Intern in the Software Systems Division

Tags: internship English language Environment
  • Added Date: Wednesday, 01 November 2023
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Internship 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.

Location Noordwijk

Our team and mission

This position is based at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) - Noordwijk, Netherlands

The Software Systems division covers the domain of software engineering for embedded software systems (i.e. software on-board a spacecraft) and ground software systems (i.e. software systems to support the design and verification of space systems). The division is concerned with the necessary Software engineering technologies, methods and tools to support the development of such software systems. This covers in particular standards and reference architectures, System-software co-engineering methods, Requirements engineering and modelling, Design methods, automatic code and test generation, languages and compilers, Modelling and Simulation for system engineering and in support of testing and verification.

In addition, the division studies the challenges of new technologies (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Big Data, โ€ฆ) and the possibilities of their applications for space systems.

For further information visit our web site:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:

1) Topic 1: RISC-V in space - Porting and validation of SW building blocks (operating system, hypervisors and mathematical library)

Processors based on the RISC-V architecture are gaining strong interest in the space domain with already ongoing developments for multi-core processors based on RISC-V (e.g. NOEL-V, GR765). Those processors will need to be supported by software ecosystems, i.e. software development environments, simulators as well as off-the-shelf available building blocks like operating systems, hypervisors and mathematical libraries.

In the frame of this activity, you will be contributing to the porting and validation of essential software building blocks for future space missions, using existing and to be developed tools, and the definition of any future activities in this domain.


2) Topic 2: Verification & Validation of multicore based systems and Real-Time Operating Systems

The trend in embedded systems used in the space domain goes to the use of multicore processors. The introduction of this multicore architecture requires the introduction of new verification and validation methods, as well as the use of particular real-time operating systems and hypervisors.

Within this topic, you will contribute to the definition of verification & validation activities using multicore systems, and also to the definition/modification/profiling of the SW architecture used on top of them (e.g. real-time operating systems & hypervisors).


3) Topic 3: Embedded real-time Linux

๐Ÿ“š ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—š๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ฎ ๐—๐—ผ๐—ฏ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—จ๐—ก ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ! ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿค ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ก๐—˜๐—ช ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—จ๐—ก ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—จ๐—ก๐—›๐—–๐—ฅ, ๐—ช๐—™๐—ฃ, ๐—จ๐—ก๐—œ๐—–๐—˜๐—™, ๐—จ๐—ก๐——๐—ฆ๐—ฆ, ๐—จ๐—ก๐—™๐—ฃ๐—”, ๐—œ๐—ข๐—  ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€! ๐ŸŒ

โš ๏ธ ๐‚๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ฐ: ๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐“๐ž๐œ๐ก๐ง๐ข๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐š ๐ฃ๐จ๐› ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐”๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐๐Ž๐–!

Linux has already been successfully used in a number of spacecraft missions. There are several mechanisms to increase its real-time performance and security.

If you choose this task, you will assist in configuration and characterization of a Linux kernel with PREEMPT_RT patch.

Specifically: you will help setting up ECSS-compliant development environment; you will contribute to the configuration of the Linux kernel and the root filesystem; you will install the system on an on-board computer in our Avionics Lab; you will characterize its real-time performance; and you will help preparing a demonstration flight software running on Linux.

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


You must have student status and be enrolled at university for the entire duration of the internship. You should preferably be in your final or second to last year of a university course at masterโ€™s level in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

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.

Additional Requirements:

1) Topic 1:

  • Knowledge and background in real-time embedded software development, real-time operating systems (e.g. RTEMS), Time and Space Partitioning (TSP) and RISC-V instruction set architecture and associated tool chains are an asset.

    2) Topic 2:

    • Knowledge and background in real-time embedded software development, real-time operating systems (e.g. RTEMS, VxWorks, real-time Linux, โ€ฆ), Time and Space Partitioning (TSP) is considered an asset.

      3) Topic 3:

      • Experience with Linux kernel configuration, YOCTO, U-Boot and general embedded software development; and knowledge of at least one of the three architectures SPARC / ARMv7-A / RISC-V are considered an asset.

        Other information

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

        If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email

        Internships can take place remotely, on-site or partially on-site depending on the pandemic situation, and in line with the relevant Establishmentโ€™s policy (e.g. possible Green Pass requirement) applicable at the time of starting the internship.

        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).

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