Opto-Thermo-Mechanical Engineer

Updated: 3 months ago

Vacancy in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

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 is a non-renewable post for a limited duration of four years and is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale .

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands 


Opto-Thermo-Mechanical Engineer in the Optics Section (TEC-MMO), Optics and Mechatronics Division (TEC-MM), Mechanical Department (TEC-M), Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality (D/TEC).

The Optics Section provides functional support to ESA projects and carries out technology research in optics for space applications. The Section’s activities cover the development of optical component technologies and optical systems, such as spectro-radiometric imaging instruments, operating from the UV to the infrared spectral range, and interferometers, including the associated optical ground equipment.
You will be assigned to the LISA (laser interferometer space antenna) project in the Projects Department of the Science Directorate. You will be working in the Payload Team and will report to the LISA Payload System Lead for all technical and programmatic matters of the project. LISA is a mission comprising a constellation of three spacecraft tasked with detecting and measuring gravitational waves with precision. It will become the first ever space gravitational wave observatory, delivering world-class science with significant public and strategic impact.

As Opto-Thermo-Mechanical Engineer, you will be responsible for supporting the Payload Team for the entire development, from design to on-orbit commissioning, for all the thermal and mechanical aspects relevant to the highly sensitive optical payload of LISA, both at system and subsystem level. In that role you will also act as technical interface with the spacecraft for all the opto-mechanical and thermal aspects of the LISA payload and its subsystems. In performing your duties, you will be supported by experts within the LISA Project Team and from the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:
•    supporting the Payload Team in all the opto-mechanical and thermal aspects of the LISA payload, at both system and subsystem level;
•    controlling and supervising the opto-mechanical and thermal payload development, from its design to its on-ground testing/verification and on-orbit commissioning completion;
•    coordinating and interfacing with the spacecraft for all the opto-mechanical and thermal aspects concerning the LISA payload;
•    coordinating the structural thermal and optical performance analysis;
•    supporting the thermoelastic analysis and the optical stability studies (from mechanical and thermal perspectives) required for the breakdown of requirements for the subsystems and the analytical verification of requirements;
•    supporting all the relevant and necessary reviews;
•    providing support, when needed, to the LISA Project Team for other elements of the spacecraft;
•    contributing to the definition of technology development plans for the Agency’s technology programmes;
•    monitoring relevant scientific and technological trends and maintaining state-of-the-art expertise;
•    ensuring the capture and transfer of knowledge and lessons learned across the matrix organisation.

Technical competencies

Extensive knowledge and experience in the development, calibration and testing of complex optical space instruments

Sound and proven experience with opto-mechanical and thermal design, analysis, manufacturing, integration and testing of optical systems for scientific and space applications

Knowledge of industrial development, verification and procurement processes and quality standards

Experience in monitoring industrial activities, including performance of reviews

Experience in technical subsystem reviews

Behavioural competencies

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


A master's in engineering or physics is required.

Additional requirements

You should further have:
•    experience in STOP analysis;
•    the ability to coordinate functional support on specific tasks;
•    strong communication skills;
•    the ability to proactively operate in a project team;
•    strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills;
•    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.

Industrial experience in the technical domains covered by this position would be an asset.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to theESA 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.     

Applicants must be eligible to access technology and hardware which is subject to European and US export control regulations.

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 at [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.

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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