The Janus project is giving students at 11 French engineering schools and universities the chance to conceive and build their own nanosatellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch this year.

The Janus project (Jeunes en Apprentissage pour la réalisation de Nanosatellites au sein des Universités et des écoles de l’enseignement Supérieur) aims to engage students at French engineering schools and universities and get them interested in space. To this end, CNES is offering them the opportunity to develop their own ‘cubesats’—small cube-shaped satellites weighing between 1 and 10 kg—and send them with a payload of scientific instruments into space.

Janus is thus giving students a closer insight into the logic driving development of a space project and how it is implemented, from project management and development planning to launch, reception of telemetry and uplinking of telecommands, and data exploitation. It is also promoting experiment-based science teaching in various domains of space, such as mechanics, thermal systems, avionics, attitude control and power systems. In return, the projects test new satellite and/or instrument technologies in orbit of interest to the scientific community and industry.

11 French engineering schools and universities are involved in Janus, in partnership with research laboratories and industry. They are: Montpellier University, Aix Marseille University, ISAE-Supaero, Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole des Mines de Paris, Paris Est Créteil University, Paris Diderot University, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris Sud Cachan University, Grenoble University and the ELISA engineering school in association with Lille University.