Space NTNU
Hall of Fame

A brief history of Space NTNU

The Founding of Space NTNU

The Beginning

Prior to 2018 the space community at NTNU was in its early infancy, only existing in a few hidden corners on campus, most notably through the NTNU test satellite project (NUTS) and passionate individuals like Roger Birkeland, Petter Evju Skanke and Marie Henriksen, who were promoting opportunities and organizing events. However, throughout 2018 the space community grew significantly and flourished. Orbit NTNU was founded from the legacy of NUTS, Propulse NTNU was founded, and Smallsat Lab grew momentum with the HYPSO missions.

In the school year 2018-2019, as Propulse was working on their first rocket for Spaceport America Cup, the idea occurred to fly a payload developed by Orbit. A close collaboration between the two organizations was initiated, the space ecosystem at campus as a whole thrived, and both social and professional bonds were formed. That is when the idea popped up, why not make an organization that has the main purpose to promote and support the space ecosystem at NTNU and make it the national, and even the Nordic, premier space ecosystem.

Kjersti (Co-Founder & CTO at Propulse at the time), Rannveig (Founder & CEO at Propulse at the time) and Edvard (Co-Founder & Project Manager at Orbit) were in a room, and magic happened. In a backroom of Grand Hotel in Oslo, during Space Dinner 2019, bylaws and founding documents were drafted, and out came Space NTNU, and the real hustle started to get an organization of such scale up and running.

In the spring of 2019, the first unofficial Space NTNU event was hosted, where Propulse NTNU’s first rocket was presented, along with Orbit NTNU’s payload, a presentation of all the space-related projects and organizations in Trondheim, along with presentations by ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, the Norwegian Space Agency and Spaceport Norway.

Over the spring and summer, collaboration agreements were initiated with all the relevant student organizations, start-ups, national institutions and partners, and the organization was taking shape. And what better occasion to officially launch Space NTNU to the public, than at Spaceport Norway, organized in Trondheim in the fall of 2019. Ole Dokka was an unwavering supporter of Space NTNU from the start, gave free exhibition spots to the student organizations, a grand launch ceremony in the programme, and helped create a worthy kick-off for Space NTNU.

The Growth

After the initial founding team had led the start-up phase of the organization, it was time to give the reins over to the next team. Initially, it was thought that the board of Space NTNU should consist of board members of the member organizations, so the board for 2019/2020 was elected from the boards of Orbit, Propulse and Ascend, and the work continued, with a highlight being the Space Career Day hosted with the Norwegian Space Agency. New members were recruited, working on event planning, social media, web development and more. However, in the spring of 2020, the pandemic put a quick stop to the growing plans of Space NTNU, and all physical events were cancelled. During the fall of 2020, Space NTNU hosted and co-hosted several digital space events, and tried to engage students during a tough time. A lot of restructuring of Space NTNU happened during this period, particularly regarding how and who should lead it. It had become apparent that the workload of being on the board of a member organization and Space NTNU at the same time was too much, and the board should rather be a mix of people from people inside and outside of the member organizations. Space NTNU also had to think creatively about how to engage without in-person events, and out of this process came the idea of a space podcast, created by and for students, and this became Spacepodden.

Hall of Fame

Edvard Foss


Space NTNU member since: 2019

NTNU study program: Electronics Systems Design and Innovation

NTNU graduation: Spring 2021

Edvard’s space journey started with Orbit NTNU, in 2018. He was a co-founding member and the project manager of the brand new satellite-building organization. During his time at Orbit, he was given the opportunity to be a trainee at ESA and travelled multiple times to Belgium for courses in space systems engineering and space debris management. In 2019, he founded Space NTNU and acted as the president the first year of the organization’s existence (fun fact: Edvard made the website you are looking at right now). The next 2+ years he moved to Denmark and worked at ESA’s business center just outside Copenhagen, funding and supporting a variety of space startups (you may have heard of LAUNCHPAD and NORDIC LAUNCH? Edvard’s brainchilds). In Denmark he was appointed committee member of the Space Education Committee at the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and served 2 years in Tekna’s Space Committee. In 2021, Edvard was offered to intern at ESA’s Space Debris Office in Germany, where he also wrote his thesis on the design of an automated collision avoidance system for operators of assets in LEO. In parallel, he founded, a space collision avoidance startup. Edvard is now at KSAT working with technical product development for the NewSpace industry. Finding new ways to connect space and earth. 

