Institute of Space Systems

Space Station Design Workshop

The seven-day study in Stuttgart at the Institute of Space Systems about crewed space systems and missions!


We are sorry to announce that due to the global pandemic with its rules for hygiene in a working environment, we have decided to cancel this year’s SSDW. We did not feel confident in being able to provide a workshop that would have the same kind of team spirit, dynamic and enthusiastic environment that we pride ourselves in providing for our participants.
We are optimistic to organize a SSDW 2021 with the same standards as we have had in the past.

For now we hope you are all staying healthy and safe and we hope to see you next year!




Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart, Germany


Students and young professionals from all disciplines and all nationalities!

  • Design a crewed space system and mission in a hands-on workshop environment
  • Experience systems engineering, project management, and team organization
  • Use advanced concurrent design methodology and customized software tools
  • Be part of an international and interdisciplinary team
What do you need?
  • English language skills
  • Interest in human spaceflight
  • Ability to work and communicate in an international, multidisciplinary team
How much?
  • The workshop itself is free of charge


The application period will be announced as the week of the workshop got fixed.


Mission Scenario

The mission scenario will be announced with the beginning of the SSDW 2021.

Latest SSDW Supporters

The Space Station Design Workshop is happy to present its supporters to you. Without these internal and external partners, we would not be able to offer you such a great workshop without fees. Maybe one of our supporters will be your future employer, so take a look and check them out!

Institute of Space Systems          University of Stuttgart         Tesat-Spacecom          Airbus DS         PRICEsystems        ASTOS         Valispace        HE-Space     DLR         Planetarium         Stuttgart         Christian Bürkert Stiftung

SSDW Experts (selection)

ESA Astronaut and Professor for Astronautics and Space Stations

European Space Agency (ESA) & University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Dr. Ewald graduated from Cologne University with a PhD in Radioastronomy and a minor degree in Human Physiology. He became an astronaut for Germany's DLR in 1990, training for the German-Russian spaceflight mission to Space Station MIR in 1992 and 1997. In 1997, he flew to the MIR station in Soyuz TM spacecraft. He spent 20 days in space, executing a programme of scientific and technological research. Joining ESA's Astronaut Corps in 1999, he supported the flights of ESA astronauts to ISS in various responsibilities as Crew Ops and Mission Opreations Manager. He directed the ESA Columbus Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, from 2004 to 2011. Currently he supports ESA's scientific ISS programme such as during the Blue Dot mission in 2014. Dr. Ewald regularly teaches Human Spaceflight Operations at ISU, and at universities in Aachen and Stuttgart.

In September 2015, Dr. Ewald took up the position as professor for Astronautics and Space Stations at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) as successor of Prof. Messerschmid. In this role, Dr. Ewald leads the Space Station Design Workshop since 2016.

Managing Director, Professor for Space Transportation Technologies

University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Having finalized his studies of Aerospace Engineering, Stefanos Fasoulas worked from 1990 to 1999 as research assistant at the Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart, where he obtained his PhD. Prof. Fasoulas followed a call to the chair of Space Systems/Space Utilization at the TU Dresden in November 1999 and became there in 2006 the managing director of the Institute of Aerospace Engineering. In July 2010, he changed to the University of Stuttgart again, to the professorship of Space Transportation Technologies at the Institute of Space Systems, and became in February 2014 also the managing director of the Institute of Space Systems.

Research Associate (Life Support and Energy Systems)

University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Graduated at Aerospace Engineering at the University Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in 2009, and finished a PhD on Reliability analysis of Life Support Systems for long duration missions, at the Institute of Space Systems (University of Stuttgart) and Esola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeries Industrial i Aeronàutica de Terrassa (Technical University of Catalonia) in 2015. Research associate in the Life Support and Energy Systems department of the Institute of Space Systems - University of Stuttgart. In charge of the simulation tool Environment for Life Support system Simulation and Analysis (ELISSA), and working in several projects related to the use of Algae Took part in SSDW 2009 (participant) and 2010 (staff).

