Space: Not the final frontier for Estonians - ESTCube-2User's  ESTCube project in the category Technology

"If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on." – Sheryl Sandberg

Have you noticed how fast space technology is developing? Mankind visited the Moon for the first time just half a century ago and now we want to establish human settlement on Mars. Discovering the depths of deep space and asteroid mining are no longer science fiction – this is the reality in our nearest future. The global race in space technology development has started and the best thing is that we, the ESTCube team, are part of it. This is a competition where anyone who finishes is a winner. And as of right now we need your help to win together!


The first ever satellite made in Estonia, ESTCube-1, was launched into space in 2013. Launching the satellite was successful and we were able to test many different systems on ESTCube-1 and take beautiful images of the Earth. ESTCube-1 made Estonia a real spacefaring nation. But as often happens with remote and innovative space technology, not everything turns out as expected. Our main goal, to test the electric solar wind sail (E-sail) that could make space travel cost-effective and faster, and could even help to reduce the amount of space debris, did not succeed as expected. One part of the satellite did not survive the harsh vibrations during the launch of the rocket – a problem that is currently being solved by our E-sail experiment team. Therefore, we need to try again and raise the bar even higher.

At the moment, we are building ESTCube-2, a CubeSat three times the size of ESTCube-1, that will be sent to low Earth orbit. This is perfect for testing a 300 m long E-sail wire, or so-called tether. The revolutionary E-sail can give the satellite a push to move faster in the Solar System, but can also work as a brake in the Earth’s magnetosphere. On ESTCube-2 we will use the E-sail as a plasma brake that can bring the satellite down faster and therefore help to mitigate the space debris.


Just imagine – it currently takes around 30 years to bring a satellite down from 700 km above the Earth to burn in the atmosphere! The technology tested on ESTCube-2 could do the same in less than a year!

Space debris is a dangerous phenomenon. If we leave all the old and non-operational satellites to orbit the Earth and keep sending new ones up, then in 50 years the Earth will be surrounded by so many satellites, that safely accessing space would be become a lot more difficult. Technology developed on ESTCube-2 could be the solution!

ESTCube-2 is the second high-tech satellite developed in Estonia. The whole satellite has been developed in a way that the same technology can be used to test the E-sail in Moon orbit, in the solar wind where it belongs. This means plans for ESTCube-3 are already on the table. If the ESTCube-3 E-sail experiment succeeds, we will be very close to faster interplanetary travel in our solar system, as well as researching and mining asteroids.


But first things first – technology developed for ESTCube-2 is what we are working on today and that will be a giant leap forward in space exploration.

We are planning to complete ESTCube-2 in 2018 and launch it into space in 2019. Our timeline is tight and we want to have the satellite completely finished in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. With your support, we could give this small but courageous country a one-of a-kind present – a high-tech satellite!

To turn our dreams into a reality we need your help! Help us reach our goal of collecting 30 000 euros for developing and building the satellite, so that our space conquests would not be set back by financial troubles that we are working hard to solve day-by-day, but which sometimes consume all our energy.

We broke the 30 000 euros goal down into smaller steps:

To make sure you are fully informed, we want you to know that the total budget for developing ESTCube-2 is 200 000 euros. An additional 300 000 euros will secure a space for our satellite on the launch rocket. So, in total, the cost of the ESTCube-2 project is 500 000 euros. Development is taken care of by our volunteers – mostly students.

Thank you for cheering us on and thank you for your contribution! Huge cosmic thanks to you!

Click on the image to enlarge it:

  • 502 backers
  • 38743€raised of 30000€ goal

Successful project

This project was funded on 29.May.2017