Mission System Performance & Calibration Engineer

Noordwijk, The Netherlands, ESA [10124]

Field(s) of expertise
Business Administration and Finance Project and Service Management
Job type

About this job

PLATO is the third medium-size mission under the Agency’s Cosmic Vision Science programme, and is devoted to the search for and characterisation of exoplanets around Sun-like stars in their habitable zone.

As the Mission System Performance & Calibration Engineer, you will report to the Mission Performance & Operations Manager (SCI-PLM), PLATO Project, Projects Department, Directorate of Science.


You will be responsible for maintaining mission-level performance requirements and budgets, consolidating and monitoring spacecraft and payload calibration, and supporting the definition of PLATO science operations.

Duties include:

  • Leading mission-level requirements engineering:
    • Maintaining mission-level science performance requirements;
    • Leading the assessment of system design and operations trade-offs and waivers affecting performance requirements;
    • Maintaining the sub-allocation of mission requirements to lower-level requirements, for both the space and ground segments;
    • Acting as custodian of the PLATO mission requirements justification files;
  • Performance analysis and management:
    • Creating and tracking mission performance budgets and metrics in close cooperation with the Project Scientist;
    • Acting as day-to-day project interface with the PLATO Mission Consortium performance group;
    • Supporting the PLATO payload and platform engineering sections regarding all performance-related aspects;
    • Leading the definition and integration of end-to-end performance simulation tools at project level;
    • Following up data-processing algorithm definition (on-board and on-ground) for PLATO data product production;
  • Mission and payload calibration and verification:
    • Reviewing and monitoring the definition of calibration activities (both on-ground and in-flight) to ensure consistency and completeness;
    • Acting as day-to-day project interface with the PLATO Mission Consortium Calibration and Operations Team;
    • Defining the approach for end-to-end performance verification of the Payload and the Spacecraft and supporting their implementation;
  • Science Operations:
    • Acting as the day-to-day project interface with the PLATO science operations team regarding all aspects related to nominal science operations, commissioning and in-orbit performance verification;
    • Coordinating calibration and science operations needs with the Section’s Lead Software and Operations Engineer and with the Payload Section to ensure consistency;
    • Supporting definition of the Payload and Spacecraft in-orbit commissioning and performance verification plans;
  • Supporting technical and scientific communication with the general public;
  • Participating in other Project and Science Projects Department tasks when required.

You will coordinate and work closely with members of the Section and with those of the Payload and Spacecraft Sections. You will be supported by Directorate of Technical and Quality Management engineers, as required.


Technical competencies

  • Systems engineering
  • Familiarity with science and payload performance analysis (radiometric/photometric modelling, image quality assessment)
  • Experience in managing scientific space developments involving multiple interfaces (PI, scientific consortium, project, industry)
  • Experience with definition and review of payload and spacecraft calibration programs
  • Experience in payload in-orbit commissioning and performance verification
  • Management and review of complex system performance budgets particularly in the frame of high precision optical payloads
  • Experience with visible Optical Systems and Charge Coupled Devices (CCD) performance and calibration

Behavioural competencies

  • Results Orientation
  • Teamwork
  • Planning & Organisation
  • Problem Solving
  • Relationship Management
  • Communication


A PhD or Master’s degree in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline is required.

Additional requirements

  • You will be expected to contribute to a dynamic and creative environment in the implementation phases of the PLATO project.
  • You should have good interpersonal skills and be able to interact with several interfaces as well as autonomously.
  • Experience of working in a team/project environment is desirable.

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