Summer of Code in Space

Frequently Asked Questions

On this page some of the most frequenct questions are being answered.


  • What is SOCIS?
    It is the Summer of Code in Space of the European Space Agency. Check the About page.
  • Is SOCIS related to Google’s Summer of Code?
    No, SOCIS is an independent pilot program run by the European Space Agency. Although it has been inspired by Google’s Summer of Code initiative, it is not related or affiliated to it.
  • Which nationalities are eligible for applying?
    For organizations there is no constraint on nationality. For students, unlike in the past versions of SOCIS, there is also (so far) no constraint on the nationality.
  • Who owns the code produced by student developers?
    Each student (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all student SOCIS code under an OSI-approved free software/open source license palatable to the mentoring organization. Some organizations will require students to assign copyright to them, but many will allow them to retain copyright.


  • Can I apply for more than one project?
    Yes, but only one application will be accepted.
  • Can I work on multiple projects?
    No, each student can not work on more than one project.
  • Can a group work apply for and work on a single project?
    No, only an individual may work on a given project.
  • Can multiple students apply for the same project?
    Yes of course, but only one student will be selected for each project.
  • How much are students paid?
    The stipend for the coding period is 4000€, of which 1000€ are paid at start of coding period and the remainder is paid upon successfull completion of the coding.
  • Are there any age restrictions on participating?
    Yes. You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to participate in SOCIS.
  • Who’s eligible to participate as a student in SOCIS?
    For the purpose of this program, ESA defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs. You should be prepared, upon request, to provide ESA with transcripts or other documentation from your accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status.
  • I will be graduating this summer, can I still take part?
    You must be enrolled as student during the course of the SOCIS program. Otherwise, you can not take part.
  • How much time is required to participate as a student in SOCIS?
    The amount of time you will need depends on both the scope of your project and the requirements of your mentoring organization. While your organization may offer some flexibility around milestone completion dates, you should expect your project to be your primary focus this summer. If you have a great internship starting soon or you’re planning a month long backpacking trip, you likely won’t be a good candidate for the program.
  • Do I need to prepare a proposal?
    You don’t need to send a project proposal to SOCIS, but most likely your potential mentor would like to see one. Make sure you are in good communication with the project mentors to which you are applying to, in order to make yourself a convincing applicant.


  • What is a mentoring organization?
    A group running an active free/open source software project. The project does not need to be a legally incorporated entity. Mentoring organizations must produce and release software under an Open Source Initiative approved license in order to participate in the program.
  • How does a mentoring organization apply?
    The organization choose a single administrator to submit its application via the SOCIS website.
  • What is the project ideas list?
    When applying, organizations must supply a list of up to 5 project ideas. Upon successful selection of the organization for the program, these projects will be published on the SOCIS website, for students to apply to.
  • Must project ideas be space related?
    Yes, in one way or the other. That means, you must demonstrate relevance of your open source project to space if this is not laready obvious by the project itself.
  • What are the criteria for selecting a mentoring organization?
    The selection of a mentoring organization is ultimately and unquestionably decided by ESA. The selection criteria adopted by ESA include (but are not limited to) the level of activity in open source projects and quality of the proposed projects.
  • Who decides which students are to be selected for a project?
    The selection is done in close coordination between mentor organizations and ESA. For this, the organization should provide a ranking of preference of the students that applied to their project, to be considered by ESA. The final selection will be done by ESA, which also takes into account other aspects (e.g. diversity of applications).
  • How much time is required to participate as a mentor in SOCIS?
    The answer to this question will vary widely depending on the number of students a mentor works with, the difficulty of the proposals, and the skill level of the students. Five hours per student per week is a reasonable estimate.