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3 ISAE-SUPAERO students at the PEGASUS 2024 Conference

Published on

9 Jul 2024

Anna Barraqué, Adèle Shi and Francesco Leonardi have all been selected to take part in the Pegasus 2024 Conference on April 26 and 27, 2024 in Barcelona. This annual conference, which brings together professors and students from various European aerospace institutes, gave each of them the opportunity to present the results of their end-of-study internships.

They tell you.

The PEGASUS network comprises 31 schools in 12 countries (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia). Each year, the PEGASUS network organizes a student conference with both a formative aim (to help students write a scientific article and give a technical oral presentation) and a competitive aim, since each stage (article and presentation) is graded. At the end of the competition, a podium and 10 students are selected to submit their articles to Aeronotica magazine.

During this annual conference, each academic establishment has the opportunity to present some of its brightest students, who have presented their thesis work in the form of a scientific article suitable for publication in a specialist journal. These articles not only set out the main results of the research carried out, but also highlight the significant innovations likely to shape the future of the aerospace industry.

Taking part in the Pegasus 2024 conference was a major milestone in the academic and professional careers of all three of us. This was proof of the quality of our internship and our feedback from it.

Adèle Shi

How did you get selected to take part in the PEGASUS conference?

A few months after the final defense for my 5-month end-of-studies internship at the European Space Agency, ISAE-SUPAERO gave me the opportunity to showcase the work I had done, beyond the academic framework. Along with two other classmates, I represented the School at the PEGASUS conference.

I was very excited to share my work and engage in discussions with an international audience, made up of both established experts and promising young aerospace talents. This opportunity was all the more significant for me, as it was my very first time as a speaker at an international aerospace conference.


More specifically, I saw the possibility of presenting and defending my work by writing a scientific article, followed by an oral presentation to experts in the field of Earth Observation in an international context, as a way of getting a foothold in the targeted space sub-field. In fact, my aim is to contribute to the international Earth observation space sector, a fascinating subject requiring international cooperation to solve climate and environmental challenges. For me, taking part in the Pegasus conference was a personal challenge, an opportunity to demonstrate with confidence that I could present a technical subject to an international audience with a wide range of backgrounds.

The subject I was able to present, “Pilot project on EO multi mission model”, is part of the 5-month end-of-study internship I carried out at the European Space Agency (ESA ESTEC) in the Netherlands, within the Earth Observation Directorate, with the teams in charge of defining a reference architecture for Earth observation systems, to support efforts to compare and identify potential gaps, and orient long-term strategy, notably defining the need for new missions.

Tell us about your experience over these two days

Overall, I really enjoyed the PEGASUS conference, which I consider the perfect way to end my academic career at ISAE-SUPAERO.

I can say that the objectives I set myself for my participation in the Pegasus conference were fully achieved:

  • I was able to rise to the challenge of presenting a technical subject to an audience of varied profiles,
  • I was able to take advantage of the conference setting to network with the students present.

I really appreciated the diversity of the topics covered, despite a few identified clusters. All these discussions were very enriching from an intellectual point of view, between students from different sub-fields, but all driven by a common passion for aerospace.

The organization of the conference was also very conducive to student exchanges and networking. All the students were particularly open to discussion, and I could feel the strength of the passion for aerospace, creating a real general cohesion, a feeling of belonging to a close-knit community, especially through encouragement for presentations.

This conference enabled me to forge links with many students, in particular with the two other ISAE-SUPAERO students, Anna and Francesco, with whom I hadn’t had the opportunity to chat during 4A, being in different courses. The event demonstrated the strong bond implicit in belonging to the same ISAE-SUPAERO graduating class, and the general solidarity that extends beyond the School’s borders.

What do you take away from this experience?

Overall, I’m extremely grateful to ISAE-SUPAERO for this exceptional experience. Thanks to the subject of my final year internship, I had the chance to exchange ideas with brilliant future aerospace engineers and researchers from all over Europe. This opportunity goes far beyond anything I could have imagined as a student.

As I’m currently based in Paris, the Foundation’s funding has enabled me to cover a large part of my travel costs, while favouring environmentally-friendly modes of transport, a subject which is particularly close to my heart.

Taking part in the PEGASUS student conference was a great way to round off my academic career at ISAE-SUPAERO. As a speaker, I gained significant first-hand experience at an international conference, developing my communication and presentation skills. This opportunity also enabled me to interact with other (future) professionals in the field, thus broadening my professional network. I’m convinced that this experience will help me to participate in future conferences and achieve my professional goals.

I would like to thank the Foundation’s donors for enabling students to enjoy unique experiences, adding a complementary dimension to their academic training.

Anna Barraqué

Tell us about your presentation

My final year internship at CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) was aimed at developing machine learning algorithms for anomaly detection, in order to detect potential cyber attacks on orbital systems. Taking part in the Pegasus conference gave me the opportunity to try my hand at writing a succinct scientific article based on six months’ work.

The presentation on the day of the conference went very well. I had a lot of questions from teachers wanting to know more about the results, the project in general and the biases and difficulties I had encountered. It was very stimulating to share my work and to be able to exchange ideas with interested teachers. In fact, one of them came to see me during the break to continue the discussion. One of his colleagues was working on a similar topic, and we were able to compare the different choices made and the advantages and disadvantages of certain machine learning models.

And what did you think of the conference?

On the day of the conference, we were able to meet many students and professors, each with different specialties in the aerospace field. The exchanges were rich and interesting. Discussions with students from other European countries also gave us an insight into how they were progressing as students and starting out in their careers.

