Earth Observation preparatory system engineer


This position is supporting our client ESA at their ESTEC location in Noordwijk in the Netherlands. In this large European agency, you will find an excellent and modern working environment with challenging tasks and responsibilities with the opportunity to gain exposure to various projects and missions at the heart of European space research and development.

If you are successful in this position you are guaranteed a very competitive salary, a permanent Dutch contract, Industry leading base salary, full healthcare, pension contribution, 30 days’ vacation, annual training budget, access to the ESTEC social club membership and a relocation package if required.

Location: Noordwijk/The Netherlands
Deadline to apply: 31 October 2021
How to apply:
Reference: DER/PLC/21/56


We are looking for a System Engineer to work on preparatory studies for new Earth Science and Earth Application missions, implemented with both external and internal activities. This position of preparing all ESA EO missions until start of implementation, has 3 main areas of responsibility:

  1. Earth Observation Preparatory Activities, EOPA:
  • establish scientific objectives, including scientific studies.
  • derivation of mission and system requirements
  • instrument, satellite system and mission feasibility or concept studies
  • initiation, harmonised with other programmes, of critical technology developments .
  • identification of cooperation possibilities and related preparatory studies
  • architecture and concept studies for new missions and end-to-end systems
  • supporting scientific and campaign activities .

2. Earth Watch Definition, EWD:

  • all aspects of preparation of Earth Watch type programmes
  • studies involving Partners (institutions, Member States, and industry), prepared to contribute to the mission EW type missions, rely upon partners (EC, EUMETSAT, industry), established user communities or their representatives for their definition

3. Instrument Pre-Development, IPD:

  • design and manufacturing of early breadboard or downscaled version, representative of technologies, assembly and verification of full instrument.

This position also includes the coordination of EO technology preparation activities performed within the whole of ESA throughout the definition and execution of specific technology research and development, supporting the identification of the technology requirements for future Earth observations missions and more specifically to missions under preparation through, e.g. participation to reviews, assessment of industrial results, evaluation of proposals in reply to calls;

Specific tasks include:

  • Development of future mission including implementation on performance simulators and verification and validation of the feasibility of the mission up to level2.
  • Supporting the division in the area of End-to-End Simulation and System Engineering Tools for the preparation of future Earth Observation missions. Definition and development of the End-to-End Mission Performance Simulators. Install and use those E2E simulators on the EOP-SF IT infrastructure for performance evaluation and system trade-offs. Ensure the consistent evolution and maintenance of the E2E simulators and proper configuration and storage of the relevant input/output data sets.
  • Supporting the development of generic building blocks and modules, and aim at maximum synergy and reuse of those building blocks and modules from one E2E simulator to the next making use of ESA OpenSF infrastructure.
  • Participate to the development of System Engineering Tools for preliminary analysis and sizing of future EO missions
  • Initiating and supporting work in the area of modeling of system or sub-system aspects.
  • Preparing requirements, reviewing, evaluating and checking different architectures, designs and proposals, but also identifying deficiencies and problem areas and giving some assistance in their resolution.
  • Getting a broad view on commercially available recurrent Earth Observation platforms, checking performance and addressing interfaces with possible payloads.
  • Initiating requirement analysis and trade-off, performance and budget analysis with their apportionment and requirement traceability.
  • Exposing designs to Earth Observation scientific community having frequent iteration with scientific group through bimonthly “Mission Advisory Group”meeting, simulation support activities on Level 2 processor, ESA scientific studies reviews, etc…


You will have the following qualifications and relevant experience:

  • Education in Engineering or equivalent with at least 4 years of relevant experience in the space industry,
  • Fluency in English is mandatory; knowledge of another European language is an advantage.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and customer focus;
  • Ability to work autonomously, effectively and cooperatively in a diverse and international team environment.
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