Head of the Solar System and Exploration Missions Division

8 Min Read

ESA - European Space Agency

Head of the Solar System and Exploration Missions Division

Job Requisition ID: 

Date Posted: 

3 May 2024
Closing Date: 

24 May 2024 23:59 CET/CEST

Internal & External
Type of Contract


Directorate of Operations

Darmstadt, DE

Grade Band

A5 – A5


ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany


Under the direct authority of the Head of the Mission Operations Department, as Head of the Solar System and Exploration Missions Division, you will be responsible for the implementation of the ground segment and mission operations for the solar and planetary projects and missions.


In this function, you will work closely and directly with the project and mission managers and will ensure implementation of services in accordance with the agreed budget and schedule.

In addition, you will define and maintain interfaces for the scientific mission operations with the relevant divisions of the Science Operations Department. 

You will represent the project and mission managers for all project-related management issues at ESOC and will be responsible for all formal interface aspects between the ESOC ground segment implementation activities and project management, including decisions relating to all interface matters concerning ESOC. 

In carrying out your duties, you will be assisted by dedicated Spacecraft Operations Managers and Flight Control Teams responsible for:

  • defining ground segment implementation requirements based on overall mission and project requirements;
  • establishing a ground segment system and mission operations concept and architecture of the support facilities;
  • managing the programmatic aspects of the ground segment system including all cost and schedule related matters;
  • coordinating the implementation, integration and validation of the ground segment system;
  • defining, planning and executing all in-flight operations from launch through in-flight commissioning to routine mission operations until the end of the mission.


You will also be responsible for managing and coordinating, on behalf of the Head of Department, the ESA-NASA Cross-Support Agreement activities in close coordination with the Head of the Ground Facilities Operations Division.


In addition, you will be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.

Technical competencies

Very good knowledge of operations and relevant working and costing methods
Experience in the management of implementing mission operations, including direct experience in the preparation and execution of critical and routine mission operations
Knowledge of the internal operations of ESA, and in particular ESOC working and costing methods
Knowledge and experience of ground segment and simulators requirement definition
Knowledge of the interfaces with the various internal and international partners, such as the ESA Directorate of Science, the ESA Directorate of Human & Robotic Exploration Programmes, NASA/JPL, JAXA, ISRO, CNES and DLR

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


A master’s degree in engineering or physics is required for this post.

Additional requirements

A demonstrated ability to synthesise and balance technical, quality and programmatic information is required as well as excellent cognitive and analytical skills.


As a general requirement for any position at managerial level within ESA, you are expected to have:

  • proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team;
  • the ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals and teams within the Division and to relate team objectives to the overall, evolving organisational goals and context;
  • the ability to drive performance and foster cooperation within and across teams throughout the organisation;
  • demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills, both oral and written;
  • a proven track record of representing the Agency’s interests to external interfaces;
  • excellent cognitive, analytical, delegation, planning and organisational skills;
  • the ability to anticipate problems, resolve complex issues and relate situations to their context;
  • the ability to reach solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of a high standard and with integrity as well as to support others, such as team members, upper management and other stakeholders) in this process;
  • 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.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness 
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.


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 via email at [email protected].

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

During the recruitment process, the Agency may request applicants to undergo selection tests. Additionally, successful candidates will need to undergo basic screening before appointment, which will be conducted by an external background screening service, in compliance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures.


Note that ESA is in the process of transitioning to a Matrix setup, which could lead to organisational changes affecting this position.


The information published on ESA’s careers website regarding working conditions is correct at the time of publication. It is not intended to be exhaustive and may not address all questions you would have. 


Nationality and Languages 
Please note that applications can only be 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. 


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 internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States*. 

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.  
*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

***Show some love and please mention newsaboutturkey.com* in your application***
***We also feel loved when you share it***

Share This Article