‘Orbit Your Thesis!’ is a hands-on ESA educational programme aimed at university students. The project is providing university students across Europe with expert technical support and the unique opportunity to gain practical experience in key phases of a challenging, real space project destined for the ISS from integration, test and verification, launch and operations.
‘Orbit Your Thesis!’ is part of the ESA Academy programme, run by the ESA Education Office. In early 2020, a team of students from the University of Hasselt in Belgium were selected to participate in the programme. Their resultant project, named OSCAR-QUBE, was launched to the ISS on SpaceX CRS-23 and operated in the ICE Cubes Facility.
The OSCAR-QUBE experiment makes use of a specific type of quantum sensor: a diamond-based magnetometer. This sensor is highly sensitive and capable of high resolution readouts, along with short response times and a large bandwidth. Therefore, it meets the high standards required for space magnetometry readouts, and is thought to enable the generation of a detailed map of the Earth’s magnetic field with unrivalled precision.
Photo credits: OSCAR-Qube (Hasselt Univ.) / ICE Cubes