Intern in the Space Safety Programme Office

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 30 Nov 2022

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 Space Safety Programme Office takes care of all potential hazards from space or in space, which can impact human activities on Earth or again in space. The spectrum of tasks ranges from gathering the basic understanding of space hazards originating from our Sun, from man-made space debris, or from asteroids potentially colliding with the Earth. It also addresses basic approaches to mitigate these hazards and to implement space systems end-to-end in a sustainable and eco-compatible way. Moreover, several corner stone missions are underway to demonstrate basic methods of space weather forecasting, asteroid deflection and active space debris removal from orbit.

Space Weather Office is responsible for developing tools, models and applications that allow nowcasting and forecasting space weather, i.e., the enormous eruptions in the Sun that impact the environment everywhere in our solar system. When these eruptions hit the Earth, they can cause major damage in the infrastructure on the surface, damage satellites and endanger the health of the astronauts in space. Geomagnetic storms triggered by the solar events can cause blackouts in power grids, disturb satellite navigation and communication, disturb aviation, transport, and many other functions that we are used to in our daily life. Energetic particles from the solar events can also damage space probes that we have sent to other planets in the solar system. This is why Space Weather Office is developing space weather forecasting capability for other planets like Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Space Weather Office is also responsible for development and implementation of the satellite missions for space weather monitoring to make the space weather services to the users possible.

For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:

1) Topic 1: Testing and validation of space weather services and models

The Sun is a giant sphere of hot plasma in constant change. Our Sun is an extremely dynamic object: it emits a constant flow of radiation, energetic particles, and plasma in all directions, including towards the Earth. Our planet is partially protected by its natural magnetic field but, in case of high solar activity, conditions can quickly become hazardous. Space weather services aim to translate our knowledge of these phenomena and their interactions into actionable information for operators of affected systems both in space and on ground ranging from spacecraft operators through to power distribution network operators. Space weather services rely on timely and accurate data combined with advanced modelling. New components added to the ESA Space Weather Service Network undergo testing and validation to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the services available to end users.

This 6 month project is foreseen to focus on two complementary areas targeting key building blocks underpinning improved service provision:
- preparing for the integration of new data and service components from international partners into ESA's Space Weather Service Network, including elements of data visualisation, analysis in combination with existing data and performance assessment,
- studying the sensitivity of solar wind models to changes in their initial parameters, in order to quantify how the availability and characteristics of satellite data can influence the accuracy of our forecasts.

2) Topic 2: Space Weather measurement requirements

ESA is developing a satellite system called Distributed Space Weather Sensor System (D3S) for monitoring the space environment around the Earth and the Moon. Satellites in the D3S mission observe the particle radiation, plasma environment, magnetic field, upper atmosphere, and many other parameters that allow now casting and monitoring of the impact of the solar events to our environment and infrastructure. D3S is mainly build by flying hosted payload instruments onboard commercial or scientific satellites, using cubesats and nanosatellites, and also by developing dedicated SmallSat missions. D3S missions currently in development include radiation monitors flying with telecommunication satellites, with the Lunar Gateway space station and Lunar Pathfinder telecommunication mission for the Moon, nanosatellite missions to monitor space weather in various orbits including deep space, and a dedicated mission to monitor the Aurora on both polar regions.

In this 6 month internship, you will be in the space weather office team analysing and consolidating the measurement requirements for the coming space missions and the payload instruments. Your tasks will include literature studies on topics related to the utilisation of the measurement data from the instruments, simulation of the measurements and analysis of the data, and supporting the specification of the requirements for future instrument and mission developments by European aerospace industry. You will also be involved in analysis of the space weather satellite missions in development and analysis of combining space and ground-based observations.

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: 

  • Background in physics, informatics, mathematics or engineering is required.
  • Knowledge of a programming language would be an asset.
  • Experience with data analysis would be an asset.

2) Topic 2:

  • Background in physics, informatics, mathematics or engineering is required.
  • Knowledge of a programming language would be an asset.
  • Experience with data analysis 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 .

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).

View or Apply

Similar Positions