Below is a detailed description of the Orbit Your Thesis! programme and its schedule. It is intended to clarify what is expected of the teams. Preparation of an ICE Cube will be a considerable amount of work not to be underestimated!
A.1 Project definition and writing of the proposal for all applicants
During this phase, the applicants will identify the members of their team (focus on diversity, inclusiveness and scientific/engineering balance), find a professor/academic supervisor who will explicitly endorse the students and project throughout the programme in the form of an official letter.
After defining their project objectives, the students are expected to have an accurate knowledge of the scientific background of their project as well as a solid understanding of how they will realise their experiment – in both a qualitative and quantitative way.
The experiment proposal and the preliminary questionnaire shall focus on the scientific and/or technology-related objectives of the project as well as on the technical details for the implementation of the experiment. Students should show that they have very good knowledge of their project’s topic using references to bibliography and scientific literature in the field and giving the details of the operations phase.
Documents expected: experiment proposal, preliminary questionnaire and letter of endorsement
Deadline: 2 September 2018
A.2 Review of experiment proposal and shortlisting of teams
ESA Education Office and the Selection Board will shortlist the teams which have met all the eligibility criteria, have demonstrated appropriate background knowledge of the science and whose experiments are suitable for the ICE Cubes and ISS platform.
When: shortlist to be announced by 11 September 2018
B.1 Updating the experiment proposal and writing of the Experiment Flight Safety Data Package Phase 0
Students will be asked to update the experiment proposal and to submit a first version of the Experiment Flight Safety Data Package (EFSDP). This document highlights all the technical aspects of the experiment related to safety that could jeopardize the accommodation and utilization onboard the ISS. Applicants will be provided with a template generated by ICE Cubes Service.
Experiment Flight Safety Data Package (EFSDP) Phase 0
|Deadline||23 September 2018|
B.2 Selection Workshop at ESA/ESTEC
Shortlisted teams will be invited to a selection workshop at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, situated in the Netherlands. During this workshop, the teams will present their projects to a Selection Board composed of engineers and scientists from Space Applications Services, ESA specialists from different functional areas (Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, ESA Education Office) and members of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA).
Specifically, Space Applications Services will provide a review based on safety and feasibility of all the EFSDPs submitted by the teams. Based on the evaluation of the experiment proposals, the preliminary questionnaire and the review of the experiment flight safety data package, the Selection Board will identify the experiment recommended to fly onboard the ISS inside the ICE Cubes facility.
|Documents expected||presentation slides of the project/safety|
|Workshop at ESTEC||17-18 October 2018|
|Evaluation by the Selection Board||the final selection of the winning team is to be expected by November 2018|
C.1 Experiment development
Focusing on the Selection Board feedback, the selected team will start improving the experiment’s design. The endorsing professors will focus on the scientific aspects of these improvements. Experts from Space Application Services will review the preparation and the design of the experimental set-up and procedure so to obtain the safety and flight readiness certification. The list of requirements documents and the documents to be prepared during the development and verification is reported in the tables below together with the schedule of the delivery.
Documents expected: See below the list and timeline of documents to be produced.
Main Checkpoints of development and verification phase
|Selection of Experiment and Launch Manifest||November 2018|
|Safety review Phase II and critical design review||L-5 months|
Safety Review Phase III
|Interface Test at SpaceApps||NLT L-7 weeks|
Cargo Review in Turin
Very late (biological) cargo
delivery at Launch Site
|L-3 days||L-7 days|
C.2 Confirmation Launch
When: May 2019
D.1 Integrated tests
Space Application Services’ ground model of the ICE Cubes facility will be available for the team to perform integrated tests for verification of all interface requirements and operational procedures.
When: Flight Model NLT L-7 weeks
Engineering Model as soon as possible
D.2 FAR/Hardware delivery and shipment
When the readiness of the experiment cube will be demonstrated by the completion of the design reviews and of the Safety Review, the Cube will be shipped to ALTEC (Turin – Italy) for the Cargo Review, before the shipment of the Cube to the launch site.
When: Launch – 5 weeks
E.1 ICE Cubes Launch
When: October 2019 (Orbital 12 or SpaceX-19)
Upon arrival to the International Space Station, the Experiment Cube will be installed into the ICE Cubes Facility ready for operation. Eventually, the ICE Cubes Mission Control Centre will activate and pass control to the team so that they will be able to run the experiment according to the predefined operations plan and directly monitor and control the experiments.
When: October 2019 – January 2020
After up to 4 months in orbit, the Experiment Cube will be removed from the facility and disposed of. Data optionally stored on removable media will be returned on next available returning vehicle that can accommodate the payload.
When: February 2020
F.2 Analysis of results
The team will analyse the results obtained and eventually is expected to write a scientific paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. As a conclusion to the programme, the students are expected to complete their experiment entry on the Erasmus Experiment Archive, including all the relevant and disclosable information, results and conclusions from the investigation.
Documents expected: entry on Erasmus Experiment Archive and draft of scientific paper
Deadline: four months after the end of the experiment
Whilst every effort is undertaken by ESA and associated partners to avoid such circumstances, any phase of the Orbit Your Thesis! programme may be cancelled, delayed, postponed for any number of reasons. Participating teams will be notified immediately if such circumstances arise. Publishing this announcement of opportunity and progressing through the selection process does not guarantee a launch opportunity.
Last update: 20 July 2018