Student collaboration

Educating tomorrow's space engineers

Established with the purpose of educating tomorrow’s space engineers, the voluntary student organization Orbit NTNU is continuously taking on new challenges, breaking boundaries and developing further.

For Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KONGSBERG), space and surveillance is a rapidly growing area of significance within our business. We deliver a broad spectrum of space and maritime surveillance equipment, systems and services to customers in more than 40 countries. And we are dependent on broad space expertise – now and in the future.

Fruitful collaboration

That’s why collaborations with student organizations like Orbit NTNU is valuable and important to us. Orbit NTNU’s students are demonstrating qualities, abilities and skills we value; collaboration, innovation, reliability and determination. Alongside their challenging fulltime studies, the students spend a most of their spare time on applying theory in practice, by acquiring hands-on experience with engineering space projects.


The Board members of Orbit NTNU visiting Space & Surveillance's new facility "Cosmos" in October 2022.

And the collaboration with our industry is equally valuable for the students. They are learning and innovating from our technology and processes, and acquire competence and certifications in parallel. The industry-partnership also allows them to build cost-efficient satellites, and gives the members unique expertise in the whole process from idea, through development, production, launch and operations.

The Orbit organization consists of 11 technical groups, in addition to a marketing group, a sponsor team and a Board, covering everything from mechanical design and electronics to software engineering and management. The interdisciplinarity makes Orbit relevant for many different student groups at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), reflecting the structure of several business organizations.


Selfies from space

And their accomplishments are truly impressive. Did you know that the students from Orbit NTNU have developed and built the world’s first selfie-taking satellite?

Their pilot project SelfieSat kicked off in 2018, and in March 2022, the 2U satellite was successfully launched to space on the SpaceX Falcon 9 as part of the Transporter 5 rideshare mission. SelfieSat is now in orbit and operative! The cheering at the student office was loud when the first signals was received, and even louder when the first selfie from space was a fact almost a year after launch. Despite a few technical issues on image display, they are determined to solve the problem and obviously proud and thrilled of their accomplishments. And they continue to chase the perfect selfie from space.

Growing plants in space

Their next mission will challenge them even further.

The BioSat-project will develop and construct the necessary systems needed to keep a plant alive in the harshest environment known to humanity. This will require new solutions and push technology and knowledge far beyond what has been done before. Sustaining fragile life in space requires a dedicated life support system, advanced thermal control, precise humidity regulation, and several other subsystems which have to be specifically designed for the challenging ‘CubeSat’ format. 

Planned to launch in 2024, Orbit NTNU will be the first student organization aiming to seed and grow life in space.

Students educating students

Orbit NTNU has even established their own program to teach others about satellites. Every year, a set of first-year students are selected to participate in the SubOrbital program through a comprehensive application process. The Sub-Orbital program allows first-year students to become satellite engineers within a year. With the guidance of experienced Orbit NTNU mentors, the team combines developed technologies and off-the-shelf components to create a scientific mission of their own choice. The only required skill is enthusiasm and a genuine interest in space.

We are excited to follow Orbit NTNU on their journey towards accomplishing new ground-breaking goals. Always improving, reaching higher and developing further - proving that anything is possible.