the CENSUS spirit, a link between pros and pros-to-be

The CENSUS space campus fosters projects of conception and realisation of nanosatellites. Through the development of these projects, CENSUS is preparing the spatial instrumentation of tomorrow and renewing the working methods implemented for the management of complex projects.

How to work collectively for such a project? How to train in engineering complex systems? CENSUS responds to this problem by bringing together students and professionals through the development of nanosatellites.

Through various training programs and the networks that support them, CENSUS makes it possible to combine needs between students and project managers supported by the labex ESEP. Through previous experiences many lessons are learnt.

For students:

  • They play an important role in a real project in contact with experts from the space sector;
  • They are at the forefront of the concrete development of a space project, from conception to completion;
  • They are formed via the complexity of a space project whose different phases they can master.

For the projects:

  • New projects can be initiated, developed and realised by the participation of many students from various backgrounds;
  • They benefit from the methodological openings developed by the space campus.

Methodology: development of a collective competence

The size and complexity of a space project requires collaborative work. Such projects concretise the importance of individual knowledge for the benefit of all through various trades and skills.

Powerful methodology for students

CENSUS provides a concurrent mission analysis room and test rooms. In terms of training, concurrent engineering makes it possible to learn, through practice, to conduct professional activity in the most collaborative way possible. Each participant is an expert in his or her field and must develop the work in a cooperative context.

In parallel, the need to achieve a concrete goal requires the use of dedicated tools. It is about producing a tangible result with a tool and not spending much time learning to use this tool. This is more than optimizing learning and it is more rewarding.

CENSUS: a professional environment

Professional behaviours are put into practice. Many university courses favour projects of all kinds, conducted in a collaborative way. Nevertheless, the stakes of these activities often remain limited to extensive practicals or projects without concrete realisation. In a nanosatellite project, students are immediately trained as junior engineers in a real professional situation.

CubeSat projects make students to think complexly

Learning through space projects naturally combines different elements that feed into complex thinking, from the most theoretical reference to the most concrete application. It avoids artificial partitioning of the learning process.

With the goal of a Cubesat, thinking happens at all levels: documentation produced serves other groups, the specifications or sizing are effectively tested, the project dynamics is real, the contacts made with the partners (agencies, industrialists ...) actually carry the project, the deadlines to be respected are real, because they are imposed by external contingencies, the missing skills will absolutely have to be found within the framework of an effective partnership.

Work and competences

What activity for what competence?

You want to implement your area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise, test your professional skills, practice space techniques? Welcome to the real life of a real space project!

CENSUS offers a framework to put into practice many skills and expertise. CENSUS projects are aimed at students of various levels and origins. The work is defined and supervised by the nanosatellite project team as needed.

Expertises throuhout a project

The presentation of the phases of a space project, including for the CubeSats, gives a good insight into the various expertises that students have to work with and practice as young engineers.


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Work and competences

During these phases, specific activities are needed, and allow students to develop or deepen their skills in a wide variety of areas:


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The Space Campus is intended for any student wishing to put into practice one of the many areas of expertise required for this type of project.

A project, an internship, or a gap semester at CENSUS, it is the opportunity to rub shoulders with the actors of the big space projects of the discipline. CENSUS projects regularly offer internships or project modules integrated into students’ courses, generally from L3 to M2 level engineering.

When there are specific offers for internships, these are mentioned on the projects’ web pages. In the meantime, do not hesitate to send your unsolicited applications to

Types of learning

The involvement of students in CENSUS space campus projects is done in two forms, that have been successfully tested:

During the programme of a course:

  • In project module: student pairs explore a particular and limited aspect of the project, such as mission analysis, sizing, or the state of the art of a specific technology and performance. They have 40 to 80 hours allocated in their schedule of (in addition to the personal work) to interact with the supervisors and experts. This usually involves preparing more relevant project phases;
  • As a team project: a team of several students from the same course is entrusted with a complete task, such as a subsystem, a study or tests. A considerable time is allocated for the planning, typically of the order of 300 hours per student, spread over 1 or 2 years. This form of involvement is very effective and is intended for the students to develop their skills.

Traditional internships: these are the traditional internships, with supervision by and at the premises of the project team.

  • Short-term internships can be organized according to the needs of the projects;
  • Internships are preferably long-term or a gap year.

Financed forms of learning:

  • PhD students
  • Temporary work contracts

Intership offers

Check that and see if you can find any internship offer for you.

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