Conditions to apply

Scope of the Candidate CubeSat

The new edition of the Fly Your Satellite! programme is open to university student teams that have a detailed design of their system finalised and a one-, two- or three-unit CubeSat that is ready to be built/ being built/ or fully integrated. 

The scope of the proposed CubeSat project must be educational, and the proposal must clarify how the educational objectives will be pursued.

The proposal must also highlight the mission objectives of the CubeSat (e.g. science, technology, etc…). 

More detailed information can be found in the Instructions for CubeSat proposal.


Only launches from the International Space Station are envisioned in this edition of Fly Your Satellite!.  For this reason,  only CubeSat missions compatible with a launch to and deployment from the ISS can be considered for this opportunity.

CubeSat missions proposed must therefore be compatible with the orbit and in-orbit lifetime provided by ISS launches, and must comply with the ISS requirements for safety. 

The opportunity is open to university teams from ESA Member States*.

Applicants must be university teams that include:

  • A core team of a minimum of 8 students complying with the eligibility criteria. The number of student team members may be extended during the project lifetime. There is no limit to the maximum number of student team members. Of these 8, a minimum of 4 student team members must be at Master or PhD level.
  • A minimum of 2 supervisors, covering these three functions:
    • An endorsing professor, responsible for the CubeSat project, endorsing the CubeSat proposal on behalf of the university
    • A team leader (the professor, a PhD student, or a university assistant) coordinating the project at system level and ensuring the milestones and deadlines of the FYS programme are met
    • A system engineer (the team leader, or a PhD student from the same university as the team leader)

Student team members are encouraged to prepare graduation theses on subjects  related to their CubeSat mission (e.g. technological, engineering, scientific…). This should be reflected in their proposal, and ESA will consider that as an educational asset.

The core student team (as specified above), as well as all students receiving sponsorship or training from ESA’s Education Office, must comply with the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Be aged between 18 and 32;
  • Be a citizen of an ESA Member State*;
  • Be enrolled as a full-time Bachelor, Master or PhD student (or equivalent)  at a university of an ESA Member State*.

CubeSat teams may include a limited number of students from non ESA Member States*, but these students will not be supported by ESA for participation in programme events or  training.

ESA may ask the university teams to provide evidence of their compliance to the eligibility criteria at any time during the project.

*ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Associate Members: Canada, Slovenia.

Legal issues and Registration

The CubeSat teams or their universities will be the owners of the satellites, and will hold all the responsibilities related to this ownership, including:

  • the mandatory coordination of amateur frequencies with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), if applicable;
  • the registration of the satellite frequencies at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU);
  • the registration of the satellite at the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space;
  • the responsibility to perform the analysis for the satellite de-orbiting, and overall compliance with the requirements for space debris mitigation;
  • any applicable national legislation.


ESA’s Education Office will offer guidance on each of these topics throughout the programme.

Project Funding
The teams participating in the Fly Your Satellite! programme must rely on their own sponsors to fund the complete development of their satellite. The student teams must also rely on their own independent funding to support the satellite operations. 

ESA Sponsorship
Students who may directly benefit from the different forms of sponsorship and training opportunities that ESA’s Education Office will offer must comply with the eligibility criteria. Students that do not meet the eligibility criteria cannot be sponsored by ESA’s Education Office.

ESA’s contribution in the support of the participating CubeSat student teams will include the following:

  • Support offered by ESA Education personnel that run the programme and by ESA specialists who will lecture, follow up, and review the student activities;
  • Access to and use of test facilities;
  • Student sponsorship for travel and accommodation for the participation in ESA workshops and training courses, reviews of the “Fly Your Satellite!” programme, and test campaigns;
  • Launch opportunity, if the CubeSat is accepted for launch

Please note that selection for participation in the Fly Your Satellite! programme does not imply a guaranteed launch; this will only be granted by ESA to the teams that pass successfully the Test your satellite! phase. Launch dates will be defined while the programme develops. The earliest launch opportunity is expected to be in 2018.

Last update: 6 January 2017

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