The main objective of the Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative is to create a network of students, educational institutions and organisations across Europe in order to design, construct and launch micro satellites and other spacecraft. This, by nature, distributed task can be handled by using available internet tools.
This objective is reached when a spacecraft is designed, built and launched by a significant number of European students in a highly distributed way. The completion of this project objective is independent of a mission success or failure.
The complexity of this task leads to a necessary kind of missions to reach the goal by the participating students and professors with the support of the European Space Agency and Arianespace. The missions are part of a layered structure that could lead to a Moon landing and are defined as follows:
SSETI Express was launched into a Low Earth Orbit in October 2005. The satellite served as a technological demonstration and as a test bed for some of the hardware that will be used for ESEO.
The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) should be launched directly into an geo-stationary transfer orbit using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle, the launch is planned for the end of 2008.
The European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO) is at the moment, June 2006, approaching the feasibility study. If ESMO is found feasible a possible launch would be planned for 2011.
The next step, after a possible Moon orbiter, would be a Moon lander mission, i.e. to land a Moon Rover that would would explore the Moon.