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  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Darmstadt
  • Grade: A2/A4 - Grade band - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Engineering
    • Outer space and satellite technology
  • Closing Date: 2019-08-21

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Spacecraft Operations Engineer

Darmstadt (Germany)


Vacancy in the Directorate of Operations.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Spacecraft Operations Engineer

This post is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany  


Spacecraft Operations Engineer in the Earth Observation Missions Division, Mission Operations Department, Directorate of Operations

The Earth Observation Missions Division is responsible for the design, implementation and operations of the flight operations ground segment and the satellite mission operations for all ESA Earth observation satellites and for the entrusted Copernicus/Sentinels missions, typically from start of phase B through in-flight commissioning to routine mission operations until the end of mission.


The post-holder will be initially assigned to the Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 Spacecraft Operations Unit belonging to the Copernicus/Sentinels Missions within the Earth Observation Missions Division and will report to the Spacecraft Operations Manager (SOM).

The tasks will include the following:

  • Assisting the SOM in the preparation and execution of operations assigned to the Unit, including Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), Commissioning, Routine and Disposal phases, as applicable;
  • Assisting the SOM in the development, maintenance and validation of the Flight Operations Segment (FOS) including System Validation Tests (SVT) and Ground Segment Operational Validation (GSOV);
  • Interfacing with EUMETSAT for the preparation of the operational hand-over after Commissioning (for Sentinel-3 and future Sentinel missions such as CO2M), after LEOP (for Sentinel-6) and for the provision of any agreed operational support  during the routine phase(s) of any other Copernicus/Sentinel mission assigned to the Unit
  • Analysing and reporting on spacecraft and ground segment performance and implementing trade-off analysis for the maintenance and evolution of the Flight Operations Segment (FOS);
  • Interfacing with the ESTEC project group, the PDGS and Mission Management team(s), external partners including Agencies (EUMETSAT, CNES, etc.) and industry, for technical matters and review of spacecraft design, operations documentation and performance reports;
  • Providing support in the reviews, preparation and future developments of the Copernicus/Sentinels Next Generation and Expansion missions assigned to the Unit;
  • Interfacing with other ESOC divisions for spacecraft operations matters;
  • Providing support to the SOM(s) in the reviews and preparations of other Earth Observation Missions delegated to the Earth Observation Missions Division (i.e. Earth Explorers and/or Copernicus/Sentinels);
  • Acting as Deputy SOM as required.
Technical Competencies

General background and specific experience in the technical domains covered by the position

Proven professional experience in spacecraft and operational applications

Experience with the design, development and application of related operational and Ground segment tools and methods (such as Mission Control Systems, Operational simulators, etc.)

Experience with both Platform and Payload Operations as well as with the development and maintenance of ground segments is required. Considering the tight schedule linked to the Sentinel-6 LEOP implementation, previous proven experience preparing and executing a LEOP is mandatory. In addition, experience with Commissioning operations of an Earth Observation mission will be considered an asset


Applicants for this post should have a university degree or equivalent qualification in Engineering or Physics

Additional requirements

Knowledge of the Copernicus Program and the Sentinels Missions is highly desirable.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.     

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.     

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

The closing date for applications is 21 August 2019.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada and Slovenia.

According to the ESA Convention the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States. (

In accordance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment. 

Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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