Student teams from all over Europe and Canada have been flocking to enter the
Aurora design competition since its inception in January. After careful
evaluation by experts from the Aurora Programme and others with specific
technological and scientific expertise, the 17 finalists of this exciting
competition have now been selected.

The successful teams will go on to present their projects in Barcelona on 8-9
September, when the overall winners will be picked by a jury that will include
members of the ESA/Aurora Exploratory Programme Advisory Committee (EPAC).

"ESA is always on the lookout for imaginative new ideas and concepts that could
enhance Europe’s long-term plans for the robotic and human exploration of the
solar system, and we believe that European universities can contribute much to
this," said the competition organiser, Piero Messina of the Aurora Programme

"We are delighted at the response from the next generation of mission designers
and engineers," he added. "All of the projects are of an excellent standard and
the panel would like to express its appreciation of the students’ work, effort
and enthusiasm."

Design entries were invited for five categories: Arrow and Flagship missions,
Enabling Technologies, Surface Robotics and Human Missions. The three most
impressive entries in each category were chosen by the panel of experts, with a
further two from the Human Missions’ section where competition was particularly

The finalists for each category are:

Arrow missions:

  • Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Flagship missions:

  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain
  • Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario

Human missions:

  • Alpbach Summer School, Team 3 (the result of a two-week residential summer course organised by the Austrian Space Agency with the sponsorship of ESA)
  • Cranfield University, UK
  • International Space University, Strasbourg, France
  • Kingston University, UK
  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Enabling technologies:

  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain
  • University of Technology, Graz, Austria

Surface robotics:

  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • University of Leicester, UK/University of Hamburg, Germany
  • University of Limerick, Ireland

Over 60 preliminary design entries were received by March 2003, with 37
delivered by the deadline of July 30.

The first prize in each category is a 4-day trip to the European Space Research
and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. The visit will include a tour
of the ESTEC facilities, with the possibility for teams to discuss their
with ESA experts.

The jury’s special prize — a trip to Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French
Guiana — will be awarded to the overall winning team. The visit will include a
tour around the impressive facilities of the launch centre and presentations by
representatives of ESA and industry.