CNES projects library

June 14, 2021


Through the Nanolab Academy project, students from ten French engineering schools and universities are conceiving and building their own nanosatellites.

The Nanolab Academy project (formerly JANUS) is a student nanosatellite project geared towards getting students from French schools and universities engaged in space. To this end, CNES gives them the chance to develop their own cubesats—small satellites weighing between 1 and 15 kilograms—with an instrument payload and send them into orbit. Cubesats are a class of satellites whose size is measured in Units or “U” of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. The satellites built by the Nanolab Academy project range in size from 1U to 6U.

Nanolab Academy thus allows students to get to grips with the development logic and execution of space projects, including project management, development planning, launch, reception of telemetry and transmission of telecommands, data exploitation and more besides. It also promotes teaching of science that relies strongly on hands-on experimentation across the spectrum of space disciplines such as mechanics, thermal control, avionics, attitude control and power systems. In return, the projects test new satellite and/or instrument technologies in orbit likely to be of value to the scientific and industrial community. Student projects also encompass the vital ground component for communicating with and operating the satellites.

More than ten French engineering schools and universities are involved in Nanolab Academy. These schools typically partner locally within University Space Centres (USCs) that serve as CNES’s point of contact.