Students wanted for ESA Academy’s Online Standardization Training Course

When working on a cutting-edge space mission there is enough to invent and develop without ‘reinventing the wheel’. This is why ESA is part of the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS).  

ESA’s Education Office, in collaboration with ESA’s Requirements and Standards Section, are now accepting applications from university students for the fourth edition of ESA Academy’s Standardization Training Course. This essential part of European space agencies’ and industries’ work is something students do not usually learn at university but is something they will definitely need in their future space-related careers.

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, this year the course will be offered online, through 8 morning sessions, between the 28th of September and the 7th of October 2020. During these 8 half days, students will be given an introduction to the ECSS and will learn from several ESA experts the importance of using standards and the impact they have on the way space activities are implemented. They will also be provided with an overview of how and why standards are used in different disciplines at ESA. 

The ECSS established a coherent, single set of user-friendly standards for all European space activities. This goal is achieved by applying common standards for project management, for the development and testing of hardware and software, and for product and quality assurance. All standards and standards updates are agreed between all the stakeholders, agencies and industry alike. Various subsets of the standards are used in the business contracts between ESA and the spacecraft manufacturers.

The use of standards is aiming to minimise technical risk and cost for space systems and space products development, while ensuring the compatibility of all elements of a space project. It is therefore essential to everything that ESA does.

The course is aimed at students in engineering at Master and PhD level and who are interested in working in the space sector. 

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

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1  Introduction to the ECSS System
Day 2  Product Assurance & Quality Assessment
 Mechanisms – part 1
Day 3  Mechanisms – part 2
 Systems Engineering 
Day 4  Control Engineering
 Electrical Engineering – part 1
Day 5 Electrical Engineering – part 2
 Communications protocols
Day 6 Thermal Engineering 
 Software Engineering – part 1 
Day 7 Software Engineering – part 2
 Software Product Assurance
 Ground System and Operations
Day 8 Structures


Who can apply?

In order to participate, university students must fulfil the following criteria at the time of application:

  • 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 one of the ESA Member States, Canada or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a MSc (BSc completed) or PhD student in a university for the year 2020-2021;
  • be studying for an engineering degree.

Exceptions could be made for students enrolled in a scientific degree with a minimum engineering knowledge and a clear interest in the management and implementation aspects of space projects. 

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

How to apply:

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (Europass format, PDF, maximum 2 pages);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor of your 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 [email protected]);
  • 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 10th of August 2020.


Craig Orrock

Craig is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Heriot-Watt.

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