Frequently asked questions
Before posting your question, please go through the following FAQs to see if your question has already been answered.
How do I apply for a post at ESA?
ESA vacancies are posted on this website under Vacancies so check regularly to see new posts. If you feel you meet the qualifications for a specific vacancy please complete the application form accessible from the apply online link inside the vacancy notice pdf file so that your application will automatically have the correct vacancy reference number.
As regards applications for the Director positions currently open, the Agency will accept applications in the form of a cover letter and CV only if they are properly addressed to the ESA Head of the Human Resources Department, at the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
Will you confirm receipt of my application?
Once you submit your online application form you will be sent an automated email acknowledging that we have received your application. After this you will ONLY be contacted if you are selected for an interview.
What happens to my online application?
Applications are stored in a database; after the closing date they are evaluated and a shortlist compiled of suitable candidates. Applicants selected for the shortlist will then be invited to attend an interview.
Where are ESA staff located?
The vast majority of staff are located at ESA's six main Establishments in Paris in France; Noordwijk in the Netherlands; Frascati in Italy; Darmstadt in Germany; Villanueva de la Cañada (Madrid) in Spain; and Harwell in the UK.
ESA also has a number of ground stations, offices and outposts worldwide. These include France (Toulouse, Les Mureaux, Evry and Cannes), Germany (Cologne and Oberpfaffenhofen), Spain (Cebreros, Maspalomas, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona), Belgium (Brussels and Redu), the United States (Washington, Houston, Greenbelt, Baltimore and Pasadena), Switzerland (Geneva), Sweden (Kiruna), Russia (Moscow), and Europe's launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. In many of these locations, however, ESA has only a very limited presence.
What are the working languages of the Agency?
The two official languages are English and French. Knowledge of one of these two languages is compulsory and a working knowledge of the other is highly desirable. In practice, however, numerous languages are spoken and proficiency in one or more languages of ESA Member States is an asset.
Where can I find vacancies for a specific ESA Establishment?
The list of current vacancies indicates where each post is located. If you cannot find a vacancy notice for the desired establishment it means there are no current vacancies there.
What is the difference between a permanent post and an advance recruitment post?
A permanent contract is initially for four years with a possibility of an extension. Contracts for advance recruits are for two years and are not renewable. However, upon termination of an advance recruit contract an ESA staff contract may be given.
The vacancy I am interested in states that the post is in the A2-A4 grade band. How does this translate into pay?
An indication of the salaries for the various grades within the Agency can be found under Salary and grades.
What is your policy on gender equality?
ESA has a comprehensive gender equality policy and encourages applications from qualified women, particularly in scientific, engineering and management areas. More information is given in the gender equality section of Recruitment policy.
I am a high school/secondary school student and am looking for a summer job. What possibilities are there at ESA?
Unfortunately, ESA does not offer employment for students until they reach university level.
I am a high school/secondary school student and would like to be an astronaut. How should I proceed and what qualifications do I need
Information on how to become an astronaut can be found under All about astronauts.
I’ve recently graduated from university. Can I apply for a post at ESA?
Yes, ESA has a Young Graduate Trainee Programme for recently qualified graduates with a four-year degree. This one-year training opportunity is designed to give you your first job experience and to help prepare you for future employment in the space sector. More information can be found under the Young Graduate Trainee Programme.
What is the difference between the National Trainee Programmes and the Young Graduate Trainee (YGT) Programme?
The main difference is that the National Trainee Programmes are offered by, and paid for by the German, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek governments respectively, with ESA playing the role of host. The YGT programme is open to nationals of all of ESA Member States and the trainees are paid by ESA.
I am a university student. Can I carry out a placement at ESA as part of my degree course?
Yes, ESA offers a limited number of unpaid placements, normally for periods of up to six months, in both technical and non-technical areas of the Agency. In principle, priority is given to students in their last year of studies. For more details and how to apply look at Student placements.
Which educational studies are most suitable for work at ESA?
ESA is an organisation devoted to science and technology in the space domain. Most technical jobs require a university degree in an engineering and/or scientific discipline, often at Masters level. It is also common for many applicants to have completed their postdoctoral studies. Some posts that do not require a university education are available at B grades. The typical backgrounds of a selection of ESA employees can be seen under Job videos.
Does ESA run any activities on space for students?
ESA organises a number of workshops, courses and competitions for students of all ages. If you would like more details, take a look under high schools or higher education on our Education site, depending on your age.
I need to speak to someone in ESA's Human Resources Department about jobs and/or training opportunities. The questions I have are not answered in this FAQ. What should I do?
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try our best to get you an answer.
Please note that due to the high level of interest in working at ESA and in the ESA YGT Programme in particular, we can unfortunately not respond individually to all queries. If it's a question we've seen before, we will consider adding it to our list of FAQs.