EO Optical Payload Engineer

Noordwijk, The Netherlands, ESA [9788-23599]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Education and STEM
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for an EO Optical Payload Engineer.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. For this purpose, we welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.

EO Optical Payload Engineer, Future Missions and Instruments Division, Future Systems Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.
Reporting to the Head of the Optical Instruments Section, you will be responsible for the end-to-end definition, engineering, technology breadboarding and pre-development of optical payload systems for future EO research missions  – e.g. Earth Explorers, Missions of Opportunity and Scout missions – and operational missions, e.g. Earth Watch, Copernicus and meteorology.

The above payloads include EO multispectral imagers at various resolutions, imaging spectrometers and Fourier-Transform spectrometers for ocean, land and atmosphere sensing, and active laser payloads for surface and atmosphere sensing, covering the full wavelength range from ultraviolet to far infrared. You will be engaged in the study and pre-development of one or several of them.


  • identifying and investigating new observation principles, techniques and technologies in coordination with staff in this Department, the Science, Applications & Climate Department and D/TEC, including interfacing with research and technical groups;
  • maintaining knowledge of relevant technology status and instrument development programmes inside and outside ESA, including developments undertaken by other space agencies in Europe and worldwide, as well as commercial initiatives such as those under NewSpace, in close collaboration with the Division’s Technology Coordination & Frequency Management Section;
  • defining and assessing the performance and technological readiness of new optical EO payload systems in close collaboration with the EO system engineers of the Division’s Mission & System Studies Section, taking into account mission, system and programmatic objectives and requirements;
  • defining, initiating and managing industrial contracts for the study and risk-retirement of new optical payload systems, according to the agreed activity plan;
  • performing risk-retirement activities through technology breadboarding and pre-development of optical payload systems for future EO missions (including Earth Explorer, Earth Watch, Copernicus, meteorology) up to their completion, coordinating instrument pre-development activities with project teams when required;
  • developing ground-based or airborne instrument models, according to the concepts’ maturity and performance-demonstration needs;
  • providing expert support to the Division for the optical payload aspects of missions undergoing evaluation or preparation, including for evaluation of mission proposals, optical payload system support to Phase 0/A and mission architecture studies, and contributing to the preparation of technical and scientific dossiers on new EO research and operational missions;
  • supporting InCubed proposal evaluation and technical management of activities when related to EO optical payloads and technologies;
  • defining, developing, maintaining and upgrading optical payload systems dimensioning and performance models and tools to assess new instrument concepts.

You will work closely with other staff from the Division and from D/EOP and will also liaise with the Directorate of Technology, Engineering & Quality (D/TEC) and other Directorates involved in optical engineering activities.


Technical competencies
Familiarity with optical remote sensing techniques
Knowledge of technical domains and related R&D space industry trends
Knowledge of innovation-related processes
Experience in spaceborne optical instrument development

You should have a PhD or Master’s degree in engineering or physics.

Additional requirements
You will be expected to contribute to a dynamic and creative environment in preparatory phases of EO missions.
You should have good interpersonal skills and be able to work and interact within small teams as well as autonomously.
At least seven years’ relevant experience in EO optical instruments and associated development.
Experience in working in team/project environment is desirable.
Familiarity with various optical EO techniques and experience of hardware development and performance analysis models/tools are desirable.

For a complete job description, click on “apply”.
The closing date for applications is 22 June 2021.

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 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, Lithuania 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
We are the European Space Agency. Our mission is the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of everyone. We watch over Earth, develop and launch inspiring and unique space projects, train astronauts and push the boundaries of science and technology, seeking answers to the big questions about the Universe. We are a family of scientists, engineers and business professionals from all over Europe working together in a diverse and multinational environment. We are dedicated to united space in Europe and united Europe in space. Learn more: http://www.esa.int/

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