SOCIS – The ESA Summer of Code in Space
What is it?
SOCIS, the ESA Summer of Code in Space, is a programme that aims at promoting open-source space-related software to students, by letting them code new functionalities during the summer time. Since the creation of SOCIS in 2011, more than 60 students have been already part of the adventure. SOCIS was originally created by the ESA Advanced Concept Team and is now managed by the ESA Technical Directorate. It is funded by the basic Technology Research Programme.
How does it work?
Each year, ESA opens a call to mentoring organisations that are developing free, open-source software for the space sector.
Mentors propose ideas for improving their software or even create completely new software based on existing building blocks.
ESA then selects between 20 and 25 projects and opens a call to students all over ESA member states. Students who are interested in a particular project can send an application to ESA and propose clear, achievable technical objectives they want to realize.
ESA selects students together with the mentors and each selected student get paid to perform the work. A first stipend of 1000€ is provided at the beginning of the coding period, and if the project is successful after 3 months of work, students get an additional 3000€ grant. The coding period is usually from June to September.
Why did we create SOCIS ?
The SOCIS programme constitutes an opportunity for both students and recruiters to connect together and trigger a joint interest for a career in the space domain. We keep the following goals in mind:
- Raise the awareness of open source projects related to space within the open source programming community, especially among students;
- Raise the awareness of ESA within the open-source community;
- Improve existing space-related open-source software;
- Find new talents for developing space applications.
What kind of software are we targeting?
Free and open-source software that is in the scope of the needs of the space community is targeted and eligible for selection. There are many areas where such software exists and is used - not only related to computer sciences, but also to thermal engineering, space environment modelling, simulation. A non-exhaustive list of past projects that participate to SOCIS include RTEMS, SunPy, AerospaceResearch.Net, Scilab, Orekit, Stellarium, KStars, Pocket Mission Control, Celestia, Dune, Gerbil…..