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Young Graduate Trainee for Flight Vehicle Engineering

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Aviation and Air traffic (planning/management/services)
    • 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 Flight Vehicle Engineering

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

As a YGT you will be a member of the Flight Vehicles & Aerothermodynamics Section in ESA’s Propulsion & Aerothermodynamics Division.

The Division is happy to welcome Young Graduate Trainees to contribute to the following duties:

  • support to projects and definition/execution of technology programmes in the areas of chemical propulsion (systems utilising liquid, solid, hybrid and gaseous propellants for spacecraft and launch vehicles), electric propulsion (electrostatic, electromagnetic and electrothermal systems), advanced new propulsion systems (e.g. air breathing engines for advanced launchers and applications of nuclear propulsion to space missions), external and internal aerothermodynamics of relevance to propulsion systems, ascent, cruise and re-entry of space vehicles through the Earth's or other planetary atmospheres;
  • architecture and technology assessment of new space transportation vehicles for Earth orbit, exploration and orbital systems application;
  • development of components for propulsion systems (valves, regulators, tanks, GSE);
  • development of propulsion and aerothermodynamics simulation tools and support to the evolution of related European test facilities.
Field(s) of activity

Within the programmes for exploration of the Moon and Mars, ESA is working on space architectures for human-enhanced and robotic capabilities for upcoming exploration and science missions. Under agreements, ESA is working in cooperation with space agency partners (NASA, JAXA, Rosscosmos, CSA) to study mission concepts and flight vehicle architectures that would allow a permanent human presence on the Moon by the second half of the 2020s and robotic exploration of Mars.

These space scenarios include cargo and human missions to the lunar surface, including surface operations of a rover on both the Moon and Mars. The first mission starts with launch of a mid-sized launch vehicle. As Earth to Moon transfer options, minimum energy transfer strategies are being considered. The missions will carry to the Moon a landing stack comprising four main sub-elements: a descender module, ascender module, rover and sample container. Flight vehicle engineering is needed to assess the feasibility and maturity of concepts for transportation of cargo and humans back and forth from the Moon and Mars. Such engineering involves mastering several key disciplines to arrive at preliminary concepts to establish the viability of the missions: propulsion, aerodynamics, mechanisms, control, and thermodynamics.

You will work in a team interacting with Section colleagues on the following activities:

  • Feasibility: feasibility analysis and viability assessments, as well as quick design iterations for flight vehicle engineering with the support of the necessary subsystem competences.
  • Design: architecture design, analysis and technical assessment of space transportation vehicles for Earth to Moon and Moon to Earth.
  • Engineering: flight vehicle engineering for the mission arcs of ascent, cruise and landing or re-entry of space transportation vehicles for the Earth-Moon scenarios.
  • Simulation: simulation activities related to flight vehicles, flight physics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics engineering. In this line, you will use the propulsion, aerothermodynamics and flight physics modelling tools available in Section. You may need to work on enhancements of simulation environments for selected mission scenarios and implement modifications and updates to simulation models and algorithms needed to accommodate the preliminary design of the vehicles.
  • Testing: you will be involved in the preparation and setting-up of test campaigns in the areas of flight vehicle engineering, computational fluid dynamics, external and internal aerothermodynamics of relevance to propulsion systems, fluid-structure interaction phenomena, etc.
  • Visualisation: use of the ESTEC 3D virtual reality facility for visualisation of analysis performed.
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, control engineering or mathematical methods for aerospace applications.

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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