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Current programme Phases

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ESA / Education / CubeSats - Fly Your Satellite!

The Fly Your Satellite! programme is open to university teams with CubeSat projects at different stages of development. There are three entry levels through different Call for Opportunities and Call for Proposals. The present Call for Proposals is targeted at teams at the final design stage (Entry Level 1) or that are ready to proceed to the satellite verification campaign (Entry Level 2); their satellite can be a one-, two- or three-unit CubeSat. Teams with Proposals accepted in the programme will be supported by ESA in the final design, integration and testing of the satellite, and may eventually have the possibility to benefit from a launch offered by ESA and operate their CubeSat in orbit. Intermediate objectives and reviews will have to be successfully achieved by the student teams before being admitted to the subsequent programme phases.

Programme phases
Programme phases

Entry Level 1 & 2: Call for Proposals 

Applicant teams for the hands-on FYS programme are invited through the present Call for Proposals to apply for one of the two entry levels:

Entry level 1 starts with the preparation of the Critical Design Review during the Design Your Satellite! Phase (Phase C), and is open to CubeSat teams that have a detailed design of their system finalised or that are ready to proceed to the satellite integration.

Before completing the flight hardware integration and testing, teams accepted to entry level 1will prepare the Critical Design Review (CDR), during which ESA specialists will evaluate the detailed design.


Entry level 2 starts with the preparation of the satellite verification campaign during Phase D, and is open only to CubeSat teams that have completed the detailed design as well as the procurement and integration of all elements of the satellite. Thus Entry Level 2 teams must have the satellite fully integrated, and ready for testing. While selected teams will not pass through the CDR process, they must demonstrate in the proposal the ability to provide detailed design descriptions and be prepared to establish any missing technical analyses and documentation as needed for the preparation of the satellite test campaign or any subsequent review. This includes the technical specification (requirements baseline) of the CubeSat. Applicant teams for this entry level will be asked as part of the selection process to allow inspections of the integrated satellite, as well as to offer a demonstration of a few of the satellites’ functions through a preliminary functional test.


Teams should submit a proposal following the guidelines found in 'how to apply' and 'conditions to apply'.

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of ESA experts. A selection of shortlisted teams will be invited to ESA’s Selection Workshop where they will present their project. The final selection will then be made based on their proposals and presentations.

Overview of the programme phases

  • Design Your Satellite!
    This phase starts with the baselining of the technical requirements in the System Requirements Review (SRR) and the consolidation of the CubeSat and Ground Segment detailed design. With the support of ESA specialists, who identify key issues and assist in solving them, teams finalise the design documentation in preparation for the Critical Design Review (CDR). The CubeSat and Ground Segment detailed design is consolidated and following a successful completion of the Critical Design Review, the team will proceed to the Build Your Satellite! phase. 
  • Build Your Satellite!
    Throughout this phase of the FYS programme, the teams complete the manufacturing, assembly, and integration of their CubeSat before testing the fully integrated CubeSat in ambient conditions. The result of this phase is a fully built and functioning satellite. Once this has been achieved, and a review with ESA has been passed, the team will then be able to move onto the next phase: Test Your Satellite!.
  • Test Your Satellite!
    During this phase, the teams will execute environmental testing on their CubeSats, including vibration and thermal vacuum/ thermal cycling tests, for which ESA’s Education Office offers the use of dedicated test facilities at ESA. By the end of this phase, the team should successfully complete the verification, demonstrating that the CubeSat (flight and ground segment) fully meets all applicable requirements and can be awarded their 'ticket to orbit!' which grants access to the Launch Your Satellite! phase.
  • Launch Your Satellite!
    Teams admitted to this phase are offered a launch opportunity by ESA. Teams will then perform all the activities at space and ground segment level necessary to prepare for the launch of the CubeSat. The CubeSats will be installed inside CubeSat orbital deployers, and after a campaign of integrated tests (to be performed in accordance with the requirements from the launch organisation), the flight hardware will be shipped to the launch site in time for the launch campaign.
    Before launch, teams will pass a launch readiness review conducted by the Launch Authority
  • Operate Your Satellite!
    This phase starts with the deployment of the CubeSat into orbit. Once in orbit, the teams operate their satellite from their university ground stations and gather the data obtained from their mission. This phase, and with it the participation in the programme, will conclude with a ‘Mission evaluation & lessons learned’ workshop at ESA.
    Student teams will share their experiences and results from their mission through participation in conferences, for which they can be supported by ESA’s Education Office.

Entry Level 0: Call for Opportunities

Entry Level 0 allows students to participate in additional CubeSat-related training opportunities offered in collaboration with the Training and Learning Programme, targeting university students and teams in early phases of CubeSat projects. These learning opportunities include a CubeSats Concurrent Engineering Workshop, and a CubeSat Hands-On Training Week. University students and teams with satellite projects at conceptual level or a preliminary phase can benefit from these training sessions. In the future a CubeSats Testing Training Week will be included in the portfolio.

This entry level falls outside the scope of the present Call for Proposals. For more information about current and upcoming opportunities, please visit the website. 

The Call for Applications for the CubeSats Hands-on Training Week 2019 is currently open.