Launch your space Career
Check out the ideas and programs about "how to become active in the space domain":
Studying space in Switzerland
Many universities and universities of applied sciences in Switzerland have dedicated space activities, whether it is in Earth observation, technology development or astronomy. Look out for dedicated lectures or ask around for projects. Here is a non-exhaustive list of activities in Switzerland.
EPFL offers a minor in Space Technologies, which consists of one semester on space-related lectures and projects.
Studying space in Europe
Several universities in Europe offer a master program in aerospace mainly in Italy, France and Germany. International master programs are also available:
• The International Space University (ISU, http://www.isunet.edu/) offers three main programs: the Summer Session Program (SSP), the Master in Space Studies (MSS) and the Master in Space Management (MSM)
• Joint European Master in Space Science and Technology: SPACEMASTER Program (http://spacemaster.eu/). Two-year Master program spread out on several European universities.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of other academic programs in Europe.
The ESA Academy offers a unique set of opportunities to enrich your space science and engineering education through:
• Hands-on Space Projects: a program that enables students to participate in real space-related projects to gain first-hand experience.
• The Training and Learning Programme offers various courses given by space experts and professionals, as well as space industry and academia.
Check ESA's Education website for the different space competitions taking place regularly. There are programs to design your own experiments on a sounding rocket, fly your thesis on a zero-g flight or even fly your own micro-satellite.
Several recurring summer camps or summer schools exist worldwide open to international students, including the Swiss Space Summer Camp organised by the Swiss Space Center in cooperation with a Swiss university. Here are some examples where you might even get in touch with some real astronauts, taikonauts or cosmonauts:
- ESA Earth Observation Summer School (ESA/ESRIN Italy)
- European Space Camp (Norway)
- Alpbach Summer School (Austria)
- Moscow Summer Camp BMSTU (Russia)
- Beihang Summer Camp Beijing (China)
- Swiss Space Summer Camp (Switzerland)
The Swiss Space Center can help you with the applications for the three joint international Space Summer Camps in Russia, China and of course in Switzerland. Check the details for your application here.
Internship & Bachelor/Master thesis
You can enter the space domain by starting with an internship or thesis at your university or in a company. Ask directly a supervisor or company if they are willing to support you in your passion. Also do not forget to check for open internships on companie's websites or here on the website of the Swiss Space Center.
In addition, ESA offers students a wide range of student internship options. Applicants should preferably be in their last or penultimate year of a Master’s degree. ESA opens an on-line form in October every year. More information can be found here: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/Student_internships
ESA Young Graduate Trainee (YGT)
Are you about to take your finals? Or do you already have your Masters degree in the bag? If so, then you can apply at ESA as a ‘Young Graduate Trainee’ (YGT). More than 80 open positions are usually published on ESA Careers website in November and available for any type of profession. Description and open positions can be found here.
The majority of ESA’s jobs lie within the engineering and scientific disciplines. However, as a large international organisation, ESA needs all types of smart brains supporting its technical core. Jobs with ESA therefore cover all five of the following professional areas:
• Management support
• Administrative and technical services
Vacancies notices are regularly published on the ESA Careers webpage.
Jobs in the industry
Many Swiss companies are active in the space sector, a non-exhaustive list can be found on the Swiss Space Center website under the SSC members.
You can find a list of Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) that were doing business with ESA (filter for companies in Switzerland):
Would you like to do a PhD on a space-related subject? ESA offers this possibility through the Network/Partnering Initiative (NPI) for engineering PhDs initiated by research entities together with ESA. The Swiss space center can help you with the administration for a NPI at a Swiss academic entity.
ESA’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship programme (RFP)
aims at offering young scientists and engineers the possibility to carry out research during two years in a variety of disciplines related to space science, space applications or space technology at one of ESA’s sites. You can find more information here and the positions are usually published through ESA's job vacancies.
The Swiss ESA astronaut, Prof. Claude Nicollier, is giving a lecture on “Space Mission Design and Operations” at EPFL within the minor in Space Technologies but he has also recorded a “Massive Open Online Courses”. This MOOC is open once a year in February for 8 weeks. Find more information here.
The Swiss Space Center opens every other year a “Call for Ideas”, an opportunity to carry out a small study to prove a concept for an innovative space idea. Next call will be open in March 2017 here.
ESA has a network of Business Incubation Centers (BIC) all over Europe (ESA BIC), also in Switzerland. It is a support package to help start-ups develop their business related to space. More information about the ESA BIC Switzerland can also be found under http://esabic.ch/
Currently not open, but it is never too early to start preparting. Here
is Claude Nicollier’s advice
(might be even usefull for any position in the space domain or life):
- Carry out activities that require careful preparation, concentration,
and management of risks, such as aviation with aerobatics
and instrument flying qualification, deep sea diving, mountain
- Stay healthy and fit: run, play tennis, use your bike, but always
stay safety conscious!
- Learn English, Russian and Chinese. Travel to countries where
these languages are spoken and practice with locals
- Learn as much as possible in a great variety of fields: technology,
science, biology, physiology. Be good in your field, but never
forget to acquire knowledge in other disciplines.
- Keep a positive and pleasant attitude in every situation. Stay
calm and cool even when things go bad!
- Practice communication skills: give lectures, interviews, learn the
art of skillful use of social networks, without overdoing it!