Aerospace Engineer / Country Manager

PRICE Systems Limited

Fabian Eilingsfeld is country manager of PRICE Systems in Germany. PRICE Systems, a former subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is providing solutions to government and industry for estimating cost and managing risk in aerospace projects. He holds a PhD in aerospace engineering from the TU Berlin and an MBA in space business from the International Space University. His PhD research looked into alternative strategy processes for planning government space activities; a later research assignment had him work on space programme benefit assessment for the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna. From 1990 to 1999, he worked for Siemens in Berlin and Munich in various positions, from production engineering to management consulting. In 1999, Fabian became managing partner of a consulting start-up spun off from Kepner‐Tregoe, Inc. in Princeton, New Jersey; he established the Rocket Finance division and was responsible for evaluating space‐related commercial ventures. In 2005, he joined PRICE Systems; notable projects there include cost estimates for ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Exploration Architecture as well as Ariane 6. He co-authored 2 books and published over 30 technical papers and articles, mainly on space technology matters. He has been involved in parametric cost estimating since 1988 and is an expert for space tourism and cost reduction in space transportation. Since 2002, Dr. Eilingsfeld has been a guest lecturer at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.

Columbus Engineering Support Team

Airbus Defence and Space

Michael Labidi is part of the Columbus Engineering Support Team at Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen. He acts as interphase between the Columbus Control Center and the offline engineering for the system parts of Columbus for real time operations. Previously he worked in the design office for Ariane 5 and after that for the Columbus project in the range of Configuration Management, Onboard Procedures, ECLSS / TCS Operations Engineer and as a certified console position. In the year 2018-2019 he was joining the Phase A/B1 Study of iHAB, the European contribution to the Gateway and was in that frame responsible for the Habitation Engineering of the module which included on one side the optimization of the inner architecture and on the other side the arrangement of the system boxes.

He graduated from the University of Stuttgart in Aerospace Engineering in 2005.

Research Associate / Ph.D Candidate

University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Manfred Ehresmann is a a Ph. D candidate at the IRS. As research assistant he is involved in electric propulsion and atmospheric entry studies. As system engineer responsible for the overall design and development of the micro re-entry capsule 2 (MIRKA2), he secured 2nd place in the Student Paper competition of th 10th IAA Symposium Berlin. He graduated from the University of Stuttgart in 2016. Currently, he is working on the development of a generic spacecraft design tool and supervises the development of student experiment PAPELL, which will be conducted on the ISS in 2018. Mr. Ehresmann is a honorary member of the Small Satellite Student Society of the University of Stuttgart (MIRKA2-RX, ROACH).

Research Associate / Ph.D Candidate

University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Moritz Nitz studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Stuttgart and finished his master with the title of his thesis „Development of the microrover Nanokhod drive unit for a lunar lander mission“ in 2016. Between 2012 and 2014 he worked at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig on the design and development of robotic deployment mechanisms and applications for a solar sail technology demonstration mission. Since his graduation he is working on his PhD at the Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart, where he is investigating a redesign of mechanisms and subsystems of the microrover Nanokhod for a lunar surface mission. Besides further investigations into the development and design of functional robotic rover chassis systems he is contributing in building up the research field of space robotics at the Institute of Space Systems in which context he is lecturing and supervising theoretical and practical courses in the scientific application of exploration rover system technologies.

Professor / Head of the chair for Housing, Basics and Design

State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture

Mark Blaschitz, born in 1965 in Graz/Austria. Co-Founder of the label SPLITTERWERK in 1988. Studies of architecture, philosophy and sociology. Diploma of architecture and urban planning at the Technical University Graz. Since 1989 teaching activities in architecture, urban planning and design. Appointment as professor at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in 2009. Since 2010 head of the chair of housing and design and from 2012 to 2014 dean of the department of architecture.

