Concurrent Engineering Challange


ESA’s Education Office is looking for 22 talented and motivated university students from an ESA Member or Associate State with an engineering or physics background to take part in the Concurrent Engineering Challenge at the ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Centre in ESA Redu Centre, Belgium. 

ESA Academy s Training and Learning Centre medium

Following the success of the first three Concurrent Engineering Workshops organised by ESA’s Systems and Concurrent Engineering Section, the ESA Academy is organising its first Concurrent Engineering Challenge from 12 to 15 September 2017.

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

Selected students will be divided into small teams of two or three to cover the following disciplines: structures, configuration, power, mechanisms, thermal, attitude and orbit control system for a satellite (AOCS), propulsion, optics / sensors, trajectory analysis, and communications / data handling. Students within each small team will create a subsystem concept in order to later achieve the mission parameters using the Concurrent Engineering approach.

A few weeks before the event, the students will receive from ESA an Open Concurrent Design Tool (OCDT) tutorial to get familiar with the tool. Afterwards, a Webex meeting with ESA’s CDF experts will be organised so that students can be guided on the use of OCDT.

Access to this CDF facility complements what students are learning at university by familiarising them with the concurrent engineering approach and its benefits, but also to 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 satellites. To do that, we need to train a new generation of space engineers and scientists.

The deadline for applications is 24 July 2017, 23:59 CET.

The group of 22 students selected by ESA to participate to the Concurrent Engineering Challenge 2017 will use the CDF of the ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Centre, and will be joined by student groups that will participate from CDF’s located at three European universities: Polytechnic of Turin (Italy), University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom), and Technical University of Madrid (Spain).  

Each one of the four groups taking part in this Concurrent Engineering Challenge will feature 15 to 25 students and will be supervised by two system engineers. Groups will be given a specific mission to design in four days. 

The four groups 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 input from the other participants. At the end of the week, each group will present their final design.

Who can apply?

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

  • be aged between 18 and 32;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member or Associate State*;
  • be enrolled as a full-time MSc or PhD student in a university (not graduating before the challenge);
  • be studying an engineering subject or physics.

ESA will cover the cost of accommodation and meals as well as up to 200 euros for travelling to Redu, Belgium, for each selected student.

In parallel the three European Universities involved in the Concurrent Engineering Challenge will organise their own student selection process. 

How to apply

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Select preferred subsystems;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (PDF, maximum 2 pages, no images);
  • 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.