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Participants of the 2019 edition of the Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations Training Course
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Call for applications for the Online Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations Training Course 2020

18/06/2020 10220 views 22 likes
ESA / Education / ESA Academy

Following the success of ESA Academy’s Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations training courses in the past four years, ESA’s Education Office is offering university students the opportunity to participate again in this course through an online version and learn about the fascinating world of spacecraft operations. 

To bring this fascinating world of challenges and satisfaction to life for university students contemplating a career in the space sector, ESA is organising the Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Operations Training Course, a technical course without excessive mathematics or technical jargon. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, this year the course will be offered online, through 8 morning sessions, between the 7th and the 18th of September 2020.

The course will show students how ‘driving’ a spacecraft is different from designing it. When it comes to spacecraft, it is the launch itself that grabs all the headlines. Once in orbit, we only tend to hear about the satellite again when it returns a great result or a spectacular image. But spacecraft do not take care of themselves on their own.

Livestream image of the 2019 edition
Livestream image of the 2019 edition

The unsung heroes of any space mission are the people working in operations. They are the ones who work 24/7 to ensure that the spacecraft is healthy, returning the most data, and functioning at peak efficiency. In addition, these are the operators who diagnose problems with satellites and work out how to make them function properly again.

The course is suitable for BSc, MSc and PhD students who want to quickly acquire a feeling for the broad spectrum of disciplines that are part of spacecraft operations.

Taught by an experienced engineer who works for the Operations Department of ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, the course will be delivered through formal lectures but with a heavy emphasis placed on the interaction with the students. 

Online participants asking questions during 2019 edition
Online participants asking questions during 2019 edition

The way specific sub-systems of a spacecraft like Attitude, Determination and Control Subsystem (ADCS), Orbit Control System (OCS), Power, On Board Data Handling (OBDH), Telemetry, Telecommunication & Control (TT&C), Thermal and On Board Software (OBS), have been designed has a bearing on the way operations are carried out, and this will be highlighted and discussed. The course will include a session on the physiological traps to be avoided during operations and testing.

Real stories of operational staff battling with wayward spacecraft – sometimes winning and sometimes losing – will be used whenever appropriate. “If you want to really understand how a spacecraft works this is the right course. It goes through all the subsystems in a way that makes you understand the connection between everything on that spacecraft. All in all it is the perfect opportunity for anyone who is interested in working in the space industry,” said an engineering student from Romania who participated in a previous edition of the training course.

The students will also learn about ESA’s European space Security and Education Centre (ESEC) and the activities performed on site including Galileo and PROBA spacecraft’s operations. 

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1 Introduction - the difference between design and operations engineers 
Day 2 Mission design and payloads
Attitude Dynamic and Control Subsystems - part 1
Day 3 Attitude Dynamic and Control Subsystems - part 2
Day 4 Operations
Orbit Control System
Power - part 1 
Day 5 ESECPower - part 2
Thermal
Galileo 
Day 6 ESEC
Telemetry, Telecommunication & Command
On Board Data Handling - part 1
Day 7 On Board Data Handling - part 2
On Board Software
Day 8  Wrap-up
ESA & ESA Education Programme
Conclusion
Evaluation

Who can apply?

Students enrolled in university who fulfil the following criteria:

  • aged minimum 18 years old.  ESA Academy and relevant partners will only appraise applications from students who have no or limited professional experience in relevant scientific, engineering or other space-related topics;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Canada or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a Bachelor, Master, or PhD student in a university for the year 2020-2021;
  • be studying an engineering subject or physics (with basic knowledge in space technology). 

Selected students will be requested to attend all 8 morning sessions live.

Upon completion of the training course students will be evaluated via an online questionnaireand will receive a certificate of participation and a course transcript, allowing them to request ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

How to apply?

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (PDF, Europass form, no images, maximum 2 pages);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor of current university (if not possible due to the current confinement situation in your country, please ask a university professor or an academic supervisor to send a recommendation email to tlp@esa.int);
  • Upload a copy of academic records (PDF).

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

The deadline for applications is the 21st of July 2020 23:59 CEST. For more information, please contact tlp @ esa.int.