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SDU intensify focus on space in SDU Galaxy

To ensure that students have the best skills to seize the opportunities available in the new golden age of space travel, the University of Southern Denmark bring together research and development in space and space-related technology in the SDU Galaxy network.

By Birgitte Dalgaard, , 3/10/2021

With rocket speed, space travel has touched down in a new golden age. Nearly 2,000 satellites fly over our heads, the NASA robot Perseverance has safely landed on Mars, ESA is hiring new astronauts - and who knows, maybe the first tourists will soon land on the moon. The fascination with space and the possibilities have never been greater. Therefore, SDU has united forces within space research and development in SDU Galaxy, so that students get the best conditions to achieve the space competencies that the business community will call out for in the near future.

- The exploration of space, our own galaxy and the Earth with observations from space are of enormous importance for understanding our own origins and securing our own future. We have created SDU Galaxy because there are some fantastic perspectives in combining research in space and space-related technology at the Faculty of Engineering, with the problems we want to solve within, for example, astrophysics and cosmology at the Faculty of Science, says Associate Professor Mads Toudal Frandsen from Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology, Faculty of Science.

What is DISCO?

We are not thinking of the dance from the 70s; DISCO stands for Danish Student Cubesat Program.

The Danish Industry Foundation and four Danish universities, including SDU, have joined forces on the project. With the establishment of a student program that will work with cubesat's microsatellites, it will increase the talent pool of graduates that have competencies within space technology. The project must meet increasing demand for interdisciplinary space competencies that can best benefit the business community.

The project will also ensure a stable pipeline of start-ups for the ESA BIC program.

(Source: The Danish Industry Foundation)

Nicolai Iversen, research assistant at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute, the Faculty of Engineering, is one of the main leaders behind the creation of the SDU Galaxy. He is 25 years old, and because he himself missed having a network of space enthusiasts, and as his fascination for space led him into his education as a mechanical engineer, he has given this project his all.

- I have always been fascinated by space and the challenges that arise when technologies leave the Earth's atmosphere. For me, the biggest motivating factor is the practical element and the idea that the technology will actually be in a rocket in space. At SDU Galaxy, we make an effort to add this element to the students' projects, says Nicolai Iversen and points to an example:

Through our partners on the DISCO project, we have already planned the first satellite launch with a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in the summer of 2022. It is incredibly cool as a researcher to be able to introduce these possibilities to the students.

Nicolai Iversen, Research assistant at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute

Both Nicolai Iversen and Mads Toudal Frandsen have high expectations that, through an overall focus on space research and development, they can help make a difference to some of the important agendas that society faces.

 - There is a lot of the universe that we do not understand, but with new technology, we can punch holes in its secrets. At the same time, we can utilise the interplay between technology and basic research to gain a better understanding of the climate and ecosystems here on earth, says Mads Toudal Frandsen.

Meet the researcher

Nicolai Iversen is a research assistant at SDU UAS Center at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute, and he has helped create the network for SDU Galaxy.

Meet the researcher

Mads Toudal Frandsen is deputy head of department and associate professor at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology (CP3-Origins) at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, and he has helped form the network for SDU Galaxy.

Did you know that:

ESA is hiring new astronauts for the first time since 2008. If you are interested in the job, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Master's degree (or higher) in: natural sciences (including physics, geophysics, atmospheric or marine research, biology), medicine, engineering, mathematics or IT science.

See all of the criteria to become an astronaut at for

Editing was completed: 10.03.2021