I think the objectives of the conference were amply fulfilled, namely to present our final year work and thus represent ISAE-SUPAERO. In discussions with teachers and students alike, we were able to explain what we were doing at ISAE-SUPAERO and the opportunities it offered us in our quite different professional beginnings for all three of us, between a start-up, a major industrial company and the European Space Agency. This has enriched our understanding of the aerospace field and fuelled our desire to further explore the opportunities offered by international collaboration.

I really enjoyed the presentations I attended, which were of a very high standard and covered a wide range of topics, giving a broad spectrum of research that can be carried out by students completing a European aerospace diploma.

What do you take away from this experience?

One of the most important things is that the three of us, students representing ISAE-SUPAERO, got to know each other and got closer: I already knew Francesco, but I didn’t know Adèle. This conference brought us closer together, gave us advice and help, and we were present at each other’s presentations to support the person on stage. A bond was formed between the three of us thanks to this conference, largely because we come from the same school: ISAE-SUPAERO. It’s a bond of closeness that may also arise in future inter-promotional encounters in the professional world, and shows the attachment that different people may have with the institution where they spent their studies and training.

At the end of the day, we were also able to attend the presentation of the clubs of the University of Barcelona, which was hosting the conference. Their clubs resembled those at ISAE-SUPAERO, with an association designing a rocket and setting a new altitude record for student-launched rockets, and a club designing drones and taking part in American competitions, as does SUPAERO’s drone section. We also heard the story of two students from Ensma, part of the ISAE group, who described the assembly of a small aircraft that had been ordered in parts by a number of students who had graduated above them. We then realized that a lot of projects were taking place thanks to funding from the Foundations of the various universities, enabling each student to extend a certain part of their career in a direction they are passionate about and want to invest in.

The Foundation’s funding was very helpful in financing the trip to Barcelona, enabling me to attend the conference and make the most of it. This gave me an insight into the collaboration that exists between the various institutions of higher aerospace education in Europe. In fact, this conference brought to a close a week of exchanges between professors from different universities, who were working on the themes, methods and practices that each had in their own institute, with the aim of creating synergies between establishments and nurturing a European dynamic. These are sides of ISAE-SUPAERO that are fairly invisible when you’re a student, and it’s given the School another dimension.

Any last words?

This experience made us aware of the importance of collaboration between different higher education institutions in Europe, and reinforced our attachment to ISAE-SUPAERO as a major player in this European dynamic. In conclusion, taking part in the Pegasus 2024 conference was an invaluable experience, giving us the opportunity to share our research work, exchange ideas with experts in the field and contribute to the European dynamics in the aerospace sector.
Many thanks to the Foundation and to all our donors for allowing us to represent our work and ISAE-SUPAERO in a European context.

Francesco Leonardi

Tell us about your presentation:

April 26, 2024 was a memorable experience for me, as I had the privilege of taking part in the prestigious PEGASUS conference, hosted by the UPC University of Terrassa, Barcelona.
I had the privilege of presenting my work to a passionate audience and a jury of two eminent professors, who warmly welcomed both my work and my presentation.
My involvement in the Master’s thesis project was an essential part of the double degree program I undertook between Politecnico di Milano, my home institution, and ISAE-SUPAERO. During this experience, I had the opportunity to do my final year internship at Airbus Defence and Space, in the GNC/AOCS (Guidance Navigation and Control – Attitude and Orbit Control Systems) advanced studies department.
The core of my thesis work was the development of a complex embedded algorithm, designed to compute attitude profiles autonomously and optimized, quickly and efficiently. This algorithm could prove crucial in meeting a variety of operational constraints and requirements, guaranteeing precise and reliable control of spatial configurations.

What do you take away from this experience?

Having the opportunity to present the results of my research was crucial for me. Not only does this contribute to scientific progress in the aerospace field, it also marks the conclusion of an academic journey spanning three different universities (the University of Padua, the Politecnico di Milano and ISAE-SUPAERO), in two different European states and with courses taught in three different languages, bringing together individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. I’m deeply grateful to each of these universities, but particularly to ISAE-SUPAERO, which has offered me so many opportunities and continues to support me even after graduation, as it did with this conference.

The Foundation has played a crucial role in providing essential support to enable me to travel to Spain and take part in this event, which will greatly enrich my experience. This conference enabled me to see at first hand the scope of the research being carried out by today’s young people, who will be building tomorrow’s world. I was able to exchange professional and human experiences with other students from the best European universities, sharing my experience with them and listening to theirs. These exchanges are not only important for getting to know other people, but also for broadening my horizons and possibilities through the sharing of experiences and perspectives, which can only enrich my personal and professional baggage.

Any last words?

I am deeply grateful to the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation for its generous support throughout this extraordinary experience. Their confidence in my work and in the importance of attending conferences like this one has been essential to my professional and personal development. Thanks to their contribution, I was not only able to deepen my knowledge in my field of study, but also had the opportunity to connect with other students and professors, share ideas and perspectives, and actively contribute to academic debate. The conference not only enriched my knowledge, but also strengthened my commitment to further research and innovation in the sector. Without their support, none of this would have been possible, so I’d like to express my deepest gratitude for making this trip possible. I hope that this support can continue in the future for other deserving students to promote the academic excellence of our School. Thank you again for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to grow and progress in my career.
It was an important opportunity to discuss the research topic of the final year internship. What’s more, it enabled me to meet other people and discover new, interesting and exciting research topics.
Thank you so much for your support, and for the support you give to all the students, enabling us to take part in activities.

I would like to support projects like those of Adèle, Anna and Francesco