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Young Graduate Trainee for Guidance, Navigation and Control Engineering

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

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Young Graduate Traineeship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

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 Guidance, Navigation and Control Engineering

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

As a YGT you will be a member of the Guidance Navigation and Control Section in ESA’s GNC, AOCS & Pointing Division.

With about 30 team members, the Division is happy to welcome YGTs to contribute to the following Section duties:

- PROJECT SUPPORT in the field of Guidance Navigation & Control engineering:

  • GNC design, system analysis and modelling for future and current missions in the ESA Directorates of Science (planetary exploration), Human Spaceflight & Robotic Exploration and Space Transportation (launchers and re-entry vehicles);


  • Research & development for missions enabling GNC technologies related to ascent, re-entry, entry descent & landing, rendezvous and formation flying, in-orbit assembly & servicing, interplanetary cruise;
  • Developing and managing missions enabling GNC R&D activities. Advanced control, estimation and optimisation techniques and tools including verification and validation; improving modelling capabilities, focusing on multi-physics dynamic modelling for complex space systems, uncertainty modelling and quantification, offline/online dynamic system identification and post-flight analysis techniques. 
  • Vision-based and hybrid navigation systems; advanced filtering techniques and image processing technologies for optical and IR cameras; data fusion techniques GNSS and inertial measurement units.      


  • Upgrading the GNC test facilities of the control lab;
  • Prototyping and closed-loop testing of advanced GNC systems in a representative environment.

Candidates interested are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

You will contribute to implementing and upgrading the GNC simulation, analysis, design and verification facilities of the Section serving the following application domains:

-           Rendezvous and docking, capture or berthing

-           Orbital proximity operations, in-orbit servicing and space debris removal

-           Ascender/descender applications for space exploration and space transportation

You will perform the following tasks:

  1. from mission or system-level requirements, developing an understanding of the implications regarding the derived requirements and architectures at GNC system level
  2. developing or enhancing existing GNC simulation environments, implementing mission-specific models of dynamics, kinematics and environment as well as GNC sensor and actuator suites
  3. contributing to GNC analysis and design of on-board algorithms for the abovementioned applications
  4. implementing GNC algorithms on a target processor via auto-coding to assess real-time performance and computational loads
  5. integrating and verifying a Processor-in-the-Loop (PIL) testing facility, using Section test facilities
  6. setting up and verifying a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) experiment; you will integrate the PIL avionics set-up, available hardware models of GNC units and all needed interfaces into the GRALS (GNC Rendezvous, Approach & Landing Simulator) robotics facility at ESTEC
  7. performing end-to-end verification, validation, and closed-loop testing of GNC systems on the developed PIL and HIL facilities
  8. documenting performed activities in dedicated technical reports
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 the final year of a university course at Master's level (or equivalent) in Aerospace or Controls engineering.

Additional requirements

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. 

You should demonstrate good interpersonal skills and the capacity to work both independently and as part of a team.  

During the interview your 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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