Head of the Mission Operations Department, Darmstadt, Germany 172 views

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY Vacancy in the Directorate of Operations.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Post Head of the Mission Operations Department

This post is classified A6 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

Location ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany


Head of the Mission Operations Department, Directorate of Operations.


Under the direct authority of the Director of Operations and as a member of the Directorate’s Management Team, you will be jointly responsible for implementing the Directorate’s overall strategy and related change process. Specific responsibility include preparing and conducting flight operations for all ESA and external customer missions, defining the Department’s strategy, managing the resources delegated to it, fostering innovation and evolution of competences and services related to mission operations, including both spacecraft and related ground segment operations. You will be responsible for carrying out Department activities which span:

  • Earth observation missions
  • astronomy and fundamental physics missions
  • solar system and exploration missions
  • special applications missions
  • ground facilities operations
  • advanced concepts

Technical competencies

Experience in managing operation activities and Space projects

Experience in leading, motivating and developing teams

Systems engineering

Leadership competencies

Fostering cooperation & effective team-working

Leading change

Strategic vision & business context

Developing & motivating people

Behavioural competencies

Customer Focus

Relationship Management

Problem Solving

Results Orientation



Planning & Organisation


Applicants for this post should have a Master’s degree in engineering or an equivalent qualification.

Additional requirements

Experience in the management of complex systems for space missions would be an asset. As a general requirement for any position at managerial level within ESA, candidates 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 Office and relate team objectives to the overall and 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, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context
  • the ability to reach solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of high standard and integrity as well as to support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process. Previous experience of managing managers and multiple teams, as well as experience outside of the candidate’s home country and in diverse functional areas relevant to the activitties of ESA is an asset.

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

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.

Please note that applicants may be required to undergo aptitude testing, including recognised psychometric testing as well as problem solving and decision-making exercises.

The closing date for applications is 19 January 2020. If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email [email protected]

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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, Canada and Slovenia.

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.

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