Finalists present their project at the finals of the 2017 Odysseus II Space Contest for European Youth held at the space center Cite de l’espace in Toulouse, France, in July. (Credit: DTU Space/Odysseus contest)

Winners found in European youth space contest finals

Wednesday 09 Aug 17


Morten Garly Andersen
Responsible for Communication
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 69

The Odysseus II contest

The Odysseus European Youth Space Contest is organized by Odysseus II, a three-year project funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


The project consortium consists of 14 partners and four supporting organizations from 11 European countries. DTU Space is regional partner for the Nordic countries and event organizer for the Nordic region and United Kingdom and Bulgaria. 


The aim of the contest is to increase interest  of space science an natural science among young Europeans from 7 to 22 years. The contest has three categories: Skywalkers (7-13 years). Pioneers (14-19 years). Explorers (17-22 years). The project ends in 2017. Read more at the Odysseus website.

Projects from Portugal and Austria have won the 2017 grand international final of the Odysseus II space science contest for European Youth where DTU Space is regional partner. The prize is an all-inclusive trip to the Europe’s space port in South America.

I took a while for the judges to find the winners among the many high quality contributions to the Odysseus II European Youth Space Contest 2017 at the grand final held in Toulouse, France, this summer. Here some 35 finalists from 11 different countries presented their space projects for a panel of international space science specialists. 

In the Explorers category for 17 to 22 year old students the winning team were Catarina Alves and Tomás Silva, both students at the University of Porto in Portugal. They presented a concept for an UV space telescope for astrophysical tests of redshift drift.

In the Pioneers Category for 14 to 19 year old students the winning team were ‘Team Tumbleweed’ consisting of students Moritz Stephan, Stefan Rietzinger and Julian Rothenbuchner from the Sir Karl Popper School, in Vienna, Austria. They presented a project outlining the designing, constructing, and testing of a wind-propelled Mars rover.

Contest shows a lot of talent

The EU-funded contest has created a lot of interest for space science among European youth. 

“There is a lot of space science talent in Europe. The two winning projects are examples of very creative thinking and high level problem solving. In general we have seen a lot of interesting projects and solutions from participants for all over Europe in this contest,” said Morten Garly Andersen, communication responsible at The Danish National Space Institute  (DTU Space), who is regional partner on the Odysseus II-project.

The space community and decision makers in Europe are well aware of the potential of the participants; The finalists were welcomed at Cite de l’espace space center in Toulouse by both vice president of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, and president of the National Space Agency of France (CNES), Jean-Yves Le Gall. 

Free trip to Europe's Space Port in French Guiana

The grand prize for the winners in these two categories is an all-inclusive trip to the European space port in French Guiana in South America with a mix of different activities included. Each winner also got a computerized telescope and had their travels paid to go to the international final.

The best Nordic contribution came from Aleksander Knutsen from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway. He came in second in the explorers category.

All contest participants and accompanying teachers enjoyed four days of space related experiences with visits to aerospace engineering schools, space mission simulations, lectures about space exploration, science and space technologies among the activities.

Space in a shapshot for schoolkids

The contest also had a category for schoolchildren aged 7 to 13 years called Skywalkers. Here participants have been sending in pictures illustrating a space theme.

From the thousands of contributions from mainly Europe but also other parts of the world evaluators are now in the process of finding the overall winner among the different national winners. Among the prizes for the Skywalkers were a computerized telescope, an iPad and a ‘European Youth Space Ambassador diploma.

(National winners in the Skywalkers category - senior and junior. Illustration DTU Space)

(The two drawings made by the Danish national winners in the Skywlakers category 2017. Left: Senior category; 'Future on Mars'. Drawn by 11 year old Eline Schaedler Olsen from the school 'Husum Skole' in Copenhagen. Right: Junior category; 'Mars'. Drawn by 10 year old Hannah Freiberg from the school 'Hvilebjergskolen' in Slagelse. Credit: DTU Space/Odysseus-contest).

Read more about the finals here.

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