Head of the Propulsion, Aerothermodynamics & Flight Vehicles Engineering Division

Noordwijk, The Netherlands, ESA [8933]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Telecommunications Engineering
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for a Head of the Propulsion, Aerothermodynamics & Flight Vehicles Engineering Division.


• Ensuring a positive and motivating working environment for the Division;
• Establishing and maintaining good working relationships and technical networks with users, project groups and other organisational bodies both inside and outside the Agency;
• Contributing to the continuous improvement of working procedures and to the reflection on the evolution of the Division’s role and activities;
• Managing the workforce of the Division with accountability for all resources and activities delegated to the Division;
• Managing the resources of the Division;
• Supporting the activities of the relevant Competence Domains;
• Supporting the Section Heads in anticipating and resolving sensitive or difficult situations, liaising with HR as required.

The Head of Division is responsible for the technical and strategic management of the Division and all of its activities, covering:

• Technical support to projects and definition/execution of technology programs in the areas of: chemical propulsion (systems utilizing liquid, solid, hybrid and gaseous propellants for spacecraft and launch vehicles);
• Electric propulsion (electrostatic, electromagnetic, and electrothermal systems);
• Advanced new propulsion systems (e.g. air breathing engines for advanced launch vehicles, and potential future applications of nuclear propulsion to space missions);
• External and internal aerothermodynamics of relevance to propulsion systems;
• Aerothermodynamics aspects of ascent, cruise and re-entry of space vehicles through the Earth’s or planetary atmospheres;
• Architecture and technology assessment of new space transportation vehicles for sub-orbital, orbital and exploration application, including upper stages, (re-)entry, expendable and re-usable vehicles in the areas covered by the Division, and coordination of the support for the other areas;
• Exploitation of flight data from flight experiments, specially involving propulsion, aerothermodynamics and re-entry;
• Development of components for propulsion systems (valves, regulators, tanks, GSE, etc.);
• Definition, maintenance and operation of the necessary computing and internal/external laboratory facilities in support of above activities;
• Establishing and implementing standards within the areas of competence of the Division.

The Head of Division is supported in these activities by Heads of Section who each manage a team of technical experts.


Technical competencies

• General background and specific experience in the technical domains covered by the position;
• Resource management experience;
• Knowledge of relevant strategic and technological trends and developments, both inside and outside the space domain, and their potential impact on the activities of the Division/Section;
• Knowledge of ESA technology programmes and the organisation of R&D activities;
• Knowledge of the technical and programmatic requirements of ESA programmes/projects;
• Developing, implementing and maintaining expertise and standards in the technical domains covered by the Division/Section;
• Participation in ESA reviews and panel leadership.


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

Additional requirements

• Extensive experience in one or more of the technical domains covered by the Division;
• Proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team of experts in a project or R&D environment;
• Ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals and teams within the Division and relate team objectives to the overall and evolving organisational goals and context;
• 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;
• Ability to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context;
• 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 is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside the candidate’s home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to the activities of ESA.

For a complete job description and to apply, click on “apply”.

The closing date for applications is 13 October 2020.


If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email contact.human.resources@esa.int.

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 and Canada, Latvia and Slovenia.

We offer

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an equal opportunities employer that offers competitive salaries exempt from national income tax and excellent employment conditions, such as allowances for expatriates and relocation support.
For more information: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA

About us

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
Learn more: http://www.esa.int/

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