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Ground Operations Engineer

Darmstadt (Germany)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Darmstadt (Germany)
  • Grade: A2/A4 - Grade band - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Engineering
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-18

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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.

Ground Operations Engineer

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

ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany  


You will report to the Head of the Near Earth Services Section of the Ground Facilities Operations Division, Mission Operations Department, Directorate of Operations. 

The Section is responsible for the operations, engineering and provision of ground facilities operations services to Earth observation missions, astronomical and fundamental physics missions, for ESA missions and in support of such missions for delegated EU or national programmes.


You will be assigned the role of Ground Operations Manager (GOM) in support of one or more specific missions, nominally for the duration of the mission lifetime. You will be the single point of contact with the mission(s) for all services provided by the ESA Station Tracking Network, Operational Control Centre and ICT infrastructure ground facilities over the mission lifetime, providing regular and event-driven reporting to the customer mission and line management.

Additional duties include:

  • coordinating requirements engineering, generation and maintenance of cost-at-completion data, mission specific system engineering, steering the required technical work and operations preparation activities relevant to ground facilities;
  • ensuring validation of relevant ground segment elements and final 'delivery' to mission;
  • initiating and following-up mission/service-specific tailoring, modifications or upgrades of ground facilities infrastructure and services;
  • defining and coordinating execution of related test and validation programmes such as RF compatibility, mission readiness, station performance, tracking campaigns;
  • supporting preparation and execution of Launch and Early Orbit Phases (LEOP) and other mission-critical phases as an Operations Manager Team member;
  • coordinating ground facilities scheduling, operations and services to relevant missions during the routine in-flight operations phase, including  interfacing with the Network Control Centre (NOC);
  • participating in project reviews, anomaly and configuration control boards, acting as user representative in the development process of relevant ground systems;
  • supporting the Head of Section in activities, processes and projects related to multi-mission ground facilities infrastructure and services.
Technical competencies
Experience in the management of mission operations preparation and execution, including direct experience in critical and routine mission operations.
Architecture of ground stations dedicated to space mission support
Behavioural competencies
Planning & Organisation
Problem Solving
Relationship Management
Results Orientation
Customer Focus

You should have a Master's degree or equivalent qualification in physics, telecommunications or information technology engineering with an orientation towards space communications.

Additional requirements

A detailed knowledge of the architecture of ground stations and their subsystems with operations experience of TT&C station networks are prerequisites.

A good understanding of ESA's internal operations, in particular ESOC and ESTRACK, is an asset.

An ability to plan and control complex operational activities, including schedules, risks and resource allocation 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 18 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, 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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