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Science Operations Development Manager

European Space Agency
Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain
Posting live until
8 Apr 2024

Job Details

Science Operations Development Manager


Closing Date:  8 April 2024 23:59 CET/CEST

Vacancy Type:  Permanent

Vacancy in the Directorate of Science.

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.

ESAC, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain  



The European Space Agency maintains a world-leading Science Programme with missions in heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics and fundamental physics. Its mission is to “Empower Europe to lead space science”. 

The Science and Operations Department (SCI-S) within ESA’s Directorate of Science hosts the scientists and engineers that oversee the space missions from study to end of operations. It develops the science operation systems for the missions and operates the missions in space, as well as archiving and curating their data during operations and beyond. Its main objective is to maximise the scientific output of the missions for the benefit of humankind.

You will be assigned as Science Operations Development Manager, initially for the EnVision mission, and will lead a team of experts to develop its Science Operations Centre. You will report to the Head of the Science Operations Development Division (SCI-SD), working in a collaborative environment alongside teams developing science operations systems for all ESA science missions. 

EnVision will be the first mission to investigate Venus from its inner core to its upper atmosphere, characterising the interaction between its various envelopes: its atmosphere, surface/subsurface and interior. The mission will aim to provide a holistic view of Venus, studying the planet’s history, activity and climate. EnVision is targeting a launch in the early 2030s.



You will be responsible for the definition, design and implementation of the EnVision Science Operations Centre, ESA’s contribution to the EnVision Science Ground Segment, with the goal of maximising the scientific return of the mission.

The Science Operations Centre, based at ESAC in Madrid, Spain, is responsible for science planning, data processing and archiving activities. The Mission Operations Centre, based at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, is responsible for all spacecraft operations.

You will work in close collaboration with the EnVision Project Scientist, the EnVision Project Team at ESTEC in the Netherlands, the Mission Operations Centre at ESOC in Germany, and the EnVision Principal Investigator teams delivering components of the Science Ground Segment with their payload instruments.

Your tasks and responsibilities will include:

leading the design, implementation and testing of the ESA-funded elements of the science operations system for the EnVision mission; delivering a functional science operations system for EnVision in accordance with the required mission milestones and reviews within cost and schedule;  managing the EnVision Science Operations team based at ESAC; planning, coordinating and supervising all preparatory activities relating to the operation of the Science Operations Centre and leading the transition to the operations phase; maximising the scientific return from the mission in line with the Project Scientist’s established requirements; liaising with the Project Manager, the Project Scientist, the Spacecraft Operations Manager and the Principal Investigator teams in support of the above activities; participating in reviews for other projects within the Directorate of Science as appropriate and contributing to managerial activities across the Department.
You will also be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.


Technical competencies

Experience in project management including delivery of complex projects within cost and schedule

Experience in coordinating internal/external stakeholders on scientific projects

Experience in managing teams, preferably in the scientific and/or engineering context

Experience in space mission operations

Knowledge of space projects, including instrumentation and operations


A master's degree in space sciences or engineering is required for this post.


Additional requirements

You should further have:

the potential to manage individuals or a team of experts in a relevant field; the ability to organise individual and team  activities and ensure a motivating work environment; strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills; the ability to drive your team’s performance, developing your people by encouraging learning, delegating responsibility and giving regular and constructive feedback; strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills; strong results orientation with the ability to set priorities and present practical solutions both orally and in writing; the ability to manage challenging situations proactively and constructively and to be customer focused.
People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.


Other information

For more information please click APPLY. 


Applicants must be eligible to access technology and hardware which is subject to European and US export control regulations.

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

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


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, the United Kingdom and Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.




Image credit: ESA/Science Office

We are the European Space Agency (ESA). Our mission is the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of everyone. We watch over Earth, develop and launch inspiring and unique space projects, train astronauts and push the boundaries of science and technology, seeking answers to the big questions about the universe. We are a family of scientists, engineers and business professionals from all over Europe working together in a diverse and multinational environment. We are dedicated to united space in Europe and united Europe in space. 

Why work for us
Are you enthusiastic, curious, a team player and eager to work in an international setting? With its 22 Member States and more than 2700 staff members working across Europe in nine different locations, ESA is the only space agency of its kind and a unique place to work. Joining ESA means working together on pioneering missions in a diverse and friendly environment with great benefits as well as numerous services and activities provided on site.

Training and development
Once you become an ESA employee, you will have access to a wide range of courses on many different topics as well as the opportunity to exchange and network with experts and other colleagues.

Graduate schemes
There are six entry-level and research programmes open to students and recent graduates who are nationals of ESA Member States or Cooperating States:

  • Student Internships are open to students still enrolled at university. Priority is given to Master’s students, but Bachelor’s students can also apply. Applications open in November each year.
  • The Young Graduate Trainee Programme is open to recently graduated Master’s students. Applications open in February each year.
  • National Trainee Programmes are offered to Master’s graduates through bilateral agreements between ESA and certain participating countries. Selection rounds are announced and managed by those countries. 
  • The Junior Professional Programme is designed for Master’s graduates with 2–3 years of professional experience. Selections take place every three years with the next one planned for 2024/2025.
  • Researchers can apply to ESA for co-funding for space-related PhD and postdoc research activities. Apply all year round at
  • The Research Fellowship Programme accepts applications from postdocs. Vacancies are published throughout the year, except for the Research Fellowships in Space Science, which open for application in August each year.

Ready to launch your career with ESA? Browse the positions we’re currently recruiting for at Subscribe to our careers news to stay informed of our updates and campaigns and also set up a job alert on our recruiting site so that you never miss an opportunity.

Who we are looking for
ESA offers a number of entry-level programmes targeting students (Master or PhD), recent graduates and young professionals alongside its vacancies for experienced professionals. One of them could be your path to space! In line with our core business as a space science and technology organization, most ESA staff positions are in engineering and scientific disciplines. However, we also recruit for the business support services that are essential in helping us to achieve our goals.

France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, UK

Number of employees

Main areas of research
All engineering and science disciplines related to the space sector are covered at ESA but also more. Check out our main website and our Science page to find out what we are doing. You may be surprised by the domains we cover and find something there for you too

Desired degree disciplines/class
The majority of professional roles at ESA require a Master as a minimum. For specific vacancies, a PhD may be necessary

How to apply
Apply online at

Closing date
Vacancies are regularly published on our recruiting website. Most standard vacancies remain open for three weeks from the date of publication, while vacancies for specific programmes are usually open for four weeks and roster positions remain open for several months

Tel +33 01 53 69 76 54

Company info
ESA Headquarters
8-10 rue Mario Nikis
CS 45741
75738 Paris Cedex 15

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