Sentinel SAR Mission Scientist

Job ID: EOP-125

Deadline 8 January 2021

Aurora is an established supplier of skilled manpower to ESA and in particular at ESTEC and ESAC. Aurora has the opportunity to expand our support to ESA in the domain of Earth Observation.
Happiness of our employees has proven key to obtaining excellent results and a client who also regards us highly for excellent service.


The duties of the contractor focus on Mission Science support to future Copernicus SAR Sentinel missions under definition or implementation by ESA. This includes support to mission requirements consolidation and maintenance, traceability to user needs, assessment and documentation of information products to be generated by the missions, their accuracy as a function of the satellite and Level-1 characteristics and to verify these can be achieved based on the mission design choices.

The Contractor is expected to support the Mission Advisory Group (MAG) meetings, research and formulation of mission requirements, defining and support to managing relevant studies with the applications and science community, and performing analyses and investigations into critical mission science issues linked to products and product implementation (e.g. end to end performance analyses).

The position holder is expected to perform the following main tasks:

  • Help to the management of the mission requirements for Copernicus SAR missions in support to the Mission Scientist(s)
  • Support the implementation and running of the Copernicus ROSE-L and Sentinel-1 Next Generation (S1 NG) MAG and Expert Group activities
  • Define and help manage mission requirement consolidation studies for S1 NG, to interpret user requirements provided by the European Commission and the Copernicus user community, and establish methods to evaluate the end-to-end performance of the mission with respect to product quality
  • Define and help manage studies and campaigns required to address any critical issues during the S1 NG and ROSE-L mission development
  • Assess in detail the implications of “continuity of service” as a priority requirement for S1 NG, with respect to the current generation of Sentinel-1
  • Document and develop the synergies between C-band and L-band Copernicus SAR missions operating as a system of systems
  • Support the definition of the ground segment requirements and interface requirements, regarding Level 1 / Level 2 processor implementation and data distribution to the end users
  • Support the coordination of collaborative efforts with similar missions from other, national Space Agencies (e.g. NISAR/NASA, SAOCOM/CONAE, PalSAR-2 and PalSAR-4/JAXA)
  • Develop and document a framework for error budgets for Level-2 information products guaranteed by the SAR missions (e.g. through the use and further elaboration of End-to-end performance frameworks)
  • Support the definition of Level-2 information products guaranteed by the SAR missions
  • