Recruiting new colleagues in Brussels - building the Iris2 team to develop secure communications for the EU (2024)

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24/04/20241117 views1 likes

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has been a trusted partner of the satellite communications (satcom) industry for many years, thanks to its development of innovative technologies and systems and for its role in increasing industry’s competitiveness. ESA’s longstanding collaboration with European Union (EU) Member States and the European Commission is due in part to its development of space systems with strong security requirements.

ESA is now working on Iris2 (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite), a Commission initiative to create a highly secure, satellite-enabled connectivity system. Iris2 is a multi-orbit constellation programme that will deliver enhanced connectivity capacities to EU governments and businesses to render European information ubiquitous and secure. Iris2 will be the third pillar of the EU Space Programme, after Galileo and Copernicus.

In September 2023, the Commission and ESA signed an agreement entrusting tasks to ESA for the implementation of the Union Secure Connectivity Programme. These tasks include the role of ESA as the Qualification and Validation Authority of the governmental infrastructure, management of the contracts for the execution of the activities related to development and validation and harmonisation of the activities conducted under the ESA programme. Under a 12-year agreement, ESA will work with space companies in the EU to develop and validate in orbit the Iris2 constellation on behalf of the Commission.

As we are currently looking for new colleagues to join the Iris2EC-ESA integrated project team in Brussels, we spoke with Michael Witting, Acting Head of Iris2 at ESA, to learn more about this project.

Michael, can you tell us more about your role in Iris2?
I am the Acting Head of the Secure Connectivity Programme Department in the Directorate of Connectivity and Secure Communications. Working in close coordination with the Commission, we are implementing Iris2, to which ESA contributes through its Secure Connectivity Programme.We are currently building up the overall programme team, part of which will be a nine-strong group of ESA staff to be co-located with the Commission's team in Brussels.

What are the major technological innovations brought by this new connectivity systems?
The Iris2 system will first and foremost provide space-based secure connectivity services to governmental and government-authorised users from the EU, based on multiple satellite constellations and a dedicated ground segment. On top of this, it will enable the private entity implementing the programme to offer novel commercial services to commercial users as well as private citizens well beyond the domain of communication. This could include enhancing mobile connectivity for commercial use, such as maritime applications, or providing connectivity for emergency and rescue teams in the field.

What will Iris2 accomplish for ESA and for European citizens?
Iris2 will ensure Europe’s independence from commercial services offered by other global players and guarantee its sovereignty in highly secure space-based communication. It will stimulate the commercial market for other satellite-based services, for example by bridging the digital divide in Europe with the provision of internet connectivity to currently unconnected areas. It will also help foster the expansion of high-end technical competence and knowhow in Europe in the areas of secure communications and other services provided through satellite constellations.

We are now looking for new team members to join us and support the Iris2 project. Can you share with us more details about the team and work environment?
The Commission and ESA have joined forces for a coordinated implementation of this strategic and very ambitious European programme that will place European industry at the forefront of the development of this multi-orbit system, both in space and on the ground.

The overall programme and concession contract will be managed by the Commission. A large consortium will deliver and then operate the required infrastructure. ESA will supervise the development and validation of this infrastructure, with the essential role of acting as the Validation and Qualification Authority, confirming that the system designed and deployed by the consortium meets the technical requirements.

To be based in Brussels, the Commission's Integrated Programme Team (IPT) will include ESA staff occupying a set of critical functions (see below). The IPT will liaise continuously with the ESA project team based at ESTEC.

Join the Iris2 Integrated Programme Team!

There are nine positions within the Iris2 IPT currently open. Launch your ESA career, apply now!

Cybersecurity Engineer
In this role, you will be responsible for all system security aspects ensuring proper engineering implementation of the general security requirements of the governmental infrastructure, including definition and planning of relevant R&D activities. Apply here.

IPT Deployment Manager
As IPT Deployment Manager, you will be responsible for the timely deployment of the specified governmental infrastructure, you will conduct IPT-level activities related to the definition, development, validation and deployment of the Iris2 governmental infrastructure and the preparation of the operational/exploitation phase, and their interfaces with the commercial infrastructure and stand-alone systems providing LightGov Services. You will manage a team of five, which will include four of the positions described below. Apply here.

Development and Validation Officer
The Development and Validation Officer will have overall responsibility for the timely validation of the Iris2 governmental infrastructure and of all IPT activities related to the development and validation of the IRIS2 governmental infrastructure. Apply here.

Production and Satellites Officer
In this role, you will have overall responsibility for the timely deployment and entry into operations of the specified space segment. You will be responsible for all IPT activities related to this domain, including the build-up of EU manufacturing capabilities in this area, both at satellite level (Factory Assembly Line) and at supply chain level, and all IPT activities related to the launch services. Apply here.

System and Ground Segment Officer
As System and Ground Segment Officer, you will have overall responsibility for the definition, development and deployment of the system and deployment of its ground segment. You will also be responsible for all IPT activities related to the system definition and maintenance of the system configuration, up to the deployment of the ground segment and the preparation of the operational/exploitation phase. Apply here.

System – Critical External Interfaces Officer
In this role, you will have responsibility for the definition and maintenance of the critical external interfaces and contribute to the coordination of the deployment of these elements with the Iris2 system, and of their operational/exploitation phase. Apply here.

Concession Contract Officer
The Concession Contract Officer will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the contractual aspects of the concession contract in support of the IPT. Apply here.

Security Accreditation Support Officer
Reporting to both the Security Manager of the Integrated Programme Team and to the Head of ESA Security Office (ESA Security Authority), you will be responsible for supporting the preparation of the security accreditation dossier to be presented to the EU Security Accreditation Board (SAB). Apply here.

User terminals - Spectrum and Signals Officer
In this role, you will be responsible for the timely delivery of user terminals required to provide governmental service. You will also be responsible for all aspects related to access to Spectrum for the Iris2 governmental infrastructure and for signal definition and the implementation of the 5G standardisation roadmap. You will conduct and oversee activities for the build-up of the EU industrial capability in this domain. Apply here.

Wherever you are on your career path, discover the impact you could make in one of our multi-cultural teams keeping Europe at the forefront of space research and operations. From entry-level programmes to ESA staff positions, find out about ways to join us!

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Recruiting new colleagues in Brussels - building the Iris2 team to develop secure communications for the EU (2024)

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