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New opportunities to participate in ESA Academy’s Concurrent Engineering Workshops

06/12/2018 5642 views 14 likes
ESA / Education / ESA Academy

ESA’s Education Office is looking for 60 talented and motivated university students with an engineering or physics background from ESA Member or Associate States to take part in one of two upcoming Concurrent Engineering Workshops set to take place between 12 to 15 March and 30 April to 3 May 2019.

Concurrent engineering is a method of designing and developing products for the space sector. Contrary to traditional design methods, in concurrent engineering all subsystems are designed simultaneously. This is a far more efficient way of working, but comes with its own unique challenge: solutions in one area that could impact the design of another subsystem must be identified and communicated between teams instantly. Although concurrent engineering is a more complicated process to begin with, in effect it allows mistakes to be identified – and rectified – earlier, therefore reducing the overall design time.

ESA’s main Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) is located at ESA’s technology centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. However, within the framework of the ESA Academy programme, ESA has developed a similar facility exclusively for educational purposes, which is located at ESA’s European space Security and Education Centre (ESEC) in Belgium. Access to this facility during the workshops complements what students are learning at university by familiarising them with the concurrent engineering approach. 

Content of the workshops
The selected students will travel to the green expanses of Belgium’s Ardennes region, where the ESA Academy Training and Learning Facility is located. Guided by ESA Systems Engineers, the students will learn about concurrent engineering and its benefits, gaining first-hand experience with the Open Concurrent Design Tool (OCDT) and identifying design drivers.

Students will be given a mission brief, then use concurrent engineering to create a spacecraft design.
Students will be given a mission brief, then use concurrent engineering to create a spacecraft design.

Students will be divided into groups of between two and four, and will cover the following disciplines: 

  • Structures / mechanisms
  • Configuration
  • Power 
  • Thermal 
  • Attitude and Orbital Control Systems (AOCS) 
  • Propulsion 
  • Optics / sensors 
  • Trajectory analysis
  • Communications / data handling
Previous Concurrent Engineering Workshop cohorts have found the experience to be hugely rewarding!
Previous Concurrent Engineering Workshop cohorts have found the experience to be hugely rewarding!

Within their groups, students will create a subsystem concept in order to achieve their given mission using concurrent engineering. They will start with a first iteration of all the subsystems along with a budget that they will have to review and present. A second iteration will then be completed according to the identified function tree and product tree and, in the end, the mission design will be finalised and presented by the students.

A few weeks before each workshop, the selected students will receive OCDT tutorial documents to allow them to become familiar with the tool. Afterwards, an online tutorial will be organised so that students can be guided by an ESA expert on the use of OCDT.

Who can apply?
In order to participate, students must fulfil the following criteria at the time of application:

  • be aged between 18 and 32;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member States, Canada and Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a full-time MSc or PhD student in a university (not graduating before the workshops);
  • be studying an engineering subject or physics.

ESA will cover the cost of accommodation and meals, as well as up to 200 Euros for travelling to Belgium, for each selected student. 

How to apply

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Select preferred subsystems;
  • Provide availability for the workshops’ dates;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (Europass format, PDF, maximum 2 pages, no images);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor from the applicant’s current university;
  • Upload an official copy of academic records (PDF, in English, with the University Stamp). 


The deadline for applications is 30 January 2019, 23:59 CET.

All answers and documents should be in English (except academic records if not available). 

For more information, please contact tlp @