German Trainee Programme

Mechanisms Engineer (GTP-2020-TEC-MSM)

Starting date

1 February 2020

Duration of contract

up to 24 months

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

Have you (almost) completed your degree studies? Are you inspired by space exploration and keen to pursue a career in this exciting field? If so, perhaps you should take a closer look at the German Trainee Programme. Organised by DLR, it offers you the chance to work shoulder to shoulder with experts from the 22 member states of ESA – keeping your finger on the pulse of Europe‘s space programmes. Over a period up to 24 months, you will actively contribute to the latest research and/or technology projects. This is complemented by a generous scholarship. What better way to launch your career in international space business? The next GTP commences on 1st February 2020.

This is your opportunity to join the team at ESTEC – Noordwijk, Netherlands
Mechanisms Engineer (GTP-2020-TEC-MSM)

The Structures, Mechanisms and Materials Division (TEC-MS) is the centre of competence of the Agency in all areas related to spacecraft and launcher structures, mechanisms and materials, encompassing spacecraft and launcher lightweight structures, stable structures, advanced mechanical materials applications, structural dynamics, damage tolerance, deployable structures/booms, active structures, hold-down and release devices, electrical motors for space mechanisms, launcher and re-entry vehicle, hot- and cold structures, landing attenuation systems, seals, valves, parachute systems, separation systems, solar array drive mechanisms, reaction wheels, pointing mechanisms, pyrotechnics, bearings and tribology aspects. It provides support to projects, preparatory programs and technology programs.

Within this frame, the Mechanism Section (TEC-MSM) is the focal point for matters relating to the design, engineering and verification of space mechanisms.

Spacecraft Mechanisms are critical to the performance of many space missions. They are used to deploy large structures (such as booms, antennas, solar wings, solar sails, instruments, landing gear etc.), point antennae or thrusters, steer solar arrays, drive reaction wheels and perform many more functions.
ESA´s Mechanism Section drives the development of new Spacecraft Mechanisms in order to meet the demands of future ESA missions and new emerging satellite markets. The team therefore performs tasks such as:

  • mechanisms technology research and development (addressing areas like tribology/lubrication engineering, mechanical components as for instance ball bearings & gears, electric motors, motion sensors, pyrotechnics, new/alternative actuation principles e.g. by using active/smart materials, …)
  • follow-up of mechanisms development and testing for specific ESA spacecraft missions
  • mechanisms performance evaluation and analysis (including hardware tests where appropriate in newly equipped hands-on facility (comprising micro-disturbance and modal testing facilities as well as dedicated actuator test benches)
  • mechanisms operation/performance modelling and simulation (using state-of-the art modelling and simulation tools (e.g. multi-body, finite element, electro-magnetic or multi-physics simulations, drive and control laws)
  • feasibility studies for future missions relying on mechanism performance


Based on your qualifications, interests and needs, you will participate in the conceptual design, analysis and development of mechanisms for use in space projects. In assistance to ESA engineers working in this domain, you will be given specific tasks for which we foresee a 70% / 30% split between laboratory activities and generic mechanisms Engineering tasks):

  • laboratory

The Mechanisms section operates a number of laboratory equipment used to characterise the mechanical noise spectrum emitted by spacecraft mechanisms during operation (such as microvibration test benches, torque sensors, laser vibrometers, autocollimators, accelerometers etc.).

You are expected to get familiar with the available equipment, further develop and optimize procedures and eventually run mission specific tests when requested by project directorates.
Furthermore, you will be directly responsible for the development and implementation of new test facilities and / or dedicated experiments, which aim at improving the performance of spacecraft mechanisms for fine pointing applications and embedded systems, taking advantage of the latest advancements in sensor and actuator technology, drive electronics as well as control hardware and software. A specific area of research you will be involved in is the reduction of mechanical noise through precise control of stepper and DC electric motors.

  • generic mechanisms tasks
  • critical review of design / analysis / optimisation / test activities and simulation / characterisation / validation (up to the correlation of analysis with test results) in the domain of space mechanisms, using software packages like MATLAB/Simulink® or other, more specialised software tools (FLUX, ANSYS Maxwell, COMSOL, ADAMS, D-Cap etc.), with particular emphasis on:
    • frequency domain performance representation
    • multi-Body system simulation
    • electromagnetic system simulation
    • ball bearing loading/strength & stiffness analysis
    • multiphysics modelling and simulation
  • feasibility assessment of new mechanisms design concepts
  • review and analysis of design solutions for mechanisms, and participation in the ESA project review process
  • participation in CDF (Concurrent Design Facility) studies
  • participation in the definition and implementation of  R&D activities related to space mechanisms

Your qualifications:

  • Applicants should have just completed, or be in their final year of a University course at Masters Level (or equivalent) in Mechanical or Mechatronics engineering, and have therefore a good understanding of Tribology, Ball bearing, Motor and motion sensor Technologies.
  • a good grasp of system aspects and a good understanding of other engineering domains are desirable, e.g., electronics, structures, materials, control systems, etc. Proficiency in the use of engineering software tools is an asset (e.g. MatLab, LabView, dSpace,etc…)
  • Applicants should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multi-cultural environment, both independently and as part of a Team.
  • German citizenship is absolutely necessary
  • Candidates must be fluent in English, the official languages of the Agency.

Your start:

We look forward to your e-mail application in English, citing GTP-2020-TEC-MSM to

Please visit the German Trainee Programme page for details of our application procedures. Please send your application until September 6, 2019. Your application should consist of a motivation letter and your CV only (CV exclusively in Europass format). Unfortunately we cannot consider further documents. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential treatment. If you have any initial questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Larissa Seidlez:

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Technical contact

Larissa Seidlez

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Vacancy GTP-2020-TEC-MSM