Science Operations System Engineer

Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain, ESA [12468]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Information Technology
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for a Science Operations System 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.

The European Space Agency maintains a world-leading Science Programme with missions in heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics and fundamental physics. The Department for Science and Operations (SCI-S) hosts the scientists who oversee the space missions from study to end of operations; it develops the science operation systems for the missions and operates the missions in space; and it archives and curates their data during operations and beyond. Our main objective is to maximise the scientific output of the missions for the benefit of humankind. 


You will be responsible for all engineering aspects of the development, implementation and maintenance of science archive systems at the ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC), reporting to the Science Archives Development and Operations Manager (SCI-SAA) in the Data Science and Archives Division in SCI-S. You will work in close collaboration with the missions and the community, and be responsible for coordinating the work of the companies providing services to support your tasks.
You will be expected to strive for innovation and excellence in system and software engineering, within the standards adopted at ESA, promoting and extending adoption of those methods, processes and standards to all ESDC activities.
Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Coordinating system engineering activities for all ESDC archive systems, such as 
    • Setting up and supporting the systems engineering process at the ESDC for the benefit of all Science Archive Systems from all missions in the development, operations, post-operations and legacy phases, maximising availability of the infrastructure;
    • Defining and evolving the ESDC system architecture down to the level of software components in the individual archives, de-conflicting and implementing all associated requirements;
    • Together with the IT stakeholders, determining the cost of archive system development and operations and of the required service, balancing mission-specific with generic solutions to optimise the overall cost;
    • Coordinating the implementation and execution of the ESDC validation campaigns which must include all relevant compatibility, interface and end-to-end tests needed to validate the Science Ground Segment systems of the relevant missions plus the interfaces with the scientific community; 
    • Defining and maintaining all required ESDC interfaces (e.g. with representatives from the missions, other Science Ground Segment elements, and the Mission Operations Centre);
    • Evaluating and applying relevant systems engineering lessons learned from other ESA science data centres;
  • Participating actively in Department and ESA-wide systems engineering activities, such as 
    • Identifying and coordinating potential cross-mission engineering activities and systems within the Department (e.g. science data handling, processing and archiving, system and software engineering, configuration control and document management);
    • Encouraging and coordinating the Department’s participation in ESA Research and Development programmes, notably the General Studies Programme (GSP), General Support Technology Programme (GSTP) and Technology Development Element (TDE);
    • Performing software engineering technology watch with a view to potential applications in the Department, in particular liaising with the head of the Data Science Section to identify and integrate innovative Artificial Intelligence solutions in the ESDC systems;
  • Representing ESA and ESDC internationally, such as
    • in international Virtual Observatory alliances (i.e. IVOA, IPDA, IHDEA, etc.), in workshops and at conferences;
  • Acting as ESA Technical Representative for the service contract(s) supporting technical work in the ESDC, defining and overseeing the work expected from the partner companies, working closely with the Department’s product assurance manager.


Technical competencies
Experience in information technology system engineering
Experience in developing/operating data management and archiving systems
Experience in managing industrial contracts
Experience in project management
A MSc or equivalent degree in software or computer engineering, space science or space applications for this post is required.
Additional requirements
An asset for this position is technical competencies acquired in the context of data archiving and databases in space science, i.e.

  • Experience in information technology system engineering in the context of databases, data dissemination and web front-end systems;
  • Experience in developing/operating data management and archiving systems in the science operations context;
  • Experience in project management in development activities involving multiple interfaces and in the context of space science;
  • In addition, experience in managing industrial contracts, including a workforce service contract.
  • Experience in Agile and/or DevOps methodologies and DevOps would be a further asset, as would experience in designing scalable and distributed systems for big data operations.

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

The closing date for applications is 22 July 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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