LDE NL Space Campus Summer School

LDE NL Space Campus Summer School is a one-week programme tailored for both bachelor’s and master’s students that opens doors to the Dutch space sector. It provides opportunities to gain insights into space agencies, the space industry with topics such as law, business and (satellite) technology, develop interdisciplinary skills, and build a network within the industry.     

 

About LDE NL Space Campus Summer School 

LDE NL Space Campus Summer School welcomes bachelor’s and master’s students from diverse academic backgrounds, both domestic and international, with no prior space knowledge required. Participants engage with peers and industry experts, expanding their networks. 

The programme offers a hands-on experience in the Dutch space sector. Over a week, participants interact with space organisations, such as an ESA ESTEC, SRON, ESA BIC, and Airbus, gaining insight into the space industry and concerning topics, such as law, business, and technology. 

The LDE NL Space Campus Summer School offers personal growth through team exercises, workshops, and collaborative tasks. These activities develop skills like communication and creativity. Networking events, including a closing barbecue, foster connections among attendees and partners of the summer school. 

Throughout the week, students work in interdisciplinary teams, drawing on expertise in areas such as marketing, instrumentation, drones, earth observation, science, law, engineering, and business. While guided by expert insights, the emphasis is on self-directed problem-solving. Closing the summer school, teams present their solutions to real-world challenges. 

 

Alumni Stories: Why Participate?  

LDE NL Space Campus Summer School has welcomed hundreds of participants in recent years. Each attendee brings their individual motivations, expectations, and insights. For many, the programme has served as a catalyst for their career and academic journeys, inspiring individuals from various backgrounds. Whether they are startup founders, marketing professionals, future space lawyers, aspiring aerospace engineers or anything possible. The LDE NL Space Campus Summer School brings together people from different backgrounds with a combined passion for space to learn, connect, and grow. 

Stefan Zeeman, Human Resource Management graduate, wanted to learn more about the Dutch space sector by participating in the LDE NL Space Campus Summer School. “I wanted to join because it seemed like a unique opportunity to learn more about the space sector in The Netherlands,” Stefan explains. With a lifelong fascination for science fiction and the mysteries of the universe, he saw the programme as a chance to expand his worldview, especially after graduating in June of that year. Despite feeling a bit out of his comfort zone, Stefan found the idea of exploring space technology really exciting. He is now involved in multiple programmes for the space industry, such as hackathons and supporting the new summer school students.  

 

Francesca van Marion and the team of Ceres Space at SBIC Noordwijk / Image credit: SBIC Noordwijk 

Francesca van Marion, Co-founder of Ceres Space, became interested in the NL Space Campus Summer School after attending a networking event at PLNT Leiden. “I went to a networking event and Maaike [Smelter, Community Manager of the NL Space Campus] was there with her stickers, talking about it [LDE NL Space Campus Summer School],” Francesca recounts. Maaike’s enthusiasm convinced her to sign up. Francesca liked the idea of spending a week focusing on space-related activities. It was a spontaneous decision driven by her desire to learn and connect with others in the field. Francesca is now founder of her own space startup in the ESA BIC programme.  

Felix Brugman

Felix Brugman, a student of Leidse Instrumentmakers School (LiS), was keen to gain a broader perspective on the aerospace sector through the LDE NL Space Campus Summer School. “I wanted to join because I am very interested in the aerospace sector and wanted to gain more perspective about this industry,” Felix shares. Before attending the programme, he thought you needed to study ‘rocket science’ to work in aerospace. However, his experience at the Summer School showed Felix otherwise. It challenged his assumptions and confirmed his interest in pursuing a career in the field. Felix is now experiencing an internship at HDES and Solidflow BV.  

 

Alumni Stories: Takeaways and Lessons Learned 

Stefan Zeeman

Stefan Zeeman, reflecting on his experience, highlighted, “One key takeaway for me was realising the interdependence of various expertise within the space sector. Scientists, engineers, and business professionals all bring different perspectives, making the industry stronger and encouraging teamwork. It was interesting to learn from people with diverse backgrounds and nationalities, showing how welcoming the space sector can be.”  

Insights from Stefan echo Francesca’s appreciation for the professional visits and networking opportunities of the Summer School, “I was intierested in the Summer School because of the professional visits and networking opportunities. I liked meeting people from different backgrounds, from engineers to law students. The visits to space organizations like ESTEC were eye-opening, and the business workshops were valuable. It showed me how different fields come together in the space industry.”  

Felix Brugman, in sharing his reflections, noted how the Summer School exceeded his expectations by providing not only technical knowledge through company visits and classes but also unexpected enjoyment in activities, “I expected to learn about aerospace through company visits and classes, and the Summer School delivered. But what surprised me was how much fun it was. Flying drones and visiting my own school, Leidse Instrumentmakers School, were highlights. And making friends with shared interests made it even better. It wasn’t just about technical stuff; I also learned about marketing and business.” 

 

Alumni Stories: Impact of the LDE NL Space Campus 

Stefan Zeeman shared, “The summer school has provided me with unique insights into my future trajectory. After the program, I’ve actively participated in space-related networking events and anticipate continuing to do so in the future. I believe this is just the beginning of my journey in this field.” 

Francesca van Marion reflected on her experience, saying, “One significant takeaway for me was realizing the suitability of my current academic path within the aerospace industry.” Francesca also shared that the journey of her startup, Ceres Space, was catalyzed after LDE NL Space Campus Summer School, “Idea of the startup was already there, and I learned about Space Business Innovation Centre Noordwijk, and now we are incubating here”. Francesca was also introduced to other opportunities and institutions, such as International Space University (ISU), and then took part in the 35pace Studies Programme of the ISU in Brazil. Francesca states, “LDE NL Space Campus Summer School was reminder of the diverse talents needed in this field [aerospace] —from engineers to lawyers and beyond”. 

Felix Brugman summaried his learnings, stating, “The summer school exposed me to the realities of working in the aerospace industry and deepened my understanding of design choices and systems engineering. Currently, I’m completing my graduation internship, with plans to pursue aeronautical engineering at the Delft University of Applied Sciences. The Summer School played an important role in confirming my interest in space-related initiatives.” 

 

Connecting the Curious  

The NL Space Campus is a portal to the Dutch Space Cluster, facilitating online and offline connections between knowledge seekers. Collaborating with the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities, the Summer School enjoys the support of top-tier aerospace engineering and astronomy departments, solidifying its position as a hub for space enthusiasts.  

LDE NL Space Campus Summer School has a website with practical information about the programme. Participants can explore highlights from past editions and find practical details for the current program, which ensures a smooth experience from the first click.   

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