Intern in Aerothermodynamics and Flight Vehicle Engineering

Updated: 3 months ago

Internship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

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

This position is based at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) - Noordwijk, Netherlands

Under the direct authority of the Mechanical Department, the Propulsion and Aerothermodynamics Division is responsible for the technical and strategic management of all areas related to chemical, electric and advanced propulsion, and aerothermodynamics analysis and verification.

In particular the division is in charge of:

  • Support to projects and definition/execution of technology programmes in the areas of chemical propulsion (systems utilising liquid, solid, hybrid and gaseous propellants for spacecraft and launch vehicles), electric propulsion (electrostatic, electromagnetic, and electrothermal systems), advanced new propulsion systems (e.g. air breathing engines for advanced launch vehicles and applications of nuclear propulsion to space missions), external and internal aerothermodynamics of relevance to propulsion systems, ascent, cruise and re-entry of space vehicles through the Earth's or planetary atmospheres;
  • Architecture and technology assessment of new space transportation vehicles for Earth orbit, exploration and orbital systems application;
  • Development of components for propulsion systems (valves, regulators, tanks, GSE, etc.);
  • Development of propulsion and aerothermodynamics simulation tools and support to the evolution of the related European test facilities.

For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

Topic: Thruster plume interaction, impingement and/or contamination

In preparation for upcoming lander missions (Argonaut, ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Mission), there is the need for improved understanding and modelling of plume-surface interaction, particularly to assess potential impacts on the spacecraft of regolith/dust particles and rocks ejected from the impinged soil. Depending on the plume and soil properties, large craters can form underneath the landing spacecraft which could alter the plume-surface interaction and the resulting liberated particle trajectories and impacts.

The internship will look at defining a parametric model of a landing spacecraft, including parametrised crater shapes, to enable semi-automatic creation of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation set-ups. A large sensitivity study will then be performed using these CFD simulations to assess particle impacts and contamination potential under various landing conditions.

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.

Additional Requirements:

  • Knowledge and background in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and programming languages (e.g. Python) is 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 [email protected] .


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, Croatia and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

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