European Space Agency – an inspiring place to work

European Space Agency – an inspiring place to work

As the world of space exploration continues to expand, the European Space Agency, ESA, is a place where the sky is not the limit, but a starting point for discovery and innovation.

– ESA is a melting pot of diverse talents, says Martin Zwick, a Rover Performance System Engineer. Working at ESA, you’ll meet many inspiring people from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines who are passionate about what they do.

His journey began ten years ago when he moved from Munich in Germany to ESA’s centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to undergo a traineeship at the agency. What started as a one-year contract transformed into a career. Similarly to Martin’s story, Sanna Sandberg, a Junior Professional from Sweden, reminisces about her integration into the ESA community:

– It’s a very international environment with a big community of young professionals moving to the Netherlands or one of the agency’s other centres every year to work or intern at ESA. This creates a dynamic atmosphere that fosters collaboration and innovation, transcending geographical boundaries, and we have also developed a strong community identity. As well as developing our own satellite, YPSat, we are even being asked to contribute our perspective to the strategic evolution of ESA.

Beyond its scientific endeavours, ESA offers a vibrant social community. Martin Zwick and Sanna Sandberg are both active in social clubs and activities, which not only promote a sense of camaraderie among employees but also serve as a platform for developing and fostering relationships outside the confines of work.

– I play volleyball every Monday and am part of a group of people who go running now and then, says Sanna Sandberg, highlighting the bonding these activities bring among the colleagues.

– There are at least 30 clubs – everything from swimming and dancing to tennis and yoga. You name it, and we will probably have it, Martin Zwick fills in.

Maintaining equilibrium in an industry that often demands unwavering commitment can be challenging. Martin Zwick sheds light on ESA’s commitment to ensuring a healthy work-life balance, where flexible working hours and ample vacation time empower employees to strike the harmony between professional growth and personal well-being.

– Working times are very flexible, and we can also work from home, if need be, Martin points out, emphasizing the value ESA places on providing its employees with the space to rejuvenate and recharge:

– ESA makes sure that you take at least two weeks of vacation in a row per year, which is nice because then you will get a proper break from work.


Dispelling the notion of the space industry as an exclusive domain, Martin Zwick says that ESA has an inclusive approach, where pathways into the industry are accessible and diverse. 

– Studying space engineering isn’t a prerequisite – I didn’t, and I’ve been working here for a decade. To start working at ESA, there are various entry-level programmes for recent graduates, interns and post-docs. In fact, the 2024 internship opportunities are on line right now!

Sanna Sandberg did not study a specific degree in space science either but her background in robotics and airborne radar systems brought her a machine learning position in AI at ESA.


– To work in the space industry was not the plan. But I have always been interested in space, and it was the coolest thing I could ever dream of working with, she shares. And now I also get to work with top experts from all over the world.


For those interested in working at ESA, Sanna suggests keeping an eye on the vacancies listed on ESA’s website.

– We are looking for new colleagues from many different backgrounds and experiences. If you don’t see anything interesting right now, you can always set up an alert.

Artikeln publicerad den 21 november, 2023 av borgowilli