Nicolas Baudin travel grants for Australian students at ISAE-SUPAERO and The University Space Centre (CSUT)

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Every year, ISAE-SUPAERO welcomes international students for a master thesis or internship (between 3 & 6 months) in one of its research departments. They are mainly coming from a partner university (but it is not compulsory) from various areas in the world: Europe, South and North America, Asia, Oceania...

Nicolas Baudin travel grants
The thermal model of the MONITA platform. First thermal test of the spacecraft to calibrate temperature sensors

The aim of the Nicolas Baudin travel grant is to support Australian students who want to come to France in order to develop their professional skills and research capabilities.

The Embassy of France in Australia supports student mobility from Australia to France through the Nicolas Baudin Program. The Travel Grant consists in a return flight ticket between Australia and France. As recipients of a French government grant, the Laureates are also exempted from paying the associated visa fees.

Chamal, Dominic and Nicholas, are Australian. They were trainees at ISAE-SUPAERO in the Department of Aerospace Vehicles Design and Control (DCAS). Two of them were integrated into the Centre Spatial Universitaire de Toulouse (CSUT) team and the third one in the SaCLaB team with the other trainees and PhD students.

We asked them some questions about their experience as a foreign trainee in France at ISAE-SUPAERO.

Chamal Perera is currently 20 years old. He is beginning his fourth year of his five year bachelors of aerospace engineering and advanced mathematics (majors in pure and applied mathematics).

My motivation for coming to ISAE-SUPAERO for this internship is to further develop understanding of the system engineering approach to satellite development as well as immerse myself in a new culture”.

The theme behind this internship is providing electrical power to a cubesat. This involved analyzing different mission plans using a power subsystem simulator, developing ranges of heating times and developing a generic cubesat power subsystem simulator.

This internship developed my understanding of general engineering practices involved with the power subsystem as well as a general understanding of how each subsystem should communicate. My future profession will be related to aerospace engineering.

What would you say to an Australian student if he came to do an Internship at ISAE-SUPAERO?

If an Australian student was arriving to do an internship at ISAE-SUPAERO I would advise them to take advantage of the opportunity. This would involve meeting and working under experienced people who can teach about their field of expertise.”


Dominic Albertson, is 20 years old too and he is in this fourth year Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics, and Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, majoring in Space engineering, at the University of Sydney.

I’ve always wanted to live overseas. ISAE-SUPAERO and Toulouse in general, has a great reputation in space engineering.

My internship was to develop software and firmware for a Structural and Thermal Model of a cubesat bus with CSUT, (Centre Spatial Universitaire de Toulouse).

Aside from the great experience of living and working in a new country and culture, being part of a long term project and working within an engineering group has been fantastic.

From a technical perspective, I’ve learnt a lot about software development, interfacing and systems engineering. Moreover, I learnt a lot of non-technical skills, just by being within CSUT and ISAE-SUPAERO and working with my supervisor, Matthieu Compin. I hope to work in the space industry in Europe or Australia

“Dominic designed and implemented the firmware that reads the temperature measurements and pilots the heaters, as well as a control interface allowing for an operator to run test scenarios on the model and log and analyze the results”. Matthieu Compin supervisor, Chief Technology Officer of the CSUT

“Dominic and Chemal were chosen among a lot of student who sent very good level application files and they have contributed to our Cubesat projects and space tools. We have appreciated their work and their results that will be very useful in the future” Professor Bénédicte Escudier, head of the CSUT.

Nicholas Barbara, is a 21-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Sydney, Australia. He’s studying a combined B Engineering (Honours)/B Science (Advanced) degree, and is specialising in Aerospace Engineering, Physics, and Applied Mathematics. He will soon begin his fourth of five years in this course. This combined degree at the University of Sydney has allowed him to pursue his passions in both spacemission engineering and astrophysics, offering plenty of opportunity for exciting research.

My project was to perform a feasibility study into the design of a spacecraft which could repurpose components in high-demand from satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO). This involved extensive research into the compatibility and failure rates of GEO satellite components, and defining a suitable mission operations architecture for the spacecraft (named “The Recycler”). I followed this with the development of a MATLAB mission analysis tool based on low-thrust orbit transfer mechanics to estimate the performance of theRecycler under various mission scenarios.

In undertaking this project, I was given the chance to design and manage my own work, using my meetings with my fantastic supervisor, Dr. Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez, to discuss points of contention in the mission design, and always push the project forward. This independence, and the necessary professionalism required to organise and manage all meetings with representatives from my industry partner, Airbus Defence and Space, has helped me to develop my professional skills as an engineer. I hope to build on the professional and technical skills that I have developed during my time at ISAE-SUPAERO in all of my future work and study”.

What would you say to an Australian student if he came to do an Internship at ISAE-SUPAERO?

My advice to all future Australian students coming to ISAE-SUPAERO would be this: make the most of the amazing opportunities this university has to offer. Take on the most interesting projects you can, and if you work hard, you will be noticed, and you will find yourself making valuable lifelong connections with professionals in the aerospace industry, and future colleagues. While in Toulouse, don’t be afraid to talk to everyone and try and improve your French. So many people in this city are very accommodating to an Australian who tries their best!

Nicolas Baudin travel grants

“For the selection, we received a large number of files that were sent to us by the Embassy of France. We ranked them according to expected competencies and selected those that best matched the proposed topics.

Nicholas has been integrated into the SaCLaB team with the other trainees and PhD students” Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez supervisor and head of the Chair for Advanced Space Concepts (SaCLab).

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