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Young Graduate Trainee for Ground Stations Operations of Small Missions (SMILE)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: 2020-02-04

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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 Ground Stations Operations of Small Missions (SMILE)

This post is classified F1.


ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany 

Our team and mission

As part of the Mission Operations Department, the Ground Facilities Operations Division manages, operates and maintains infrastructure used to support operations of ESA and external missions. Facilities include Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C) stations belonging to ESA’s ground station network (ESTRACK), the Operations Control Centre at ESOC and Mission Operations Technical IT.

The Division is responsible for management of the Special Mission Infrastructure Laboratory Environment, a flexible mission control and validation facility located at ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Comprising an operational control lab and several ground station antennas, SMILE supports ESA internal users as well as universities, research institutes and companies prototyping, testing and validating innovative operations concepts and technologies. Typical users benefitting from access to SMILE facilities and services are:

  • CubeSats and small spacecraft manufacturers and operators;
  • ground station software and hardware developers;
  • ground segment service providers.

More information at 

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

The main objective of this activity is to support the preparation and conducting of ground facilities operations with a particular focus on small satellite missions.

As a YGT, you will be assigned to the team responsible for operations, maintenance and evolution of the SMILE facilities. You will review, maintain and evolve procedures, tools and other systems used in the operations and promotion of SMILE. You will be responsible for the daily operations of the relevant facilities in support of ESA and external customers missions, typically in the areas of small satellites and CubeSats.

You will be supporting the evolution of SMILE facilities and services, including automation of tracking activities as well as the definition and testing of novel concepts such as optical communication and autonomous ground station scheduling.

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 Master's level (or equivalent) in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

The following is also considered as desirable qualification:

  • Knowledge of programming languages, e.g. python.
  • Possession of radio-amateur licence
  • Knowledge of virtual private networks and/or administration of virtual machines

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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