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Spaceship ECSAT Team Internship Harwell 2024

Internship Opportunity in the Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes.

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

This position is based at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT), Harwell, UK. Due to the location of the ECSAT, only the students enrolled in a UK University or students with a UK citizenship or the right to work in the UK can apply to this internship.

The Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration s the main ESA entity in charge of supporting and coordinating efforts towards the current and the future endeavours of human spaceflight. The exploration activities are part of the strategic plans in securing a central role for Europe with respect to the global initiatives. The European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P) is integrating the ESA activities in this field to ensure a single exploration process.

The “Spaceship ECSAT” initiative is investigating low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technologies for supporting the future cislunar space mission as well as surface activities on the Moon and Mars as part of the Exploration Preparation, Research and Technology (ExPeRT) team. This multidisciplinary, innovation-driven team composed by researchers, graduate and undergraduate students is based at the ESA European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT).

The mission statement of “Spaceship ECSAT” is centered on three main pillars: connect, inspire and advance. The founding idea behind this initiative is toprepare the future of Space exploration. To do so, a pragmatic and research focused approach is adopted, and knowledge acquired is disseminated within ESA, partners and the relevant scientific community. Within Spaceship ECSAT, we have a number of fields where we carry out different projects. These fields are:

  • Demonstrating disruptive technologies such as Virtual/Augmented Reality, collaborative robotics and their potential use cases for exploration
  • Investigating novel concepts in the domain of Space Resources/In-Situ Resource Utilisation, to enable sustainable human exploration
  • Topics related to ‘off world living’, e.g. human factors, design and concept illustration

Additionally, the Spaceship team is involved in supporting the development of our VULCAN facility at ECSAT (previously known as the Sample Analogue Curation Facility). This facility is designed to be a focal point for simulant development (including regolith, rocks etc.) and curation activities in Europe for Space Applications, with a focus on Exploration and Science. It provides expertise to ESA, its member states, and potentially worldwide regarding analogue and simulant materials.

We are continually looking for innovative applicants with skills or interests in these areas to join the Spaceship ECSAT team.

Fields of activity for the internship

Our team is always on the lookout for talented and motivated persons to join our projects and contribute to ESA’s exploration activities. The main areas into which the initiative is currently active are:

  • Robotics and human factors
  • VR/AR technologies for exploration
  • Embedded systems and IoT
  • In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
  • Energy production and storage

About you

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.

Additional requirements

  • Knowledge and background in the topical areas presented for Spaceship ECSAT is required. When applying for this topic, please identify which project area your background is best aligned with.
DEADLINE 30th November 2023