Prof. Blaschitz, Edith Hemmrich and Josef Roschitz are co-founders and owners of the Austrian based brand SPLITTERWEK. The Label for Fine Arts and Engineering has been established for more than 25 years and has achieved an international reputation over time. From the outset, SPLITTERWERK has worked with an expanded concept of art across disciplines, with projects incorporating paintings, installations, architecture, urbanistics and the new media that have paradigmatically explored the increasing interlinking of built spaces and media spaces. The studio's projects have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Documenta in Kassel, the International Building Exhibition  Hamburg, Vienna Secession, the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz and the National Art Museum  of China in Beijing, amongst others. Awards won include the Contract World Award, Best of Europe, the Austrian State Prize, the Austrian Steel Construction Award, the Austrian Developers Award and the Geramb Rose. Nominated for the World Architecture Festival and the Iakov CHernikhov Prize. Members have taught at the universities of Graz, Stuttgart, Linz, Innsbruck, Istanbul, Hannover, Sarajevo, Weimar, Vienna and others.

Mission Analyst

European Space Agency (ESA)

Mr. Renk is a Mission Analyst working at the European Space Oprations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. His main focus is on libration point missions towards the Sun-Earth as well as the Earth-Moon libration points and in addition he is also supporting the mission analysis for future exploration missions towards the Moon and beyond. In recent years he worked on the Herschel, Planck and Gaia trajectory analysis and future libration point missions and studies include Lisa Pathfinder, Euclid, Plato, also holds a PhD in aerospace engineering. The topic of his thesis was: ”Mission Analysis for Exploration Missions Utilizing Near-Earth Libration Points”. Besides his dedication for all kind of libration point missions his research interest include space system engineering, space exploration mission design and human spaceflight.

Research Associate / Ph.D Candidate

University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems

Marius Schwinning studied aerospace engineering and graduated from the University of Stuttgart in 2015. Since then, he is doing his PhD as a member of the astronautics and space stations research group at the Institute of Space Systems. His main research area is mission analysis and conceptual design of future manned space stations and planetary platforms, focussing mainly on lunar exploration architecture.

Within his research activities, he participated in the SSDW 2015 and has been the chief organizer of the SSDW since 2016. Furthermore, he works on the integration of the AeroSpace Trajectory Optimization Software (ASTOS) in the curriculum of the University of Stuttgart within a Mission-Analysis-seminar and the generation of Astos tutorials.

Systems Engineer / Marketing Manager


Stefan holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology, and a MSc. in Industrial Engineering from Ghent University. As an aerospace engineer, Stefan has fulfilled a variety of roles.
During his time at the European Space Agency, he did research on 3d printing for in-space manufacturing with high performance thermoplastics and assessed the use of 3D printing materials for radiation shielding. He did this while being part the leadership team of an innovation team called Spaceship EAC, at the European Astronaut Centre.

Currently he is working at Valispace as systems engineer and marketing manager. His role includes teaching teams how to make use of novel systems engineering methods in a collaborative setting, ensuring even small and agile teams have rigid processes to build complex systems such as rockets, satellites, nuclear fusion reactors or space stations using the Valispace software.

Thermal Analysis Engineer

Airbus Defence and Space

Salome Schweikle is the technical lead for thermal analysis at Airbus Friedrichshafen. She mostly works on the thermal analysis and control of different Earth observation missions as well as some research & development projects. Previously she was a thermal engineer at Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd. (SSTL) in Guildford, UK.  Originally graduated from the University of Stuttgart in Aerospace Engineering in 2011, she was responsible for the on-board software and electronics of student sounding rocket experiment REMOS on REXUS 9. She was also a participant of SSDW 2009.


The tools used for the SSDW consist of custom-developed software dedicated to space mission conceptual design and simulation as well as commercially-available, general-purpose software. Together, they allow for intuitive development and iterative assessment of the space mission design.

SSDW Positions

Attitude & Orbit Control:

Every spacecraft needs an attitude & orbit control system. For instance, this system assures correct payload pointing during operations and thruster alignment for propulsive maneuvers. You will need to understand how control systems works and what sensors and actuators are used for this subsystem to design a functional concept.


