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Head of the Space Safety Programme Office

Darmstadt (Germany)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Darmstadt (Germany)
  • Grade: A2 - Grade band - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Security and Safety
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-26

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ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This post is classified A6 of the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany  



Head of the Space Safety Programme Office in the Directorate of Operations.


You will report to the Director of Operations and your responsibilities will be to:

  • Form part of the OPS Management Team and, as such, contribute to implementing the overall Directorate strategy and related change process;
  • Manage the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme and related third-party projects (e.g. S3T);
  • Manage the Space Safety Programme;
  • Manage the work to be performed under the SSA Contribution Agreement with the EC;
  • Lead the further evolution of the programmes in close coordination with participating States, maintain user requirements, and liaise with the study programmes;
  • Manage the resources delegated to the Space Safety Programme Office, including staff, budgets, industrial contracts and legal agreements;
  • Provide frequency management and space debris services for ESA;
  • Evolve ESA’s technical competence, outreach and strategic leadership in the following areas: 
    • Space weather
    • Space debris
    • Near-Earth objects 
    • Clean Space
    • Frequency management.

Technical competencies

Solid background in all technical matters of space debris, planetary defence and space weather
Background in the development of ground-based sensors, instrumentation and space missions
Profound competence in the domain of SSA and Space Safety and the underlying techniques
Management of industrial activities
Ambassadorship and topical leadership backed by outreach events, lectures and publications
Knowledge of the industrial landscape and ability to define technology development roadmaps identifying future trends in technology requirements
Project and risk management

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


You should have a master's degree in engineering or sciences.

Additional requirements

  • Proven experience in managing projects and large units;
  • At least two years of working practice in managing ESA programmes;
  • First-hand knowledge of Space Safety activities in Europe and a good appreciation of the European and international political contexts in such matters;
  • Experience of managing managers and distributed teams on multiple sites;
  • A solid standing and recognition within the international Space Safety community, ESA’s partners and media are considered an asset.

As a general requirement for any position at managerial level at ESA, you are expected to have:

  • proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team
  • the ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals and teams within the Department and related team objectives to the overall, evolving organisational goals and context
  • the ability to drive performance and foster cooperation within and across teams throughout the organisation
  • demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills, both oral and written
  • a proven track record in representing the Agency’s interests to external interfaces
  • excellent cognitive, analytical, delegation, planning and organisational skills
  • the ability to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context
  • the ability to reach solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of high standard and integrity, and to support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process.

Previous experience of managing managers and multiple teams, as well as experience outside your home country and in diverse functional areas relevant to the activities of ESA, is an asset.

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.  

Please note that applicants may be required to undergo aptitude testing, including recognised psychometric testing as well as problem solving and decision-making exercises.  

At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities.  Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace.  The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us at


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, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.


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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