#startups #newspace #entrepreneurship #spacedebris #ssa #satcom #spacesafety    #groundstation

Rannveig’s space journey started at Andøya in 2013, after her high school physics teacher told her class about the European Space Camp. After this summer she was hooked, and joined the organising team of ESC until 2017. NTNU was sad and rocket-less at this time, so in the spring of 2018 Rannveig initiated and founded Propulse NTNU, and was Project Manager for the first rocket, Sleipner. During the first year of Propulse, a payload collaboration with Orbit NTNU inspired the creation of Space NTNU, and Rannveig served as the Vice President in the first board. Between 4th and 5th year, Rannveig took a break from studying to do a 6 month internship in the Netherlands at ArianeGroup’s subsidiary APP, where she worked on ignition systems for Ariane 6. She wrote her project and master thesis with the Structural Impact Laboratory (SIMLab) at NTNU, and her master thesis about numerical modelling of space debris impacts was awarded the NIFRO award for best space-related master thesis in 2021. She is currently a PhD candidate at SIMLab, continuing her work on space debris modelling in collaboration with ESA and NASA.

#impactmodelling   #phd   #spacesustainability #mechanicalengineering

Rannveig Færgestad


Space NTNU member since: 2019

NTNU study program: Mechanical engineering with a specialisation in applied mechanics

NTNU graduation: Spring 2021

Kristian Borgen

Spaces first cmo

Space NTNU member since: 2019 

NTNU study program: Cybernetics and Robotics – Specialization in Robotic Systems

NTNU graduation: Spring 2023

Kristian’s space-journey started in 2018, when he first came to NTNU and immediately joined Orbit NTNU as a marketing team member. Kristian clearly found his place in the rapidly developing organization and after roughly 7 months he became the CEO of Orbit. It was around that time that Edvard Foss, Rannveig Marie Færgestad and Kjersti Bragstad asked Kristian if he wanted to join them as CMO in founding Space NTNU, or NTNU Space as it was first called. Having experienced how sparse and fractioned the space activities at NTNU were, he quickly joined the vision of creating a thriving student space community nurturing the interest of all space geeks, not only socially, but also academically. After the fantastic launch of NTNU Space at Spaceport Norway 2019 Kristian took the responsibility of organizing Space NTNUs events, such as Space Career Day, while also continuing as CEO of Orbit. As for other space activities, Kristian worked as a summer intern on data processing capabilities on satellites at The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and autonomous on-orbit servicing of satellites at Sintef Digital. In 2022 he joined the NTNU-based New Space start-up Solstorm about space sustainability and deorbiting of satellites. And his master thesis is about a four-legged robot designed to autonomously explore lava tubes on the Moon and Mars.

#spacerobotics   #cleanspace   #commercializingspace

Erlend’s space journy started with Orbit NTNU in 2019. He was a sponsorcontact and were a part of the marketing team. He gradually heard about SpaceNTNU and was recomended to join. He joined in 2020, when SpaceNTNU still was very new, and it was not really clear what he was supposed to do yet. Finally having a group to talk about space, made him talk a lot before, during and after the meetings. This and the fact that Covid made it impossible to make any events was the beginning of the podcast “Spacepodden”. Erlend, Alexey Gusev and Eivind Heggset spent this semester to develop the foundation for the podcast. That december they made the first episode for Spacepodden in Alexey’s bedroom. 2 years later they had Erna Solberg as a guest, live in Vitensenteret. He was host for the podcast for 5 seasons, close to 40 episodes, 7 spacenews, and a lot mor to come.


Erlend Sandblåst

Host and Co-Founder of Spacepodden

Space NTNU member since: 2020

NTNU study program:  Logistics Engineer

NTNU graduation: Spring 2023