🌌 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.

The team is the INTEGRAL operations Unit in the Astronomy and Fundamental Physics Missions Operations Division in the Department of Operations in ESOC. You will work within the INTEGRAL (and XMM-Newton) satellites flight control teams.
We are a team of twelve people responsible for all aspects of the Satellite operations, in particular it is our job to ensure the scientific performance of the observatory matches the planned performance and set of observations. To achieve this all operations are carefully prepared beforehand, any changes in operating strategy are thoroughly tested before deployment.  We also have to respond in a timely way to anomalies affecting either the Satellite or ground segment.

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: Operations Procedure Tool

Within the Astronomy and Fundamental Physics Missions Division, the successful candidate will work with the INTEGRAL and XMMNewton satellites flight control teams. The INTEGRAL mission is flown according to the Flight operations plan. This is a user’s manual of detailed operating instructions, mostly created more than 20 years ago. The tool used to maintain this documentation is becoming increasingly difficult to manage having undergone several Operating System, hardware and application migrations since launch.  

As an intern, your task will be to review, document, catalogue and improve existing scripts and SQL queries. Additionally further scripting to introduce new functionality according to extended mission requirements will also be needed, You will work closely with the Flight Control Team. Good communication skills are therefore essential and have familiarity with scripting in LINUX / SOLARIS operating system environments.

  1. Topic 2: Adaptation of On-Board Monitoring and RACP management tool for new INTEGRAL Safe Mode Patch

Within the Astronomy and Fundamental Physics Missions Division, the successful candidate will work with the INTEGRAL and XMMNewton satellites flight control teams. The INTEGRAL spacecraft's on-board software allows the operator to configure a table of parameters and thresholds to be monitored against as well as to define spacecraft commands to be executed in case relevant thresholds are exceeded. A tool was developed to manage these tables. The main functions of this tool are completed, but several additional functions are still required and some adaptation will be needed to support the new Integral Safe Mode patch, which significantly increases the size and usage of these tables. The goal of the internship would be to develop a tool on ground, which on one hand allows the operator to generate the relevant table entries (parameters, thresholds, commands) directly from a simple GUI and on the other hand cross checks the contents of the table.

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: Knowledge and background in SQL and scripting in LINUX / SOLARIS operating system environments would be an asset. 
  2. Topic 2: Knowledge of Python would be a hard requirement; git, Object-Oriented Programming would be an asset.


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 contact.human.resources@esa.int.

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).

ESA logo
Germany, Darmstadt
Posted 15d ago
Job offer closed
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