Mission End-to-End Performance Principal Engineer

Updated: 2 months ago

Vacancy in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

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 A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale .

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  


Mission End-to-End Performance Principal Engineer in the System Support Division, Earth Observation Projects Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

If selected for this position, you will be responsible for the end-to-end system performance definition, monitoring, verification and validation of one or more Earth Observation missions. Your responsibilities will include the development of end-to-end performance software models and budgets for optical missions and proactive monitoring of instrument and ground processing design compliance with the performances allocation in close cooperation with the Instrument, Satellite and Ground Segment Team. 

You will represent ESA for decisions regarding the end-to-end performance aspects of the various mission elements and will be responsible, by delegation or as Technical Officer, for the End to End Performance Simulator simulator and ground prototype processor developments.


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • maintenance of mission- and system-level requirements, monitoring and critically analysing the requirement allocation, flow-down to the relevant contributors, the associated margins and their evolution and verification in the following areas for Earth Observation missions:
    • observation requirements and mission data product requirements;
    • End-to-End Simulator (E2ES) software products, including Ground Processor Prototype (GPP) for Level-1 and Level-2;
    • on-ground and in-flight characterisation and calibration of the instrument.
  • maintaining mission-level performance and error budgets and analysing their compliance with the end-to-end mission performance requirements, proposing corrective actions in the event of deviations;
  • coordinating, following up and supporting the E2ES development and procurement: 
    • defining and maintaining the specifications and reviewing the design and interfaces, in particular for Level 1 and Level 2 products;
    • monitoring of developments by industry, including scientific institutes;
    • monitoring the acceptance and integration of software components furnished through ESA as CFI or IMA;
    • ensuring that proper verification/validation and acceptance methods are proposed and implemented for the various software components, for algorithmic as well as software aspects;
    • defining the test data scenarios to be used for software acceptance;
    • installing, maintaining and operating, under strict configuration control, the E2ES on an ESA computing infrastructure;
    • administering the internal ESA software problems list and ensuring correct iteration with the algorithm developers and software implementors;
    • providing the first line of support to E2ES users by investigating and providing quick fixes to the E2ES or associated data, when possible;
    • ensuring the suitability of the E2ES software components for reuse in or in support of the corresponding operational Ground Segment.
  • supporting Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) development concerning the Ground operational processor aspects and cross-verification activities of the PDGS operational ground processor against the GPP, including test data production and verification;
  • developing and maintaining additional mission performance mathematical models and tools to support the assessment of the relevant industrial development activities;
  • in coordination with the Instrument Development Team, monitoring and reviewing the definition and implementation of the instrument characterisation, calibration and validation plans and the specification, procurement and verification/validation of the relevant equipment and activities;
  • supporting the preparation, execution and analysis of the relevant in-flight calibration and validation operations during the commissioning phase;
  • supporting the running of the relevant Mission Advisory Groups (MAG) in respect of mission and instrument performance aspects, including end-to-end mission performance verification and compliance status;
  • interacting with the mission user community and the scientific community concerning product definition and mission and instrument performance aspects;
  • supporting the System, Engineering and Instrument teams as well as the mission scientists, in all aspects related to mission performance as necessary for the effective execution of the Earth Observation project.

Technical competencies

Experience in performance requirements definition and verification of remote sensing space missions

Experience in performance budgets definition and consequent performance verification tracking

Experience in the development and validation of Level-1 and Level-2 Ground Processors Prototypes

Knowledge of development and validation of scene generation and instrument simulator software components

Sound experience with modern software development environments, languages, tools and operating systems used in the processors domain (C, C++, Git, CI, debuggers, Linux, etc…)

Proficiency with programming languages relevant to the implementation and maintenance of the system performance models (e.g. MATLAB and python)

Experience in project environment working on procurement and monitoring of industrial and scientific activities

Knowledge of ESA and Industrial procurement processes and standards for space system development, verification and PA

Behavioural competencies

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


A master’s degree in an engineering field or a related subject is required for this post.

Additional requirements
  • Experience in negotiating specific study requirements and expected outputs with partners
  • Strong coordination skills
  • Good communication skills with the ability to work both autonomously and as part of a team within the boundaries of assigned tasks and a stringent schedule and to establish and maintain effective working relationships with industry, scientific institutes and the user community
  • Ability to develop and apply pragmatic solutions in a highly complex environment at system and team level

Other information

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

For further information please visit: Professionals ,What we offer  and FAQ    

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.     

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

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 [email protected] .


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, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates.

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. 

In principle, recruitment will be within the advertised grade band (A2-A4). However, if the selected candidate has less than four years of relevant professional experience following the completion of the master’s degree, the position may be filled at A1 level. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

Similar Positions