.

Good to know

Make sure to register to the correct variant of this joint-minor. After the registration is closed you cannot change this anymore. The 15EC (Q1) variant is only for students who cannot do the full 30 EC minor due to limitations in their BSc program (mainly EUR students). All other students should register for the full 30EC (Q1+Q2) minor.

Registration for this thematic minor is on a first-come, first-served basis and available places. (No lottery draw).

The minor requires a solid entry level of physics and mathematics and is therefore only suitable to students who have sufficient background and being able to keep up with the level of engineering and beta-science at 3rd year BSc level. Most students from the eligible bachelor programs should in principle be able to follow and complete this minor successfully. Some of the eligible BSc majors may however have limited courses on mathematics or physics. If students however obtained high grades in those courses in physics and mathematics at high school, this should sufficiently compensate for the limitations in their current major.

Student at Leiden University, TU Delft or Erasmus University Rotterdam?
Check the eligibility matrix to see if your bachelor’s degree programme offers access to this and other minors at

Student at another educational institution?
External students can not participate in this minor.

For information about the courses, visit the TU Delft study guide.
For additional information on this minor, visit the TU Delft minor page.

This joint minor is offered in collaboration with Leiden University and/or Erasmus University Rotterdam. This means education can take place in multiple locations. Want to know more about joint minors? Visit

Teaching method and examination

Lectures, Exercises, Project

Check the detailed overview of courses, learning activities and study load at

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 30
  • Level
  • Contact coordinator
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Delft.
There are currently no offerings available for students of Erasmus University