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Summer Course students attend ESA's 50 Years of Space Science event in Geneva

General structure

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ESA / About Us / ECSL European Centre for Space Law

The details contained in this page are generally applicable to the Summer Course on Space Law and Policy. However, each year is a little different depending on the host venue.


The ECSL Summer Course is open to university students and young professionals.

Students and young professionals have come from all over Europe and worldwide, including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Iran, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Priority for places is given to students coming from Member States of the European Space Agency. Please see the link on the right-hand side for more details on Student Selection Criteria


One group presents their project at the UN OOSA
One group presents their project at the UN OOSA

The course lasts two weeks and usually starts in the last week of August or the first week of September, depending upon the calendar of the host institution

Lectures are around 60-90 minutes each and participants can expect several lectures per day during the week except on those days which have been set aside for a space-related event or excursion. Lectures take place at the host Faculty or institution.

After the last lecture in the afternoon, participants meet in working groups to continue progress on their presentations (see below).

Each year the course is structured around central components:

  • First: a general introduction to the sources and principles of space law.
  • Second: a series of lectures concerning the legal aspects of specific space applications or activities as well as recent developments in space law and policy. In this way, each Summer Course has a unique theme/s.
  • Third: participants are split into working groups to prepare a group project.  The aim of the exercise is to combine the teaching content of the course with independent research. The groups are assigned 'tutors' (ECSL Summer Course old-alumni) to assist them. At the end of the course each group shall present their work (for instance a programme proposal to ESA) to a jury panel made up of ECSL Professors and selected industry representatives. Participants are challenged to defend their positions and demonstrate their grasp of the applicable law and policy.


Where applicable, students have access to the host institution's library. In addition, the students will receive via email a number of documents to read prior to the course. These will include a collection of all the major space treaties and other UN legal instruments. We strongly recommend that students print all such documents and bring them with them on the course.

The ECSL will try to arrange, so far as possible, access to printing and photocopying facilities for participants. The ECSL cannot guarantee the sufficient availability of computers and therefore strongly advises participants to bring their own laptop computers. However, a laptop computer is NOT a prerequisite to attend the course if you do not own one.


All participants are responsible for organising (and financing) their own transportation to and from the Summer Course destination.

Participants are asked to pay special attention to any visa requirements that may be in place.


The nature of the accommodation varies each year depending on the venue. Generally, all participants (including tutors) stay in single, double or triple rooms at a comfortable hotel, hostel or university halls of residence organised in advance by the ECSL, and within a short walk or bus ride from where the classes will take place. Information on accommodation will be provided in advance.

The ECSL will normally provide accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis. Participants are otherwise responsible for their own food and other living expenses. The ECSL will try and secure reduced rates locally at the hotel, local restaurants and at the host university/institution cafeteria where possible.


Participants of varying age, gender, nationality and background are all working and collaborating towards with shared goals at the Summer Course. The atmosphere has always been one of respect, tolerance and openness. Students, tutors and faculty all socialise after classes and it is important for students to have fun whilst on the course.

However, this should not come at the expense of the educational goals of the course. Attendance at lectures is compulsory. Students who fail to attend lectures or participate in their working groups may not receive their final certificate of participation.

All students selected for the course will be asked to read and sign the Summer Course Rules document prior to being accepted on the course.

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