Minor Spaceflight

The Spaceflight Minor exposes you to the fundamentals of spaceflight, dives into its applications and provides insight in and experience with its technologies. It is organized by the Faculties of Aerospace Engineering (AE), Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) and Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science (EEMCS).

Find all the information about the minor 'Space Flight' in our brochure


ir. J. (Jasper) Bouwmeester

ir. J. Bouwmeester

Interested students are strongly advised to continue reading and perform the entry level test!

Click here

Why follow this minor?

Spaceflight is an inspiring multidisciplinary domain that combines research, technology and engineering applications and pushes them to the highest levels. Learn how to:


  • Visit other planets and capture a glimpse of distant galaxies.
  • Observe Earth to understand our own planet, its climate and global human activities.
  • Enable commercial and societal space applications such as global communication, navigation, safety and security. 

And all of that in the extremely challenging environment of space: tough vibrations during launch, vacuum, high levels of radiation, large temperature differences, no wall plug and no means to perform maintenance or repair. In the 21st century, the number of parties involved in spaceflight is increasing. New applications are emerging thanks to the rapid advancement of terrestrial technology. Young and capable space engineers will be increasingly in demand by industry and agencies in the future. TU Delft is an excellent place to launch your career in spaceflight!


Who is this minor for?

This minor is intended for 3rd year BSc. students interested in the broad field of Spaceflight coming from TU Delft or University of Leiden. You should have followed the first two years of your BSc program and in particular have completed courses on mathematics and physics. 

The focus and treatment of topics differs from the Aerospace bachelor and Space Engineering master program, and so adds value for both Aerospace and non-Aerospace students. The multidisciplinary content and wide range of didactic approaches will challenge, motivate and inspire students from widely different backgrounds. 

Interested students are expected to perform a test in which they can assess whether they meet the required level of understanding of physics and mathematics. This test provides a non-binding advice. The test is not obligatory and the result will not have any effect on the registration, selection and execution of the minor. 

  • Use of a calculator and draft paper is recommended.
  • For a fair advice, do not use the internet during the test.
  • You have 90 minutes to complete the test and you should complete it in one session. Most students finish the test in 30 - 60 minutes.
  • Please login to https://mapleta1.tudelft.nl:8443/mapleta with username "StudentSpaceflight" and password "abc123!". Then sub-sequentially click on the class Spaceflight Minor: tud-ed-minor-ae-sf and the test Entry Level Test. You should complete the test in one go.

The program

The minor consists of four parts: introduction, missions, technology and development. 

Introduction to Spaceflight will provide the basics of Spaceflight to non-Aerospace students. The AE students will follow the course on electronic circuits instead. 

Within the Missions part, Earth observation and space exploration missions are elaborated from both the developer and user perspective. Exciting examples of current and future missions will be provided and used to guide students through all topics. The intricate relation between orbits and the spaceflight applications will be explained. Technology will be discussed, with a focus on instrumentation and requirements to the spacecraft.  

Within the Technology part, the focus is on the engineering and operations of key technologies which facilitate space missions.  These are satellite bus platforms, propulsion (including rockets) and the ground segment. Real-world examples are provided and students will perform a concurrent engineering workshop of a CubeSat. There is also  a practical involving communication hardware and  a practical where students receive signals from real satellites using the TU Delft ground station. 

In the Development part, students work individually, or with a small group of students, on a well-defined assignment to develop a concrete spaceflight product from concept to realization and critically reflect on the process and results. Students may indicate preferences among available assignments defined by topic experts (a tutor affiliated with the content of one or more of the courses).

Course details can be found in the study guide of TU Delft:

Two courses are offered with online lectures. Some example videos can be found on the following links, to get an idea of some of the content and level of the minor:

Spaceflight – A Technical Primer (not for AE students)

Spacecraft Technology

The minor has very decent pass rates: 77% of the students who started in 2015 finished the minor in the same academic year. The study load is (on average) conform the nominal study load  of  approximately 40 hours/week, according to the results of several student surveys with high response rates (>65%).

A majority of the students (65% in 2016) indicated that the minor is what they expected, but a significant minority (33% in 2016) indicating that it was not entirely up to their expectations. Some indicated that they did not expected it to be 'so technical' or having so much 'electrical engineering' or 'signal processing' in them. It has to be noted that Spaceflight is a multi-disciplinary field and comprises amongs others disciplines suchs as physics, mathematics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering.

Registration to the minor does not automatically mean that you are enrolled. In two out of three years, students needed to be randomly allotted. Based on this information, the chances for enrollment vary between 50% and 100% for students which registered the minor as first choice. Chances for students who registered the minor as second choice or who intend to register in the second registration period (which is on first come, first served basis) are very low (<10%). 

A vast majority (89% of the students in 2016) indicated that they enjoyed the minor and would recommend (85% of the students in 2016) the minor to other students.