Aster is about making a place for TU/e students to access space more easily. To do this, we want to make space research more accessible and create a place for students to talk space. With a team of 11 students we want to push the limits, and get the first satellite that originated from TU Eindhoven. We are motivated to better the world using our interest in space. This knowledge is then used to interact with the students as well


Hence, Aster consists of two parts: the student team and the space community.

The Vision

Student team Aster’s vision is to raise the accessibility of space to Eindhoven. We strive to make it easier and more interesting for students in the region of Eindhoven to interact with space in a qualitative way. There are enough space enthusiasts close to Eindhoven, yet there is little space activity among the students. Here, Aster wants to push. We do this by connecting three critical topics: Eindhoven, Photonics and Space. Where Photonics in Eindhoven is a major player in the world and is upcoming in space research, it is not active together. We are building a tiny satellite (CubeSat) that will be equipped with photonic-based sensors, like optic fibres, to measure the strain of CubeSats in orbit, launch and at the end of its lifetime. Our first step is to start a communication link with existing satellites using a ground station. We are also joining a sub-orbital launch where we send photonic and electronic components into space to measure strain during launch. With these projects, we show what it is for students to actively join in on space research.

The Goal

Create a satellite that implements a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) to pave the way for photonics in space. Tests regarding reliability and performance will be done. All this is to prove that photonics have a future in space!

Student team

Student team Aster consists of 11 members, you can view the team members here
This page is going to be updated with all members soon.

The team is currently building and researching two key aspects of space engineering:

  • Ground station
  • CubeSat

A ground station is a transceiver system that will catch and send signals from and to the CubeSat, or satellites in general.

A CubeSat is a nanosatellite, consisting of stacked cubes with sides of 10x10x10 cm, will be the main topic of the student team, where we want to do research regarding environmental changes.

Aside from these, we are working on a prototype satellite for a sub-orbital launch in February 2023. Here, we will send some of the components that will be in the CubeSat to space for a few minutes. The goal here is to gain more insight on the effects of G-forces during the launch of photonic components.


The community Aster has created consists of space enthusiasts at Eindhoven University of Technology. With the community, we plan lectures by professors that have worked in several aspects of the space industry. There are also leisurely events, like the Halloween Movie Night or the Bottle Rocket launch. More of this is shown in the Events tab: https://www.asterinspace.org/events



Why Photonics?


Innovation is a key component within the Student Teams branch at Eindhoven University of Technology. Currently, the main base for components in space is electronics, where the massive radiation sources in space can often interfere or damage these components. With light, the main issue would be visibility, but within a satellite, optic fibres can solve this. Hence, Aster wants to see how well photonic components can improve current state of the art in space engineering. It is especially advantageous as the photonics industry in Eindhoven is one of the global leaders, making this perspective a perfect way to both put energy in researching as well as involve students. 


What technologies are going to be used?


The 1U satellite, a CubeSat, is a small satellite of 10x10x10cm, which will be equipped with a optic fibres. These measure the tension and strain on the CubeSat. To communicate with the CubeSat, a ground station is used, which can also communicate with other satellites on the same frequency.


Does your satellite contribute to space debris?


Since the CubeSat is very small it does not take up a lot of space, and it will be placed in low-orbit where it exists for a limited time before it falls down to earth and evaporates in the atmosphere. The satellite will be in space for a maximum of 2 years. Therefore it will not have an effect on the growing problem of space debris.