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Future opportunities

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ESA / Education / ESA Academy

Due to the evolution of the corona virus situation in Europe, and in line with governmental instructions across Europe and with the recommendations of ESA's Director General on travel restrictions for health and safety reasons, the ESA Education Office reserves the right to cancel the remaining scheduled ESA Academy’s Training Sessions for 2020:

Date Training Session Status
8 – 11 September 2020  Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations Training Course 2020 Call to be opened
21 – 25 September 2020 CubeSats Hands-on Training Week 2020 Call to be opened
29 September – 2 October 2020 Standardization Training Course 2020 Call to be opened
13 – 16 October 2020 Human Space Physiology Training Course 2020 Call to be opened
23 – 27 November 2020 Post-Alpbach Summer School Event 2020 Call to be opened
30 November – 4 December 2020 Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2020 Call to be opened

Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations Training Course 2020

Status: Call for applications to be opened 
Date: 8 - 11 September 2020  

Description: Taught by an Advanced Operations & IOD Project Manager who works for the Operations Department of ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, the course is delivered through formal lectures without excessive mathematics or technical jargon, but with a heavy emphasis placed on the interaction with the students. Students learn about: 

  • the challenges of operating a spacecraft (as opposed to designing a spacecraft)
  • the operator’s view on all the spacecraft subsystems and the design features to implement in order to operate them
  • ‘physiological’ traps to be avoided during operations and testing

Preliminary Schedule:

Day 1 Introduction - the difference between design and operations engineers 
Mission design and payloads
Attitude Dynamic and Control Subsystems
Group Exercise
Day 2 Orbit Control System
Telemetry, Telecommunication & Command
Group Exercise
Day 3 On Board Data Handling 
On Board Software
Group Exercise
Day 4 On Board Software
Group Exercise and Conclusion


CubeSats Hands-on Training Week 2020

Status: Call for applications to be opened
Date: 21 – 25 September 2020

Description: During this 5-day training week, the university students learn about small satellite design and testing through hands-on exercises on a CubeSat training model, the ESAT. These lab sessions are supervised by Theia Space and complemented by technical lectures, delivered by ESA experts. The aim of this Training Week is to allow university students, who are involved in a CubeSat mission or would like to develop one, to get acquainted to the hardware and software of a CubeSat and to the assembly, integration and verification of a small satellite as well as all the testing required.

Preliminary Schedule: 

 Day 1   Space Systems Engineering
  Introduction to the ESAT model
 Day 2   On Board Data Handling
 Day 3   Electrical Power System
 Day 4   Attitude and Orbit Control System
  Assembly, Integration and Verification 
 Day 5   Satellite Operations
  Satellite Testing


Standardisation Training Course 2020

Status: Call for applications to be opened 
Date: 29 September – 2 October 2020

Description: During this four-day training course, university students are given an introduction to the ECSS system and taught the importance of using standards. They are also provided with an overview of how/why standards are used in different disciplines at ESA. Throughout face-to-face lectures from several ESA experts, students appreciate the importance of the ECSS system, which will be an important part of their space-related career, complementing what they normally learn at university.   

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1  Introduction to ECSS System
 System Engineering
Day 2  Product Assurance & Quality Assurance 
 Control Engineering
Day 3  Communications protocols
 Electrical Engineering 
 Thermal Engineering
Day 4  Software Engineering & Product Assurance
 Ground System and Operations


Human Space Physiology Training Course 2020

Status: Call for applications to be opened
Date: 13 – 18 October 2020 

Description: Two groups of university students take part in this training course from two different ESA sites connected through videoconferencing: ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Facility in ESEC-Galaxia, Belgium and the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. Through face-to-face and videoconference lectures delivered from each location, students are introduced to the human physiological effects of spaceflight and to the approaches to mitigate the effects of microgravity on the human body with the use of analogues and models of the space environment. They are also involved in a group project addressing some of the major issues and challenges facing human spaceflight.

The students are introduced to the following topics:

  • What it’s really like to live in space
  • The challenges, lessons, and successes that have led to permanent occupation of the International Space Station, 
  • The conditions that the ISS provides to protect and support life
  • How the senses perceive being ‘weightless’ 
  • How key physiological systems respond to microgravity, what mechanisms underlie these changes, and some approaches that may be used to mitigate such effects
  • How Human space physiology research is performed both in space, and using Earth-based analogues
  • Major issues and challenges facing current human spaceflight and future space exploration.


Post-Alpbach School Summer School Event 2020

Status: only open to students who will participate in the Alpbach Summer School 2020
Date: 23 – 27 November 2020  

Description: Students get the opportunity to carry on working on one of the missions proposed by the student teams during the Alpbach Summer School 2020 on “Comparative Plasma Physics in the Universe”. The objective of this event is to further the design of this mission using the Concurrent Engineering approach. Students are supported by ESA and external experts whilst using ESA Academy's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF).

Preliminary Schedule: 

 Day 1    Guidelines for the event
  Mission presentation
  Preparation for CDF session
  First CDF session 
 Day 2    Mission redefinition
  Second CDF session
 Day 3    Third CDF session
  Conclusion of CDF sessions
  Preparation of oral presentation and article
 Day 4    Delivery of preliminary oral presentation and article
  Finalisation of oral presentation and article
 Day 5   Final oral presentation 


Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2020

Status: Call for student applications to be opened.
Status: Call for university applications closed.

Date: 30 November – 4 December 2020

Description: The ESA Academy Concurrent Engineering Challenge features groups of up to 30 university students, each one supervised by two system engineers in four Concurrent Engineering Facilities (CEF) located in three European universities and in ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Facility. Groups are given a specific mission to design in four days. Students in each group are divided into small teams of two to four people to cover the following disciplines: structures, configuration, power, mechanisms, thermal, attitude and orbit control, propulsion, trajectory analysis, communications and data handling. Students within each small team create a subsystem concept in order to achieve the mission parameters using the Concurrent Engineering approach. The groups do not compete against each other. Instead, they use video conferencing to share each day’s progress, raise any particular difficulties they are facing, and receive helpful input from the other participants. At the end of the week, each group presents their final design. Ultimately, students involved in the Challenge learn about the Concurrent Engineering approach and its benefits, the Open Concurrent Design Tool (OCDT) and how ESA performs the technical and financial feasibility studies of space missions.

Preliminary Schedule:

Day 1 Introduction to the Concurrent Engineering Approach
Get familiar with Workbooks and OCDT 
Presentation of each CEF
Mission overview and requirements
Day 2 System requirements and mission architecture
Mission phases and system modes definition
First iteration of the design including preliminary budgets
Each group results presentation
Day 4 Second iteration of all subsystems 
Product tree
Each group second iteration presentation
Day 5 Final design consolidation & any open issues
Each group final presentation
Conclusion and certificates distribution