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The village of Alpbach

Applications now open for Alpbach Summer School 2019

24/01/2019 7891 views 29 likes
ESA / Education / ESA Academy

The 43rd edition of the Alpbach Summer School will be held from 16 to 25 July 2019, and will focus on “Geophysics from Space Using Micro- or Nano-Satellite Constellations”. University students and young graduates have until 31 March 2019 to apply.  

Held annually since 1975 in the beautiful Austrian Alps, the Alpbach Summer School enjoys a long tradition of providing in-depth teaching on different topics of space science and technology, with the aim of advancing the training and working experience of European university students and young graduates.  

The purpose of the Summer School is to foster the practical application of knowledge derived from lectures, to develop organisational and group skills, and to encourage creativity. Teams will compete to design the best project, and will be judged by an independent jury of experts.  

This year, 60 students and young graduates in engineering and science from ESA’s Member, Associate, and Cooperating states* will again be selected to participate in the Alpbach Summer School. 

Geophysics from Space Using Micro- or Nano-Satellite Constellations
Geophysics from Space Using Micro- or Nano-Satellite Constellations

The participants will be informed about past achievements and current issues, and will be invited to propose ideas for new satellite missions to observe the magnetic and gravitational field of the Earth from space with a high resolution in space and time using a mission configuration that goes beyond all missions that have been realized so far. 

Four student teams will be set up to define the scientific objectives of a space mission and a preliminary end-to-end mission design to further including the spacecraft, scientific instruments, mission and science operations that will meet the stated objective under the supervision of noted scientific and engineering experts. Each student team will conceive and elaborate an innovative satellite mission and present it to an expert review panel on the last day.

The participants will be exposed to some real-life challenges, such as long working days (before proposal submission) and an expectation that they are able to immediately apply knowledge and techniques that they have only recently been exposed to. They will also have to handle the trials of establishing and maintaining an international and multi-disciplinary team composed of both scientists and engineers. They will need to balance scientific objectives and requirements with the realistic constraints of mission design, spacecraft design, and mission cost.  

Students attending the 2018 Post-Alpbach Summer School Event
Students attending the 2018 Post-Alpbach Summer School Event

The Alpbach Summer School is complemented by the Post-Alpbach Summer School Event, which takes place during a week at the ESA Academy's Training and Learning Facility at ESEC-Galaxia in Belgium. During this week, students from the Alpbach Summer School extend the design of one of the missions developed during the Summer School using the Concurrent Engineering approach. To do so, they are divided in small teams to cover the different disciplines of the mission and, guided by two ESA Systems Engineers and a few tutors from the Summer School. The teams iterate on the design of the mission. The mission to be further studied at the ESA Academy’s facility is selected at the end of the Summer School by the Alpbach Summer School Jury and all the students who participated to the Summer School are invited to apply for the Post-Alpbach Summer School Event. In 2019 the Post-Alpbach Summer School Event will be organised between 25 and 29 November. 

Application Deadline for the Alpbach Summer School: 31 March 2019 

Online Application:

The Alpbach Summer School is organised by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). It is co-sponsored by ESA and the national space authorities of its Member, Associate, and Cooperating States. A traditional partner is the International Space Science Institute. It is also supported by Austrospace, the association of Austrian space industries and research institutions. EuroPlanet offers grants for students. 

The Summer School is open to science and engineering university students and graduates from ESA Member, Associate and Cooperating States. 

Applicants need to be citizens of one of these states to be eligible for financial support by the relevant national sponsoring agencies, universities and EuroPlanet. 

For more information, please visit the Alpbach Summer School website.   

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

Associate states:
Canada and Slovenia 

Cooperating States:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia