Young Graduate Trainee in the Antenna Analysis and Design

Job Requisition ID:  18540
Closing Date:  19 April 2024 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Young Graduate Trainee
Date Posted:  5 April 2024


Young Graduate Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality


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.


This post is classified F1 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.



ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands 


Our team and mission

The selected candidate will work in a team that covers space antenna systems, space vehicle TT&C antennas, user segment terminal antennas, and submillimetre wave instruments and associated technologies. More specifically, the team deals with:


  • the analysis and characterisation of antenna systems as well as interference effects among antennas, with the spacecraft structure or with other platforms (such as aircraft, trains or vehicles);
  • the design, analysis and engineering of all antenna sub-systems, including standalone radiators, arrays, reflector and lens optics and their associated focal plane;
  • submillimetre instrument architecture, engineering and testing activities as well as antenna, front-end technology (e.g. quasi-optic multi-frequency, heterodyne receivers) and component (e.g. mixers, multipliers) developments;
  • coordination on all aspects of antenna and submillimetre wave devices;
  • RF modelling and design tool developments for all kinds of standalone antennas and antenna interactions (e.g. parasitic effect on the radiation performance, coupling among antenna ports) for spacecraft or other platforms (such as aircraft, trains and vehicles);
  • the testing of the radiative performance of antennas, payloads and instruments, both in standalone mode and in relevant environments;
  • the characterisation of the RF properties of materials.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

Conical scanning is required for different Earth Observation missions based on radar and radiometric instruments. Typically, this specific beam scanning is achieved by spinning the entire antenna system around the nadir axis. Although effective, this solution presents several problems. Specifically, vibrations can cause de-pointing which might impact the instrument performance. Moreover, mass is an issue since the rotation of the full antenna system requires counterweights of similar mass.


An annular focusing quasi-optical system can be used to simplify the mechanical beam steering solution. In fact, this particular configuration presents an annular focus region which matches the conical scanning requirement. Annular focusing reflectors have been shown to provide good performance in one scanning plane. However, an offset configuration will limit the performance in the rest of the field of view.


The Antenna Analysis and Design team has been working on the concept of annular focusing planar lens solutions, which are symmetric and will then achieve similar performance over all the scanning planes. Theoretical studies and trade-off analysis of such lenses were carried out and validated using internally developed tools and commercial software. Further, a similar configuration has been preliminary studied in a recent work from NASA JPL.


As a Young Graduate Trainee, you will focus on the design, prototyping and testing of annular focusing planar lens solutions. In particular, your research activities will be to:


  • Revise the documents and tools developed or under development in the section;
  • Design a flat lens considering requirements for earth observation conical scanning missions;
  • Define the feeding architecture. Several options have to be studied: single feed rotating over a circle to obtain conical scanning, multi feed per beam with proper phase distribution, phased array with reduced size as compared to the lens with dynamically reconfigurable phase to scan the beam over the required annular range;
  • Study of the possibility of multi-feed solutions to scan over rings with different radius;
  • Detailed design of a demonstrator with reduced dimensions as compared to the requirements for realistic applications;
  • Manufacturing and test of the flat lens and feed demonstrator;
  • Write a report including all the work performed, including theory, modelling, design, manufacturing and tests.

Technical competencies

Knowledge of relevant technical domains
Relevant experience gained during internships/project work
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation

Operational Efficiency

Fostering Cooperation

Relationship Management

Continuous Improvement

Forward Thinking


You should have just completed or be in the final year of your master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Additional requirements

You should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multicultural environment, both independently and as part of a team.


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.


During the interview motivation and overall professional perspective/career goals will also be explored.

Other information

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


For further information on the Young Graduate Programme please visit: Young Graduate Programme and FAQ Young Graduate Programme


At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us email


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, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as  Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to candidates from under-represented Member States*. 


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 conducted by an external background screening service. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.