CentraleSupélec inaugurates its Space Centre for Cubesats and signs a partnership agreement with Thales Alenia Space, a major player in the space industry, to promote exchanges on subjects of common interest, whether they concern training, research or space activities in general.
CentraleSupélec Space Center for Cubesats (CS3): pedagogy through experimentation
The creation of the Space Centre is a unifying project for the school. The objective is to raise the awareness of engineering students to the field of space and to reinforce pedagogy through experimental projects on complex systems.
The activities of the Space Centre are transversal over the 3 years of study and benefit from a strong pedagogical support (5 laboratories and 7 departments of the school are involved). They are supported by the strong skills in aerospace, aerothermics, mechanics, telecommunications, electronics, computer science available at CentraleSupélec and the University of Paris Saclay.
Twenty students have already joined the Centre, about forty are expected to join next school year. "Many CentraleSupélec engineering students are passionate about space. We created CS3 to offer them motivating projects in this high-tech field with high added value, on complex and interdisciplinary engineering themes. » confirmsChristophe Laux, teacher-researcher, Director of the CentraleSupélec Space Center for the Cubesats CS3 and Gilles Bailet, Research Engineer, technical project manager.
CentraleSupélec's experience with Cubesats
A CubeSat is a small satellite composed of stackable units, each measuring 10×10×10 cm3 or "1U", and generally using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components for its flight electronics, in particular. The first Cubesats were developed by California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) and Stanford University as early as 1999.
CentraleSupélec joined the experiment in 2013, in collaboration with the von Karman Institute (Belgium). Within this framework, the EM2C Laboratory (CNRS) has developed an instrument for measuring radiative flux and ablation phenomena for terrestrial atmospheric re-entry at 7.8 km/s. This instrument has been integrated into the Qarman Cubesat, scheduled for launch at the end of 2018.
Two projects are currently under way at CS3: "Toutatis" for the study of the re-entry of space debris into the atmosphere (21,000 pieces of debris larger than 10 cm are currently in orbit), and "Sirona" for experiments in lunar orbit, including the measurement of the influence of cosmic rays on organisms, and the observation of lunar craters.
Gilles Bailet, Research Engineer, technical project manager, presenting the "Toutatis" project
Fruitful cooperation for the development of academic and research excellence
As a reference centre in the field of engineering and systems sciences, and a leading school in higher education and research, CentraleSupélec has set up a partnership agreement with Thales Alenia Space in the field of Cubesats. This partnership will enable the school to support the launch of its programmes through funding, technical support and joint reflection, and will give students an ideal framework to improve their knowledge of the space field and more particularly of Thales Alenia Space.
For its part, Thales Alenia Space will benefit from the proximity of CentraleSupélec students to raise their awareness of the space field and, more specifically, to present them with opportunities within the company.