System Performance and PDGS Engineer

Updated: about 2 hours 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 is a non-renewable post for a limited duration until 31 December 2026 and is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale .

This opportunity is open for the specific needs of a National Project. Accordingly, the external candidate selected for this post will continue to be considered an external candidate for the purposes of any future applications to the Agency.

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands 


We are recruiting for the position of System Performance and PDGS Engineer for a National Earth Observation Project (for Spain and Greece).

On all technical and programmatic matters, you will report to the Project Manager of the selected National Mission.

You will be technically responsible for the proactive monitoring of the system end-to-end performance, including the consolidation of the performance requirements, monitoring their evolution and supporting their verification and validation until Flight Acceptance Review. Additionally, you will proactively monitor the architectural definition of the Payload Ground Data Segment, its requirements establishment and evolution, its associated procurement (to cover all required functionalities and services) and its final verification and PDGS acceptance review.
You will work in close cooperation with your team members, in particular the spacecraft and payload engineers, to assess the design evolution and the instrument and spacecraft design’s compliance with the performance allocation. You will support the Project Manager on all technical and programmatic aspects pertinent to the system performance and PDGS.


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • consolidating, maintaining and allocating the system performance requirements (in close collaboration with the spacecraft and payload engineers);
  • consolidating, implementing and maintaining the end-to-end system performance model and performance budgets;
  • coordinating with other project team members to ensure the consistency of the performance model and budget with the actual system and payload design;
  • consolidating the end-to-end system definition with respect to the performance allocation and verification (including level-1 data processing, flight calibration and characterisation, payload science and ancillary data);
  • coordinating with other project team members to ensure the consistency of flight and ground segment performance and testing levels with system-level needs;
  • coordinating, together with the Industrial Ground Segment Team and relevant parties, the system, payload and level-1 product verification concept (cal/val activities) up to flight acceptance review maturity;
  • regularly interacting with the Spacecraft Team members to ensure the definition of the in-orbit operation is consistent with the mission performance requirements;
  • processing payload level-0 data received from industry to check consistency with the system simulator and support any anomaly investigations;
  • processing and analysing the auxiliary data required for the product generation;
  • monitoring the end-to-end data flow geophysical parameters through the instrument and satellite subsystems up to the final data products, ensuring availability of all required models and tools;
  • monitoring the industrial activities associated with the procurement and use of the end-to-end simulator, the ground processing prototype and ground tools supporting satellite cal/val activities and validating the associated deliverables;
  • maintaining, updating and controlling the system interfaces with the ground segment elements involved in processing the provided data;
  • monitoring the architectural definition of the Payload Ground Data Segment, the establishment and evolution of its requirements, its associated procurement (to cover all required functionality and services) and its final verification and PDGS acceptance review;
  • supporting the project in technical interactions with the mission user community regarding L2 product definition relevant to the PDGS architecture and development;
  • providing regular reporting and support to the Project Manager on all the relevant technical and programmatic aspects of mission performance and PDGS;
  • identifying risks and potential problem areas, proposing mitigation actions where appropriate;
  • ensuring coordination with other National Programmes (where applicable).

Technical competencies

Multidisciplinary knowledge and direct working experience of your area of responsibility, particularly in optical and microwave instruments and the associated imaging chain, as well as in the system modelling and data post-processing domains

Experience in the definition of performance requirements and budgets and the consequent verification of optical missions

Experience in data processing and the development of ground processors

Experience in the project environment through working on procurement and monitoring industrial activities

Experience in using performance/system simulator tools and conducting simulations and performance analyses

Medium-complexity project schedule and risk management processes

Behavioural competencies

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


A master's in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline is required.

Additional requirements

Consolidated experience in the optical instruments domain and ground processing systems is required. You should also:

  • have a high level of self-motivation and autonomy;
  • have the capability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary team;
  • demonstrate flexibility in dealing with day-to-day operational challenges.

Knowledge of the following would be considered a strong asset:

  • ESA and industrial procurement processes and standards for space system development, verification and product assurance;
  • the technical and programmatic characteristics and challenges specific to space system constellations.

​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.

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

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.

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. 

Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

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