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Young Graduate Trainee for Innovative Software Systems for Robotics, CubeSats and Exploration Space

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Civil Society and Local governance
    • Physics and Mathematics
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

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Young Graduate Traineeship Opportunity 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.

Young Graduate Trainee for Innovative Software Systems for Robotics, CubeSats and Exploration Space

This post is classified F1.


ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany 

Our team and mission

The Mission Operations Data Systems Division is responsible for specifying, developing, operating and maintaining multi-mission, generic and mission-dedicated software systems and providing support for their use during the preparation and operational phases of space missions.

Our data systems comprise Mission Control Systems (to monitor/operate the satellite), Mission Planning Systems, Operational Simulators (testing systems, training staff) and Service Provision Data Centres.

We are currently preparing and enhancing our systems with new capabilities to support a number of new and advanced mission scenarios, including upcoming human and robotic exploration missions, CubeSats and smallsats, ground segment for HAPS (high-altitude platforms), re-entry shuttles, active debris removal and in-orbit servicing.

The Division is also very active in software innovation by means of research & development of software technologies applied to space missions including artificial intelligence (machine learning, deep learning, AI-based planning, natural language processing, complex event processing), big data, cyber security (e.g. blockbchain), augmented and virtual reality.

Standardisation of interfaces with other space agencies (NASA, CSA, JAXA) is another focus of our group. For all these activities, we use state-of-the-art software technologies such as cloud computing, containerisation, service-oriented architecture, web and mobile technology, advanced man/machine interface (AR/VR) and agile development methodologies. More details at this link:

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

Depending on your interests and skills, the focus of the training will be on advanced software technologies in one of these fields:

  • artificial intelligence
  • cyber security
  • model-based system engineering
  • augmented and virtual reality
  • robotics simulation/monitoring and control
  • embedded software systems in the context of CubeSats

The field of applications can be in any of the following domains:

  • Human and Robotic Interaction Systems: in preparation for future exploration missions
  • Integrated CubeSat Systems: using hardware and software facilities in our lab for a reference CubeSat to provide an iOS/Android-like apps platform for space experiments
  • Mission Control System: complex software system used to monitor/control spacecraft, i.e. receive and process spacecraft telemetry and generate/send telecommands
  • Mission Planning System: complex software system used by the flight control team to plan in advance operations on the spacecraft and ground segment; may include optimisation of the use of resources either on-board (memory, downlink bandwidth, power) or on the ground (ground station passes, network lines to control centre)
  • Operational Simulator: complex software system used to simulate the behaviour of the spacecraft and ground equipment used for testing ground segment and training the flight control team.
  • Service Provision Data Centre: complex software system that orchestrates the collection, processing, management and distribution of data to the user community via software services
  • Software Innovation: our Advanced Ground Software Application Lab (AGSA Lab) is a centre of excellence that provides the environment for innovations in areas such as software for monitor and control robotics experiments, CubeSats (in particular OPS-SAT), augmented/virtual reality, deployments in cloud base architectures, support to research studies and/or international standardisation activities
  • Software Processes: optimisation of legacy software or traditional spacecraft operation processes by spinning-in modern software practices

The exact details of the work will depend on the missions or projects available and your specific interests/skills. It may include any task in the software development life cycle, from requirements definition to operations support.  This provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the specification, design, implementation, testing, transition to operations, and management of complex software systems and their underlying software infrastructure. The training may also provide the opportunity of exposure to actual spacecraft operations. The work will be done under the supervision of an experienced Data Systems Manager.

Technical competencies
Knowledge of relevant technical domains
Relevant experience gained during internships/project work
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects
Behavioural competencies
Self Motivation
Continuous Learning
Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

You should have just completed, or be in your final year of a University course at Masters Level (or equivalent) in a technical or scientific discipline. A degree in Software Engineering, Robotics, Computer Graphics or Natural Sciences or Engineering with major in subjects such as Information Technology or Computer Science would be preferred.

Additional requirements

You should have a good background in modern information technology and software engineering. Specialisation in any of the following fields is considered an asset: AI (Machine and Deep learning), Cyber Security, AR/VR technologies, Robotics, Embedded software development.

You must be fluent in English and/or French, the working languages of the Agency. A good proficiency in English is required.

In addition to the above competencies, you should demonstrate good interpersonal skills and the capacity to work both independently and as part of a team.

During the interview the candidates' motivation and overall professional perspective/career goals will also be explored.

Other information

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

The closing date for applications is  15 December 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, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Slovenia, as an Associate Member, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States (ECS).

Priority will first be given to 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

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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