Young Graduate Trainee in OPS-SAT Space Lab Engineering

Updated: about 1 month ago

Young Graduate 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.

This post is classified F1 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale .


ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany 

Our team and mission

The GAIA and OPS-SAT Mission Operations Unit is responsible for the operations of the GAIA mission and the OPS-SAT Space Lab. You will be working as part of the OPS-SAT Space Lab but will also get the opportunity to interact with the GAIA mission control team. The OPS-SAT Space Lab is responsible for all the OPS-SAT missions from concept, design, development, launch and operations. We presently have one flying spacecraft and several in the early stages of design as part of the lab. The spacecraft are all nanosatellites and comprise powerful, open, reconfigurable laboratories in space. The missions are primarily operated via a ground station located on site at ESOC which is part of the SMILE infrastructure. Each mission has a unique theme with OPS-SAT-1 being reconfigurable FPGAs and communication protocols and OPS-SAT VOLT being optical and quantum communication. OPS-SAT-1 will de-orbit in 2024 while OPS-SAT VOLT is in development, targeting a launch in 2025. On the other hand, GAIA is a large cornerstone ESA Science mission, tasked with detecting and accurately mapping the positions of 1 billion stars to unprecedented accuracy.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

The purpose of this activity will be to assist the OPS-SAT Space Lab manager in the implementation of the related missions. OPS-SAT-1 is a flying, reconfigurable laboratory designed to allow experimenters to test innovative mission operations concepts and modern software technologies. The space segment is based on a triple cubesat bus design while the payload includes state of the art system on modules and reconfigurable FPGAs. The ground segment is split into two consisting of a traditional cubesat control system with a UHF band ground station on one side and the latest ESA command and control infrastructure (S and X band) on the other. The spacecraft is controlled from a ground station located in ESOC, Germany. OPS-SAT-1 will deorbit naturally sometime in late 2024.

OPS-SAT VOLT is in the development phase with a launch planned in late 2025. It carries optical and quantum communication systems on which experiments can be conducted. The candidate will be following the development and testing of the OPS-SAT VOLT space, ground and payload segment and at the same time assist in the co-ordination, planning and execution of the many experiments on OPS-SAT-1. You will also contribute to the operations of the missions (mission planning, real-time execution, post analysis etc).

Technical competencies

Knowledge of relevant technical domains

Relevant experience gained during internships/project work

Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities

Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation

Operational Efficiency

Fostering Cooperation

Relationship Management

Continuous Improvement

Forward Thinking


You should have just completed, or be in the final year of your Master’ s degree in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

You should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multicultural environment, both independently and as part of a team.

Experience of working on a cubesat project, FPGA programming and/or optical communication is desirable.

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.

During the interview motivation and overall professional perspective/career goals will also be explored.

Other information

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

For further information on the Young Graduate Programme please visit: Young Graduate Programme andFAQ Young Graduate Programme

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 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).

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 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.

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