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Intern in the Mission Operations Department


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Darmstadt
  • Grade: Internship - Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: Closed


Internship 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. 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.




Our team and mission

The Mission Operations Department is responsible for the preparation and conducting of flight operations for all ESA missions. For this purpose, the Head of the Mission Operations Department is the primary interface of OPS towards the Programme Directorates. In addition to operational support to ESA customer missions, the Head of Department is responsible for the support to missions of external customers and, in particular, to missions of other space agencies. Operational activities include both spacecraft and related ground segment operations.


For further information visit our web site:


More information on the topics:


Cluster mission:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:


1) Topic 1: System Power Analysis for the BepiColombo Mission at Mercury

The BepiColombo mission is currently in the cruise phase and will reach Mercury in December 2025. During the cruise phase, the composite spacecraft is supplied by 2 large solar arrays, which provide sufficient power to operate the BepiColombo orbiter, the Japanese spacecraft MIO, and the Mercury Transfer Module with its electric propulsion engine. Once in Mercury orbit, the BepiColombo orbiter will separate from the Transfer Module and will be supplied from its own solar array, which will be continuously steered using ground commanded profiles to maximise the power output, while maintaining its temperature below qualification limits in the harsh Mercury environment. Despite the vicinity to the Sun, power availability will be limited during certain seasons at Mercury, requiring a share of resources between the instruments and the communications subsystem on board the spacecraft. During eclipse seasons, a detailed power balance analysis will be needed to make sure the planned operations can be accommodated. Finally, thermal constraints may apply during the perihelion season, when specific set of payloads may not be allowed to operate simultaneously.

As an intern, you will help the BepiColombo Flight Control Team to review the documentation delivered by industry prior to launch, build operational scenarios for Mercury based on the cruise flight experience, and verify their feasibility. Learn areas entail: mission design and operations, power and thermal analysis, and mission planning.


2) Topic 2: Development of features for web-based timeline visualization tool for Operations Planning & Automation

The Cluster mission has developed a web-based timeline visualisation tool, called OPSWEB, now in use by many missions to display the operations plans and visualise their progress. The tool requires new models and features to be added or older features to be fixed. You will use Python for creating backend adapters, parsers and models and will need to know some basics of Javascript to make modifications in the frontend. You will learn how to configure timelines using the platform’s proprietary grammar and implement visualisations requested by the mission operators to support the needs for planning and monitoring of real operations. All features need to be carefully tested before deployment to the operational environment. You will also be exposed to the mission operations activities taking place in the mission and learn how large satellites are operated.

Behavioural competencies

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


You must have student status and be enrolled at university for the entire duration of the internship. You should preferably be in your final or second to last year of a university course at master’s level in a technical or scientific discipline.

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.


Educational knowledge:
1) Topic 1: The candidate shall have a bachelor’s degree in physics or in an engineering discipline and have some basic programming skills. Knowledge of spacecraft design and operations, particularly in power and thermal design, would be advantageous.
2) Topic 2: The candidate shall have a bachelor’s degree in physics or in an engineering discipline and shall be proficient in programming with good knowledge of Python, Javascript, REST API and Database management.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.


If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email

Internships can take place remotely, on-site or partially on-site depending on the pandemic situation, and in line with the relevant Establishment’s policy (e.g. possible Green Pass requirement) applicable at the time of starting the internship.


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 Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

This vacancy is now closed.
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