human resources

Vacancy in the Directorate of Science.

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 A5 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands


The post holder will be part of the LISA team, in the Projects Department of the Science Directorate, and will functionally report to the LISA Project Manager. 

LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is a mission comprising a constellation of three spacecraft to detect and measure with precision gravitational waves. It will become the first ever space gravitational wave observatory. It will deliver world-class science and will have significant public and strategic impact. The mission itself is of extreme complexity, involving 19 institutes from 10 European countries as well as a significant involvement by NASA that will provide telescopes, lasers and electrostatic dischargers under a partnership agreement with ESA.

ESA is responsible for the mission at a whole, including the procurement of three spacecraft and of the launch vehicle, and the development of the payload and ground segment. For LISA, ESA will take additional responsibility, leading payload system design and programmatic, including performance responsibility. 

The role of the LISA Spacecraft Manager is to manage the procurement of the three, ensuring compliance to performance, schedule and costs. The number of enabling technologies (from international cooperations) and technical risks are significantly higher than the most technologically advanced science missions. The management of the technical and programmatic risks and the fulfilment of the schedule constitute the main challenges for the spacecraft manager.

The spacecraft manager will manage two teams, in charge, respectively, of the system engineering aspects (spacecraft system engineering team) and assembly, integration and testing (AIT team). 

For candidates currently in the A2-A4 grade band, regrading to A5 will take effect following the selection of LISA Prime (IPC paper currently expected in Q4 2024).


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • ensuring the completion of the spacecraft activities within the agreed budget and schedule (Phases B2-E1);
  • managing the industrial activities and evaluating the proposed designs, hardware and software solutions, to ensure full compliance with scientific, technical and programmatic requirements and constraints;
  • ensuring the conformity of the system design to the mission requirements in coordination with payload team and mission and performance team;
  • ensuring the LISA space segment requirements, including the satellite to instrument, launcher and ground segment interfaces, are complete and met;
  • ensuring a complete verification programme for the space segment;
  • ensuring the industrial contracts are timely established and thoroughly managed to completion; 
  • managing the all test campaigns at spacecraft level and on any development module;
  • contribute to the launch campaign in coordination with Mission and Performance team;
  • contributing to the development of independent means to verify analytically the constellation level requirements in coordination with Mission and Performance team;
  • ensuring the in-orbit commissioning of the spacecraft, and supporting the overall mission system commissioning;
  • implementing the LISA risk management process agreed at mission level for the spacecraft, identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility;
  • implementing project management and product assurance and safety processes for the spacecraft elements;
  • leading ESA and industrial teams to ensure that the project goals are achieved;

You will also be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.

Technical competencies

Space project management

Technical understanding of space systems, and science instruments in particular

Industry contractor management

Interface management

Complex project risk management processes

Strong leadership skills (communication, influencing, negotiation, decision making…);

Team management

Knowledge of agency procedures (IPRev, AC/IPC, SPC, Design reviews…)

Behavioural competencies

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


A Master's degree in engineering is required.

Additional requirements

Significant experience (minimum 15 years) in development of scientific projects. Solid experience in the space field, including relevant experience in project engineering and managing of industrial partners, is required. 

You should further have:

  • Proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team of engineers
  • Proven experience in C/D Phase and a record of successful procurements with industry
  • The ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals within the team and to relate team objectives to the overall, evolving organizational goals and context
  • The ability to drive performance and foster cooperation within and across teams throughout the organization
  • Demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills, both oral and written
  • A proven track record of representing the Agency’s interests to external interfaces
  • Excellent cognitive, analytical, delegation, planning and organizational 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 a high standard and with integrity as well as to support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process
  • People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities

Other Information

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

For further information please visit: Professionals, What we offer and FAQ

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. 

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, Slovakia 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 conducted by an external background screening service. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

ESA logo
Netherlands, Noordwijk
Posted 4 months ago
Job offer closed
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