Intern in the Mission Operations Department
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.
ESEC, the European Space Security and Education Centre at Redu in Belgium is a centre of excellence for space cyber security services, home to ESA's PROBA mission control centre, the Space Weather Data Centre, the ESA Education Training Centre as well as part of ESA’s ground station network. ESEC provides S-band links for ESA’s network of ground stations, as well as in-orbit testing (IOT) for telecommunication and navigation satellites for which it hosts all the facilities used to test the Galileo signal. ESEC hosts part of the ESA Education program. It has welcomed participants to the ESA Academy Training and Learning Facility, where, in collaboration with university academic institutions, ESA works to transfer expertise, knowhow and best practices to European university students. Since 2018, ESEC also hosts the ESA Academy CubeSat Support Facility, a state-of-the-art assembly integration and test facility to be used by student teams involved in Fly Your Satellite!, the ESA Education’s student CubeSat initiative.
The prime function of the operations team at ESEC/Redu (Belgium) is to interface satellites and ground facilities required for their control and utilisation. The main tasks are:
- Satellite mission operations (planning, monitoring and control).
- Operational preparation for new missions.
- In-orbit testing of communications, data relay and navigation satellites.
- Ground facility operations and maintenance.
ESA activities at ESEC/Redu cover a wide range of disciplines and there is significant hands-on work.
Location: The internship will take place at ESEC (Belgium)
For further information visit our web site: http://www.esa.int
Field(s) of activity for the internship
You can choose between the following topics:
1) Topic 1: Upgrade of the Ground Segment Management System for the ESEC SmallSat Operations Centre
As an intern, you will support the ESEC SmallSat Operations team by porting the currently used Ground Segment Management System (GSMS) to a state-of-the-art system based on the OpsWeb tool; the new GSMS will be implemented in Python3. This activity shall be carried out at ESEC/Redu and will be supported by different ESA experts; since the product will be used operationally close interaction with the SmallSat Operations team is expected.
For the internship, the following activities are foreseen:
- Familiarisation with spacecraft operation planning and execution activities conducted from ESEC;
- In-depth analysis of the GSMS and its responsibilities as a planning and automation tool, understanding of the stakeholders' needs/requirements;
- Exploration of OpsWeb and its extension mechanisms;
- Definition of the functionalities to be ported to the new GSMS and their structure/integration within OpsWeb;
- Implementation of the agreed functionalities according to previous analysis and design;
- Testing and evaluation of the new GSMS's performance;
- Supporting the operations team to switch over to the new GSMS.
- Optional: Propose and implement improvements with respect to the current status; e.g. improved automatic pass selection.
You should be able to work independently but will be supported by the ESEC SmallSat Operations team.
2) Topic 2: Development of a mission support tool for the ESEC SmallSat Operations Centre
As an intern, you will support the ESEC SmallSat Operations team by developing an automated tool to support the PROBA operations. The tool to be developed will be chosen based on the mission’s needs at start of the internship as well as the intern’s capabilities and preferences. This activity shall be carried out at ESEC/Redu and will be supported by different ESA experts; since the product will be used operationally close interaction with the SmallSat Operations team is expected.
Possible choices include but are not limited to
- an automated image processing chain for imagery taken by the CHIRS instrument on-board Proba-1,
- a tool to visualise the Proba-3 orbit during formation flying experiments and compare it to the orbit predicted by the Flight Dynamics System,
- a tool to support daily operations and regular reporting by analyzing and correlating spacecraft on-board events with other spacecraft telemetry and notifying the operations team if required.
In all cases, the data required by the implemented tool must be retrieved, generated and processed automatically at regular intervals to allow seamless integration into the ESEC ground segment and support operations without adding additional workload. You should be able to work independently but will be supported by the ESEC SmallSat Operations team.
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.
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.
1) Topic 1: You should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multi-cultural environment, both independently and as part of a team. Experience in Python 3 development is required and knowledge of git version control, Linux command line use and docker are considered assets.
2) Topic 2: You should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multi-cultural environment, both independently and as part of a team. Experience in programming and software development is required, and knowledge of telemetry or image processing, git version control and Linux command line use are considered assets.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).