Optical End-to-End Performance Engineer

Updated: about 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  


If selected for this post, you will be the responsible for the the end-to-end system performance definition, monitoring, verification and validation of one or more optical Earth Observation Missions.

Your responsibilities will include the development of end to end performance SW 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 Payload Data Ground Segment Team members.

You will represent ESA in decisions regarding the end to end performance aspects of the different mission elements and be responsible by delegation or as Technical Officer for the End to End Performance Simulator and Ground Prototype Processors developments.


Your duties will include:

  • maintenance of mission and system level requirements, monitoring and critically analysing the requirement allocation, their flow down to the relevant contributors, the associated margins, their evolution and their verification, in the following areas for optical Earth Observation missions:
    • observation requirements and mission data products requirements;
    • End-to-End simulator, including Ground Processor Prototype (GPP) up to L2;
    • on-ground and in-flight characterisation and calibration of the instrument.
  • maintain mission level performance and error budgets and analyse their compliance with the end-to-end mission performance requirements and propose corrective actions in case of deviation;
  • coordinate and follow up the End-to-End Simulator and GPP (from raw to L2 data) development: 
    • defining and maintaining the specifications and reviewing design and interfaces (in particular in L1 and L2 products);
    • monitoring of development by Industry (including scientific institutes);
    • monitoring the acceptance and integration of SW components furnished through ESA (for instance as Customer Furnished Item).
    • ensuring proper verification/validation and acceptance methods are proposed and implemented for the different SW components; 
    • installing, maintaining and operating an up to date version of the E2E Mission Performance Simulator software on ESA computing infrastructure; administering the internal ESA software problems list and ensure correct iteration with the implementors;
  • support Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) development for what concerns the Ground operational processor aspects and cross-verification activities of the PDGS operational ground processor against the GPP, including Test Data production and verification;
  • develop and maintain additional mission performance mathematical models and tools to support the assessment of the relevant industrial development activities.
  • in coordination with the instrument development team, monitor and review 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;
  • support the preparation, execution, and analysis of the relevant in-flight calibration and validation operations during the commissioning phase;
  • support the running of the relevant Mission Advisory Groups (MAG) for what concerns mission & instrument performance aspects, including end-to-end mission performance verification and compliance status;
  • interact with the Mission Users Community and Scientific Community for what concerns products definition and mission & instrument performance aspects;
  • support 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 optical Earth Observation project.

Technical competencies

Experience in performance requirements definition, development follow up and verification of optical space missions

Experience in performance budgets definition and consequent performance verification tracking

Experience in the development and validation of Ground Processors Prototypes

Sound experience with SW development environment

Proficiency with programming languages relevant to the implementation and maintenance of the system performance models (f.i. 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 or PhD in physics or engineering is required for this post.

Additional requirements

Good communication skills 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.

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.

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