Aeolus 2 Payload Manager

Updated: 3 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  


Aeolus-2 is an operational follow-on to the successful Aeolus Earth Explorer mission in collaboration with EUMETSAT for a series of two satellites. ESA is responsible for the definition and development of the space segment and, on behalf of EUMETSAT, procurement of the recurrent satellite. The primary payload for Aeolus-2 is a Doppler wind lidar designed to measure atmospheric winds through measurement of Doppler shifts in the backscatter of emitted laser light from molecules and aerosols in the atmosphere. A radio occultation instrument will also be carried on board.

Aeolus-2 is currently in Phase A, with an instrument consolidation study, parallel system accommodation studies (Phase A/B1) and various technology pre-development activities under way. The Aeolus-2 programme for Phase B2/C/D/E1 was approved at the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level held in November 2022.

You will manage the Aeolus-2 payload aspects (covering both the development and recurrent satellites) and will report to the Aeolus-2 Project Manager within the Meteorological Programmes area, Earth Observation Projects Department, Earth Observation Directorate.


Your main tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • defining, consolidating and maintaining the Aeolus-2 payload requirements, ensuring coherence with the EUMETSAT mission and operations requirements and the Aeolus-2 satellite performances and constraints;
  • coordinating with other Aeolus-2 teams, such as System and Operations, Engineering and AIT and PA, to ensure consistency of requirements, designs, testing and performances, including end-to-end instrument performance, with payload needs;
  • preparing tender documentation and supporting negotiations with industry;
  • managing industrial activities for the development of payload and associated ground prototype processors;
  • assessing and reviewing instrument architectures and designs, including the identification and analysis of options, trade-offs and design drivers;
  • early identification and definition of critical payload technologies and implementation and monitoring of pre-development activities where appropriate;
  • critical analysis and maintenance of all payload budgets and performances and timely instigation of corrective actions where necessary;
  • critical analysis and review of instrument test plans at both instrument and satellite level to ensure consistency of approach and the ability to compare results;
  • ensuring that the operability of the instruments is fully compatible with the overall Aeolus-2 satellite operations, observability and availability requirements;
  • ensuring the timely availability of all payload design, interface data and associated operations documentation and databases in accordance with the overall satellite needs;
  • interacting with the ESA Earth and Mission Science Division and the Aeolus-2 Science Advisory Group concerning instrument performances;
  • liaising with your EUMETSAT counterpart to ensure that its payload-related activities are efficiently and optimally aligned with those of ESA;
  • managing the Payload team, defining day-to-day tasks and objectives, setting annual performance objectives and assessing performance, including training needs, and ensuring motivation and commitment to project goals.

In carrying out these tasks, you will coordinate closely with other Aeolus-2 Section Heads, support Directorates (e.g. Technical and Quality Management) and EUMETSAT to ensure a common understanding and coherent approach.

You will also be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting on the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.

Technical competencies

Space system development and PA standards

Knowledge of ESA and industrial development, verification and procurement processes

Experience in the management and monitoring of industrial activities, including participation in reviews

Knowledge of space projects with experience in Earth Observation missions

Background in space engineering with experience in optical instruments

Experience in in-orbit commissioning and performance evaluation of instruments

Delivery of complex projects within cost and schedule

Complex project risk management processes

Behavioural competencies

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


A master's degree in a relevant engineering or scientific discipline is required for this post.

Additional requirements

Previous experience working on a multi-agency, cooperative programme is an advantage.

People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

You should also have:

  • the potential to manage individuals or a team in a project environment;
  • the ability to organise individual and team activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills;
  • the ability to drive your team’s performance, developing your people by encouraging learning, delegating responsibility and giving regular and constructive feedback;
  • strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills;
  • a strong result orientation with the ability to set priorities and present practical solutions both orally and in writing;
  • the ability to manage challenging situations proactively and constructively and to be customer-focused.

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 .


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.

According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States *.  

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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