One of the biggest planetary robotics competitions in the world, the European Rover Challenge, opened its registration and introduced a new certification process. On top of the tasks based on actual missions performed by rovers on Mars and the Moon, ERC will validate the competence and skills of future engineers. From now on, academic teams worldwide can register for the competition and therefore get a chance to obtain the ERC Space & Robotics Industry Standard Practice Programme certificate.
The ERC is the prestigious international planetary rovers competition, along with scientific and technological exhibitions and debates. For almost a decade, it’s been bringing the space sector closer to the general public and making people aware of the growing role of modern technologies in people’s lives. This year’s edition will be performed in a new way – much more adjusted to the experiences of our partners from the European Space Agency and NASA, expectations of the space sector professionals, and based on the feedback from teams that participated in eight previous editions.
The most significant innovation is the implemented certification process provided by space industry professionals. Each of the team members will be able to receive a formal document certifying knowledge and experience. Like other certificates from the space industry, the ERC Certificate will become a formal document proving the finalists’ development of technology and their dedication to the project. While engineering is a crucial element of the competition, team members will also get a chance to receive a certificate validating their work in different fields like project management, engineering, software development & computer science.
Participating in the ERC enables finalists to showcase their skills and competencies to space industry professionals and a broader audience. Obtaining the ERC Certificate will significantly strengthen their position in the recruitment process, as the candidate gains credible confirmation of their experience, supported by the authority of the ERC Jury.
“ERC is much more than an academic competition. It is a first gear towards robotic design, a launch pad to the world of space projects, and a shared experience. It’s the first step for technical space design and a sprint for all space industry passionates” – says Michele Randine, Quality Assurance Manager structure and thermal TAS-I at Thales Alenia Space Italia, former ERC finalist from DIANA team from Politecnico di Torino.
But that’s not all that changes. In 2023 more teams will be qualified for finals (about 20 to 25), and robotics Tasks, will be enriched with new rules: the maximum mass of the rover will be increased to 75 kg to accommodate bigger batteries and drilling mechanism, and teams will be able to add the drone to their rover.
“At the same time, we at ERC are turning our attention to the Moon. While we understand the current direction of space exploration, we must focus on the issues that will become most important in the coming years due to the Artemis program and human’s return to the Moon. Thanks to their experience at the ERC, we are confident that our finalists will soon join research teams that will lead the exploration of the Moon.” – says Lukasz Wilczynski – founder of the ERC from the European Space Foundation.
Thanks to broadcasts and live coverage on social media, the event will reach a broad audience worldwide, disseminating scientific and technological achievements in space and robotics. Last year’s edition of the ERC was followed by over half a million people from the farthest corners of the world.
The European Rover Challenge is held under the patronage of the European Space Agency ESA and the Polish Space Agency. For years, the event has also been supported by the presence of NASA, ESA & German Space Agency DLR Decision Makers, astronauts, industrial entities: EUSPA, International Space University, The Mars Society, Explore Mars, Austrian Space Forum, Thales Alenia Space, GMV, Planet Labs and SENER. This year’s edition is organized by the European Space Foundation, a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) with the Kielce University of Technology and the City of Kielce. The project is co-financed by the “Social Responsibility of Science” program of the Polish Minister of Education and Science. All information about the event can be found on the website: www.roverchallenge.eu