Students working in smaller teams on different disciplines

Students are called to apply for the 2019 Concurrent Engineering Challenge

16/07/2019 4688 views 6 likes
ESA / Education / ESA Academy

ESA’s Education Office is looking for 30 talented and motivated university students from an ESA Member States, Canada and Slovenia with an engineering or physics background to take part in the Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2019 from the educational Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) of ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Facility in ESEC-Galaxia, Transinne, Belgium.

Following the success of the two first editions of the Concurrent Engineering Challenge organised in 2017 and 2018 by ESA’s Education Office and Systems and Concurrent Engineering Section, a third edition will be held from 11 to 15 November 2019.

Four groups of up to 30 University students will participate in this Concurrent Engineering Challenge: one directly from the ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Facility and the others from different Concurrent Engineering Facilities (CEF) located in three European universities, respectively: Cranfield University (United Kingdom), Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden).

Concurrent engineering is a method of designing and developing products in the space sector. Contrary to traditional design methods, in Concurrent Engineering, all subsystems are designed simultaneously, as specialists of all disciplines and subsystems collaborate in joint sessions conducted at in a dedicated facility. This is a far more efficient way of designing, but it has its own challenges as well. Solutions in one area that could affect the design in another must be identified and communicated instantly. Although concurrent engineering is a more intense process to begin with, in effect it allows mistakes to be identified earlier, therefore reducing the design time.

Through this Challenge, students complement what they are learning at university by familiarising themselves with the concurrent engineering approach and its benefits, and also learn how ESA assesses technical and financial feasibility of space missions. Europe’s leadership in space depends upon its ability to continue developing world-class missions. To do that, a new generation of space engineers and scientists needs to be trained.

The system Engineer guides the students throughout the design
The system Engineer guides the students throughout the design

Selected students in each CEF will be supervised by two system engineers and will be given, at the start of the Challenge, the same space mission to design within four days. Students in each group will be 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 will design their subsystem using the Concurrent Engineering approach with the objective of complying with the mission requirements and prove feasibility.

The four groups of university students located around Europe will not compete against each other. Instead, they will use video conferencing to share each day’s progress, raise any particular difficulties they are facing, and receive helpful inputs from the other participants. At the end of the week, each group will present their final design to the three other groups.

Before the Challenge, all selected students will be offered by ESA the opportunity to participate in an online tutorial of the Open Concurrent Design Tool (OCDT) to get familiar with the tool and get ready for the Challenge!

The deadline for applications to participate in the Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2019 from ESA Academy’s CDF is 16 September 2019, 23:59 CET.

In parallel to this ESA’s selection process, the three European universities involved in the Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2019 are organising their own student selection.  

Preliminary schedule of the Challenge: 

Day 1 Introduction to the Concurrent Engineering Approach
Get familiar with Workbooks and OCDT
Presentation of each CEF
Introduction to the mission
Mission overview and requirements
Day 2 System requirements
Mission and system modes definition
First iteration of all subsystems – part 1
Each group results presentation
Day 3 First iteration of all subsystems – part 2
First budgets
Finalisation of the concept
Each group results presentation
Day 4 Second iteration of all subsystems
Product tree
Each group results presentation
Day 5 Final design consolidation & any open issues
Each group final presentation
Students from the University of Lulea sharing their ideas with the other groups
Students from the University of Lulea sharing their ideas with the other groups

Who can apply?

Students enrolled in university who fulfil the following criteria:

  • be aged between 18 and 32;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Canada or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a full-time Master or PhD student in a university for the academic year 2019-2020;
  • be studying an engineering subject or physics (with basic knowledge in space technology). 

The selected students will be sponsored by ESA. This will cover accommodation and meals as well as up to 200 Euros for travelling to Belgium.

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 an academic supervisor of current university; 
  • Upload an official copy of academic records (PDF, in English, with the university stamp). 

For more information, please contact tlp @

Students participating from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in 2018
Students participating from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in 2018