Intern in the Systems Department

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 30 Nov 2022

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

The Systems Department is responsible for System Engineering, Software Engineering, Attitude and Orbit Control, Digital Engineering, Cost Engineering, In Orbit Demonstration projects, Technology Transfer & the Business Incubation Initiative, the Advanced Concepts Team and the management of the General Study Program (GSP).

This internship will take place within ESA's Advanced Concepts Team (ACT). The ACT is a team of scientists who originate from a broad variety of academic fields and are aiming for an academic career. Its task is to monitor, perform and foster research on advanced space systems, innovative concepts and working methods. It interacts externally almost exclusively with academia and operates as a truly interdisciplinary team bound to high scientific standards. Through its research, the team acts as a pathfinder to explore novel, potentially promising areas for ESA and the space sector, ranging from applied to fundamental research topics. An important task of the team is to communicate scientific trends and results, as input to the strategic planning of the Agency.

For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:

1) Topic 1: A dataset for exploring generative cellular automata as a design tool for space habitats and spacecraft

In this internship, the foundation will be laid for exploring the capabilities of modern artificial intelligence methods for the application in design processes of space architecture and infrastructure systems. To achieve this, the main goal of the internship will be to assemble a suitable dataset containing 3D models of spacecraft designs with labelled components (e.g., solar panels, antenna, hull, etc.). The assembled dataset is intended to form the basis for exploring a variety of machine learning models for the design and analysis of space-related structures (e.g., 3D object segmentation to label spacecraft components). Hence, ideally the dataset will be made publicly available.

2) Topic 2: Fundamental tests of gravity using a satellite-based quantum network

In this internship, a modular framework for satellite-based entanglement distribution in a quantum network, which has been recently developed by the Advanced Concepts Team together with TU Delft, will be utilised to investigate the influence of gravitationally induced corrections to the system.

3) Topic 3: Revisiting Debris evolution models: validating gas kinetic theory to model collision risks in orbital environments

This internship will revisit the problem of modelling the long-term evolution of debris clouds. First, a few fully deterministic simulations of the (say) Low Earth Orbit environment will be performed using tools developed in the Advanced Concepts Team. The Cube algorithm will be used to simulate the same orbital evolution. A comparison between the two set of results will highlight possible critical points on the use of a probabilistic modelling.

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.

1) Topic 1: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, 3D modelling, spacecraft design.

2) Topic 2:  Fundamental Physics, Quantim Mechanics, Quantum Networks.

3) Topic 3: Computer Science, Aerospace Engineering, Space Debris.

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).

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