Facility Development and Utilisation Engineer

Harwell, United Kingdom (UK), ESA [11921]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for a Facility Development and Utilisation Engineer.


This post is for a limited duration of 4 years non-renewable and is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

As the SACF Facility Development and Utilisation Engineer, you will report directly to the Studies and Technology (ExPeRT) Team Leader of the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration.

The Sample Analogue Curation Facility (SACF) is located on the Harwell Campus in the UK.
The SACF is designed to be a focal point for simulant development (including regolith, rocks, etc.) and curation activities in Europe for space applications, particularly exploration and science. The SACF features analytical, sample preparation, development and curation capabilities, complemented by state-of-the-art analytical facilities on the Harwell campus.


The main objectives of the facility are to:

  • Provide access to ESA’s collection of well-characterised analogues and simulants (the ESA Exploration Sample Analogue Collection or ESA2C) representing geological materials throughout the Solar System for hardware testing, technology development, and research activities;
  • Develop a standardised curation and analytical process for geological materials that result from ESA’s exploration programme, such as field trial activities and instrument tests;
  • Characterise existing and future analogue and simulant samples in the ESA2C collection;
  • Become Europe’s central hub for simulant design, development, distribution, and information, including the industrial procurement of analogues (especially if in large quantities) for study, project or ESA technology development activities;
  • Provide verification and validation standards for internally and externally produced analogues;
  • Build a solid foundation of curation expertise and associated technology at ESA in order to prepare for a potential extraterrestrial sample-receiving facility;
  • Foster collaboration across ESA Member States on analogues and sample analysis topics.


Your duties will include:

  • Developing the operational concept for utilisation of the SACF facility in line with the objectives mentioned above;
  • Managing and developing the curation protocols;
  • Maintaining and developing the ESA2C database;
  • Managing the facility’s overall operation in terms of procurement, manpower resources assigned to the facility (i.e. research fellows, trainees, contractor personnel) and schedule;
  • Establishing and maintaining Health and Safety procedures in line with ESA and UK standards;
  • Liaising with ECSAT facility management regarding security and general logistics aspects;
  • Establishing industrial contracts for the manufacturing of potentially large quantities of analogues;
  • Defining the facility’s relevant research orientation as well as conducting hands-on research;
  • Building collaborative links with international institutions/industry related to simulant development activities and research;
  • Actively following up opportunities for development and utilisation of the facility with ESA stakeholders, and research and commercial entities;
  • Promoting the facility to exploration stakeholders, raising awareness of it and attracting relevant projects;
  • Actively liaising with exploration research & development projects and ESA missions ( e.g. Luna 27 and Mars Sample Return);
  • Building up and maintaining the so-called Spaceship ECSAT, an agile, innovative environment that would allow young researchers and affiliated experts to quickly investigate novel operational concepts and technologies at low engagement costs, supported by ESA’s expert engineers and an extended network of researchers.


Technical competencies
Knowledge of the ESA and global space exploration plans and programmes
Knowledge and experience in geology and mineralogy
Experience in driving R&D activities, as well as knowledge of the ESA technology programmes
Experience in managing Laboratories, including health and safety aspects
Experience in procurement, project management, reviews and milestone achievement
Experience with laboratory or field testing of relevant technical equipment

A Master’s degree in engineering, geology or mineralogy is required.

Additional requirements
You should have demonstrable experience in R&D activities and project management with strong organisational capabilities. Curatorial experience is considered mandatory. Experience with analogue activities or relevant test campaigns is considered an asset.

Strong teamwork skills. Ability to work effectively, autonomously and cooperatively in a multidisciplinary and international team. Ability to cope with pressure and deadlines. Proactive attitude to problem-solving and interest in innovative technologies.

For a complete job description and to apply, click on “apply”.

The closing date for applications is 03 January 2021.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email contact.human.resources@esa.int.


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 and Slovenia.

We offer

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an equal opportunities employer that offers competitive salaries exempt from national income tax and excellent employment conditions, such as allowances for expatriates and relocation support.
For more information: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA

About us

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
Learn more: http://www.esa.int/

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