Current programme Phases
The Fly Your Satellite! programme is open to university teams with CubeSat projects at the production and testing stage; their satellite can be a one-, two- or three-unit CubeSat. Teams accepted in the programme will be supported by ESA in assembling, integrating, and testing the satellite, and may eventually have the possibility to benefit from a launch from the ISS offered by ESA and operate their CubeSat in orbit. Intermediate objectives and reviews will have to be successfully achieved by the student teams before being admitted to the subsequent programme phases.
Application for FYS and selection
For the current call, only CubeSat teams that have a detailed design of their system finalised and a CubeSat that is ready to be built/ being built/ or fully integrated will be considered, and the selected teams will start directly with the Build Your Satellite! Phase.
Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of ESA experts. A selection of shortlisted teams will be invited to ESA’s Selection Workshop where they will present their project. The final selection will then be made based on their proposals and presentations.
Build Your Satellite!
Throughout this phase of the FYS programme, the teams complete the manufacturing, assembly, and integration of their CubeSat before testing the fully integrated CubeSat in ambient conditions. The result of this phase is a fully built and functioning satellite. Once this has been achieved, and a review with ESA has been passed, the team will then be able to move onto the next phase: Test Your Satellite!.
Test Your Satellite!
During this phase, the teams will execute environmental testing on their CubeSats, including vibration and thermal vacuum/ thermal cycling tests, for which ESA’s Education Office offers the use of dedicated test facilities at ESA. By the end of this phase, the team should successfully complete the verification, demonstrating that the CubeSat (flight and ground segment) fully meets all applicable requirements and can be awarded their “ticket to orbit!” which grants access to the Launch Your Satellite! phase.
Launch Your Satellite!
Teams admitted to this phase are offered a launch opportunity by ESA. Teams will then perform all the activities at space and ground segment level necessary to prepare for the launch of the CubeSat. The CubeSats will be installed inside CubeSat orbital deployers, and after a campaign of integrated tests (to be performed in accordance with the requirements from the launch organisation), the flight hardware will be shipped to the launch site in time for the launch campaign.
Before launch, teams will pass a launch readiness review conducted by the Launch Authority.
Operate Your Satellite!
This phase starts with the deployment of the CubeSat into orbit. Once in orbit, the teams operate their satellite from their university ground stations and gather the data obtained from their mission. This phase, and with it the participation in the programme, will conclude with a ‘Lessons learned’ workshop at ESA.
Student teams will share their experiences and results from their mission through participation in conferences, for which they can be supported by ESA’s Education Office.
In the near future (not for the current edition), the Design Your Satellite! phasewill be introduced to precede the Build Your Satellite! phase. This phase will encompass the preliminary and detailed design of CubeSat missions, to offer the chance to universities with new ideas, or with satellite projects at a conceptual or preliminary phase, to participate in the programme as well and benefit from ESA support.