Astronauts want to be able to communicate with mission control and relatives on Earth. In addition, science and housekeeping data should be transmitted. The communication subsystem position will be tasked to design a communication system that can offer the needed data transfer rates for the mission with state of the art technology systems.

If you thought communication is referring to social networking, you might want to have a look at the Journalism position.

Electrical Power System:

Without power nothing works - especially in space! This subsystem is vital to guarantee the safe conduction of a mission. Solar cells, fuel cells, batteries and more should be your main interest. This concept needs to allow for the survival and safe functionality of the spacecraft to reach the main mission goals.

Entry, Descent and Landing:

If we want our astronauts to return safely to Earth or land on another celestial body, the spacecraft and inhabitants have to survive the landing. This is one of the most challenging and critical parts of a space mission. Your task will be to come up with a feasible concept to face these challenges.

Human Factors:

As space missions are strenuous for human bodies from physiological and psychological points of view, you will be tasked to create a safe and healthy environment for the crew, where astronauts can be happy and productive.


Are you passionate about space, but you never fully understood the mathematics behind it? Then this is your position. You will need advanced English reading and writing skills, artistic creativity and a knack for social media platforms.

Life Support Systems:

As you can’t take your home planet with you when you travel through space, you have to create your own survivable environment. The life support system has to guarantee the functionality of all subsystems involved to assure the availability of vital elements as breathable atmosphere and food to support the crew members during their mission.

Mission Analysis:

An important part of mission analysis is the determination of the desired orbit. As several other subsystems expect information about the orbit from the mission analysts, a good general knowledge of space missions is preferable. Possible outputs for other subsystems are the visibility of celestial bodies of interest such as Earth, Moon, Sun, etc. and/or of specific ground stations on Earth, the amount of required propellant for an orbit transfer and many more.

Project Management:

Are you an organizational talent and do you know how to lead a team with strict time constraints to achieve a common goal? Then this is the job for you! A general knowledge of space subsystems and space missions as well as cost and risk analysis are an advantage.

Propulsion & Transport:

3,2,1- and we have lift of! Exciting words for the start of every space mission. But how do you decide which launcher to take? How many launches do you need to get your equipment and astronauts safely to your desired point of interest in space? These are questions you will need to answer if you want to be responsible for this subsystem.


As we all know space is a hostile environment. Radiation shielding is one of the big topics for long term missions outside the Earth magnetic field. Your task will be to assure adequate protection for the astronauts during all phases of their mission.

Robotics & EVA:

Have you always dreamed of building Mars rovers? The Robotics & EVA position will need to come up with concepts to help the crew achieve their mission with the help of autonomous systems.

Structure & Aerodynamics:

Nothing works without structure! You will literally be tasked with designing the space stations main structures.

Systems Engineering:

Do you like budgets? Do you like making trade-offs? Do you like keeping track of the progression of a project? Can you come up with quick solutions for complicated problems that affect all subsystems? Then this is the task for you!

Thermal Control System:

Major temperature differences within short distances / time periods are typical for the space environment. A thermal control system is needed for astronauts and electronic components to survive. You will be in charge to design an reliable and adequate system.

Past SSDW Workshops


Starting 1996 student workshops with international participation were held at our home campus, at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) of the University of Stuttgart, as well as the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands,  "Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Aéronautique et de l'Espace" (Supaero) in Toulouse, France, at the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France, and at the  University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia.

These workshops have the primary objectives of giving the participating students the opportunity

  • to learn and practice systems engineering and design on a space related subject,
  • to directly apply the knowledge acquired during the space station lectures and related lecture series, and
  • to participate in an international and multidisciplinary team-based design project.

As a consequence, the participants should not only be knowledgeable about space stations and human space exploration in general, but they are also expected to fully commit themselves to their tasks during the workshops, in order to play a valuable role in their respective design teams. Another important factor for the success of an integrated SSDW design team is that all members are open-minded towards other cultures and personalities. Social competence becomes as important as a good knowledge of technical issues.

For an overview over past SSDW workshops and results, see this file.

If you have any questions, please contact us!

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