SOCIS Program Terms of Service

Summary of the ESA Summer of Code in Space Program

ESA Summer of Code in Space (the "Program", or "SOCIS") is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects. ESA will be working with several open source, free software and technology-related groups to identify and fund several projects over a three month-period.

ESA will provide a stipend of 4000€ per developer upon successful completion of a project. Students will be paid 1000€ upon start of coding work provided they are in good standing with their Mentor Organization, and 3000€ at the close of the Program provided their project has been completed as determined by the Student’s Mentor or Mentoring Organization. Additional details regarding the mechanics of the Program appear later in these Terms of Service and in our Program FAQs.

Program Goals

The Program has several goals:

  • raise the awareness of open source projects related to space within the open source programming community, especially among students;
  • raise awareness of ESA within the open-source community;
  • improve existing space-related open-source software;
  • inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development;
  • help space-related open source projects identify and bring in new contributors and committers;
  • provide students in Computer Science and related fields the opportunity to do work related to the space sector;
  • give students more exposure to real-world software development scenarios (e.g., distributed development, software licensing questions, mailing list etiquette).

Eligibility to Participate

Mentor Organizations

"Mentor Organizations" are defined as individuals, groups, organizations and/or businesses engaged in the development and distribution of free and/or open source software related to space. By submitting an application to participate in the Program, the Mentor Organization agrees to the following if chosen to participate:

  1. To provide a publicly published list of project ideas that participating students will choose a project from to work on for the duration of the Program.
  2. To make available a person or persons to take in student suggestions for projects should those students not find something that appeals to them on the published list and either approve or reject those suggestions.
  3. To make available a person or persons to review the incoming student applications targeted to the Organization and to decide which applications should be accepted.
  4. To make available a person or persons responsible for helping students integrate with the project's community.
  5. To make available a person or persons to monitor the progress of the students and mentor them as the project proceeds (hereafter "Mentor(s)").
  6. To make available alternate mentor or mentors ready to take over for the aforementioned Mentor(s) in the event s/he is unable to continue providing guidance to the accepted student applicant.
  7. To provide a written evaluation of each student developer, including but not limited to how s/he worked with the group, whether s/he should be invited back should we do another SOCIS, etc. The Mentor Organization agrees that ESA may use the results of this evaluation for recruiting purposes. The results of this evaluation will not be made available to the general public or the student participant, except in those cases where the Mentor Organization provides consent for ESA to share the evaluation results with the student. However, ESA reserves the right to share the Mentor Organization's evaluation with the student participant or others, with or without consent, in extreme cases such as where the Mentor Organization's feedback may be vital to arbitration with the student regarding payment or non-payment of stipend.
  8. That ESA may publicize the Mentor Organization's participation in the Program, the names of participating Mentors from the Organization and the results of the Program for the purposes of executing on program logistics, including but not limited to announcements made regarding calls for student applications.
  9. To all stipulations recorded in the "Additional" section, below.

Student Participants

In order to participate in SOCIS, the student applicant must be enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including, but not limited to, a college, university, masters program, PhD program or undergraduate program. As an additional requirement, the institution must be based in a state that is contributing to the ESA basic Technology Research Programme, that is including at least all ESA member states and some other states that have an agreement with ESA. In case of doubt, please contact the ESA delegation of your country or visit the ESA website.

Upon request, students must provide ESA with an official transcript, letter confirming acceptance or enrollment, or other documentation approved by ESA from their accredited institution in a timely manner. The document shall show that the student is enrolled in an academic institution during the program. Students must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to participate in SOCIS. Students must be eligible to work in their country of residence throughout the duration of the Program. By submitting an application to participate in the Program, the applicant agrees to the following:

  1. To provide a substantive proposal of work to be done to create/maintain/augment an existing or new open source or free software project.
  2. To complete and submit a written evaluation of her/his Mentor, including but not limited to how the Mentor worked with the student, the quantity and quality of guidance provided, whether the Mentor should be invited back should we do another SOCIS, etc. The results of this evaluation will be made available to the Mentor Organization's administrator(s), but not to the general public nor to the Mentor except in the case where the Mentor Organization is solely constituted of the Mentor her/himself or in extreme cases such as where the student's feedback may be vital to arbitration with the Mentor or Mentor Organization regarding payment or non-payment.
  3. To allow ESA to use the results of the Program, including the Mentor's evaluation of the participant, for recruiting purposes.
  4. That ESA may publicize the student's participation in the Program and the results of the Program for the purposes of executing on program logistics, including but not limited to announcements of accepted student proposals, the text of the accepted student proposal and the resulting code from work on any project. Additional details solicited by ESA as part of the application process, including URLs for personal blogs, may be shared with the public with the student's permission.
  5. To provide ESA with a copy of the finished project code which may be publicly hosted by ESA.
  6. To provide all necessary tax forms or other tax related documentation required to provide payment to the student.
  7. All stipulations recorded in the "Additional" section, below.


All code created by student participants must be released under an Open Source Initiative approved license. Additionally, all code must be published in a publicly accessible location. The participant may mirror development on her/his personal infrastructure at her/his option.

In addition, all Program participants agree to cooperate with ESA's publicity efforts, without further compensation. This includes the agreement to use their name, address (city and state or country only), likeness and project deliverables for publicity purposes, where legal, for this or similar future programs, and to use the statements made by, or attributed to, the participants relating to ESA and any and all rights to said use, without further compensation.

ESA reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to revoke any and all privileges associated with participating in this Program, and to take any other action it deems appropriate, for no reason or any reason whatsoever. ESA reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the Program if it is not capable of completion as planned for any reason.

We reserve the right to refuse participation to anyone. Our intention is to have a healthy environment for learning for our students and any behaviour we consider damaging to that environment will be dealth with through the exercise of that right.

Student participants, Mentors, and Mentor Organizations are free to use the results, including code, of the Program in any way they choose provided it is not in conflict with these Terms of Service or the license under which the code was developed.

Any dispute concerning the Program which cannot be settled amicably may be submitted to arbitration according to the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. The arbitral tribunal shall sit in Paris.