Payload Validation Engineer

Updated: 18 days ago

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  


Payload Validation Engineer in the Payload Validation Section, Science Instrumentation Division, Future Missions Department, Directorate of Science.

The Future Missions Department (SCI-F) oversees mission preparation activities for ESA’s science programmes, including mission definition studies (phases 0/A/B1) and technology development activities. 

The Payload Validation Section (SCI-FIV) is responsible for conducting laboratory-based payload element validation activities, with the emphasis on imaging focal plane technologies, to provide support for development of the instrumentation for future ESA space science missions. The primary objective of these validation efforts is to verify that performance requirements are met under operational conditions, including assessing the effects of radiation. The majority of these activities occur during phases 0/A/B1. Additionally, the Section lends support to the other departments within the Directorate for specific validation activities and to missions in development phases (B2/C/D) or during operations (phase E).

Furthermore, the Section provides general payload expertise support to the Directorate’s other entities and contributes to the development of new payload technologies.


Your key responsibilities will include:

  • leading the laboratory-based validation activities, with a focus on UV-Vis-NIR focal plane technologies, including both detector and readout electronics aspects, by:
    • coordinating with the mission study team, project team or operations team regarding the definition of the validation activities; 
    • preparing test documentation, such as test requirements, plans and reports;
    • defining payload validation activity test setups; 
    • implementing validation activity setups, with the emphasis on infrared imaging detectors and the associated control electronics;
    • performing commissioning of the validation activity setup;
    • conducting tests using the validation activity setup;
    • analysing test data and reporting to the relevant study team, project team or operations team;
  • supporting the development and maintenance of the general technical infrastructure essential for validating payload technologies;
  • defining and implementing, in close collaboration with other sections within the Department, ESA-funded payload activities and predevelopments; 
  • ensuring that payload elements, whether nationally- or ESA-provided, meet the necessary definition maturity and technology readiness levels at the time of mission adoption;
  • identifying and producing new instrument technologies required for the Directorate’s programmes and participating in the preparation and implementation of the Voyage 2050 technology development plan;
  • providing payload expertise and support to studies and projects under development as required, for example through participation in reviews and working groups or technical support.

Technical competencies

Excellent understanding of detection technologies, in particular CMOS and CCD as currently used in space science instrumentation

Knowledge of space radiation effects upon imaging detectors

Hands-on expertise in the performance testing, under representative space conditions, of imaging detectors and associated control electronics of the type typically used in space science payloads

Hands-on experience in the definition, design and utilisation of instrument technology validation setups in the space domain

Hands-on experience in opto-electronic performance measurements, including the associated instrumentation and data analysis

Knowledge of payload technologies and general space science instrumentation

Behavioural competencies

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


A PhD or master’s degree in physics or engineering is required for this post.

Additional requirements

You should also:

  • be able to work in a small multidisciplinary team and be flexible and able to multitask;
  • have the relationship management skills required to balance interactions with various ESA stakeholders, including scientific institutions and industry;
  • be self-motivated.

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

Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness 
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.

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 via email at [email protected] .
Important Information and Disclaimer
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.

Applicants must be eligible to access technology and hardware which is subject to European and US export control regulations & security clearance by their national security administrations.

During the recruitment process, the Agency may request applicants to undergo selection tests. Additionally, successful candidates will need to undergo basic screening before appointment, which will be conducted by an external background screening service, in compliance with the European Space Agency's security procedures.

Note that ESA is in the process of transitioning to a Matrix setup, which could lead to organisational changes affecting this position.

The information published on ESA’s careers website regarding working conditions is correct at the time of publication. It is not intended to be exhaustive and may not address all questions you would have. 

Nationality and Languages 
Please note that applications can only be 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 *. 

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.  

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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