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Call for CubeSats on the Vega maiden flight

11/02/2008 847 views 0 likes
ESA / Education

Following on from the agreement signed between the ESA Directorates of Launchers and Legal Affairs and External Relations in May 2007 regarding Educational Payload on the Maiden Flight of the Vega Launcher, and the successful CubeSat workshop held at ESTEC on 22-24 January 2008, the ESA Education Office has the pleasure in issuing a Call For CubeSat Proposals to universities in ESA Member and Cooperating States.

In releasing this call, the ESA Education Office recognises the growing importance of CubeSat projects as a key tool in providing university students with a valuable hands-on practical education across all space engineering disciplines from end-to-end through the complete space project lifecycle. By offering this flight opportunity, it is intended to strengthen the already active and growing European CubeSat community and foster a network of universities cooperating in this area in conjunction with ESA.

The launch opportunity on the Vega maiden flight is offered free of charge for up to 6 CubeSats, with an additional 2 backup CubeSats on stand-by.

Vega on launch pad (artist's impression)
Vega on launch pad (artist's impression)

Proposals are solicited from interested universities with CubeSat projects of sufficient maturity level to be able to meet the Vega maiden flight schedule (current target launch date of December 2008).

However, recognising that this is a challenging schedule for many teams and in order to offer the possibility of a free launch to a wider set of universities, the Agency also encourages the submission of proposals from CubeSat teams able to deliver flight hardware in early 2009. These latter proposals might be accommodated in case of slippages in the Vega maiden flight launch date.
All details concerning this call for proposals can be found in the call document on this webpage.

Proposals (max. 15 pages) must be submitted via e-mail to education @ in PDF or MS Word format by the deadline of 17 March 2008.

An artist's impression of the SwissCube
An artist's impression of the SwissCube

Receipt of the submitted proposals will be acknowledged by return of e-mail. Proposals will then be evaluated by the ESA Selection Board and the selected CubeSats will be announced on the ESA Education web portal by mid June 2008. Selected teams will then be contacted with further instructions on their participation in the Vega maiden flight until launch, including technical interface meetings.


ESA recognises that the applicable document AD2 in the call may be challenging for the compliance of CubeSats in the area of random vibration, and therefore requests that proposals contain their maximum possible vibration levels if they are below the levels specified in the document. If this is the case, then ESA will proceed to compute the loads at the base of the deployer and revise the qualification levels for CubeSat payloads as necessary.

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