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Intern in the Ground Systems Engineering and Innovation Department (students only)

European Space Agency

2 years ago

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Job Req ID:  16422

Closing Date:  10 January 2023 23:59 CET/CEST 23:59 CET/CEST

Publication:  External Only

Vacancy Type:  Intern

Date Posted:  6 December 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 Ground Systems Engineering and Innovation Department is responsible for all the ground systems engineering and support activities required to support mission operations and implement innovation. The Department maintains and manages a full level of competences, technologies and services in all engineering disciplines related to ground systems, infrastructure, technology evolution and Engineering R&T and innovation. The Department provides expert support in these areas to the Directorate for all current and potential missions and leads, in the role of architect, ground systems evolution and innovation implementation in the infrastructure. The Department is furthermore responsible for the overall technical standardisation coordination for the ground segment, in the Management Council of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS).


Our team is developing ground segment software related to space communication protocols and ESA’s network of ground stations. We are very active in research and development and contribute to global standardisation activities related to space communication. We collaborate with other space agencies, European Industry and Academia and support world-wide initiatives to advance towards a Solar System Internet.


For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:


1) Topic 1: Design and development of web based user interface for Generic Subsystem Controller

The Ground Station Backend Software section developed and maintains a Generic Subsystem Controller software. The aim of this software product is to isolate a set of functions which are common to all subsystem controllers. The isolated set of monitoring and control functionality is bundled in a software system, which can be integrated into existing and/or future subsystem controllers as an off the shelf product. The Generic Subsystem Controller contains generic man machine interface (user interface) that enables the users (clients) monitoring and controlling of the subsystem from any location within the ground station intranet. The user interface is slightly outdated and requires renovation that would ideally bring it to a web based version using modern frameworks and tools (i.e. React or Angular).

The internship activity will be focused on designing and developing parts of the Generic Subsystem Controller user interface. Within the scope of this activity, as an intern, you will:
- Study and understand the characteristics of the Generic Subsystem Controller (especially in context of - and with focus on - the back and frontend interaction within the system).
- Design, develop and further the state of the Generic Subsystem Controller


2) Topic 2: Development and Demonstration of Disruption Tolerant Networking

Space communication is often characterised by long round trip delays and less reliable communication links. Communication links are typically planned a long time in advance and may be only available for limited time. Data rates on the individual links may vary between a few Kbit/s to Gbit/s and no full end-to-end paths between two communication entities may ever exist. In order to overcome these challenges, Delay or Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) communication architectures have been proposed and related communication protocols have been standardised for the space domain (Bundle Protocol, Licklider Transmission Protocol). These protocols are being implemented by ESA, simulated and validated for various scenarios, including Earth Observation and Lunar or Mars exploration scenarios.


During the internship, as an intern, you will support the following tasks:
- Acceptance testing and validation of protocol implementations received from Industry
- Software maintenance and development of protocol extensions
- Deployment and validation of prototypic operational systems on ground in order to prepare DTN communication experiments and demonstrations
- Support DTN experiments and demonstrations with ESA's OPS-SAT and with external partners (space agencies, commercial entities, academia)
- Depending on the applicants interest, further work could be performed in areas currently under active development and standardisation, such as network management for DTN networks, routing in DTN networks or mission operations for DTN-enabled spacecraft.

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: 
- Knowledge, background and experience in general software development methodologies would be an asset. 
- Knowledge of modern front-end technologies, specifically: TypeScript/JavaScript, React and/or Angular would be an asset. 
- Knowledge of Java 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).


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