New Opportunity for university students to learn about EO satellite system design

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Organisation: ESA’s Education Office

ESA’s Education Office is looking for 30 highly motivated students at Master’s and Ph.D. levels in engineering and science disciplines to participate in the second edition of the Earth Observation Satellite System Design Training Course.

The course will be held online during 10 afternoon sessions (Central European Time) between 22 March and 2 April 2021.

Earth Observation (EO) satellites deliver information which are a key to guiding the World population towards a sustainable society. They allow the monitoring of vegetation and agriculture to safeguard the preservation and usage of our limited resources into the future; provide rapid assessment of damages in case of disasters such as flooding and earthquake, and enable efficient assistance measures; make it possible to gain better understanding of urban development; and allow the monitoring of meteorological and environmental parameters essential for a thorough understanding of the evolution of Earth’s global-scale dynamics, i.e. its future climate.

EO satellite missions constitute the largest programme of ESA’s activities. In fact, a significant portion of ESA’s annual budget is dedicated to EO satellite missions. ESA is also the main actor for the implementation of the current Copernicus Programme in cooperation with the European Commission, the world’s largest civil EO programme, which aims to provide Europe with independent access to Earth remote sensing data.

During the course, students will become acquainted with the end-to-end design of an EO satellite system. They will start with requirements definition based on mission objectives, progressing to orbit trade-offs and design of the payload instruments (microwave and optical), followed by the satellite design, ground segment architecture and operations, verification & testing, all the way through to in-orbit testing!

More information and preliminary schedule can be found here.

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 engineering or space-related topics;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Slovenia, Latvia or Canada;
  • be enrolled as a full-time Master or PhD student in a university for the year 2020-2021 (not graduating before the training course);
  • be studying for an engineering or science degree, and have a solid mathematics and physics background.

How to apply

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Be sure to clearly state your first, second, and third choice for your role in the group project from the following tasks:
    • System lead engineer
    • Microwave payload engineer
    • Optical payload engineer
    • Satellite engineer
    • Ground segment & Operations engineer
  • 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 current university(if not possible due to the current COVID-19 situation in your country, please ask a university professor or an academic advisor to send a recommendation email to;
  • Upload a copy of academic records (PDF).

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

Students wishing to apply for the training course must submit their applications by 8 February 2021.

For more information, please contact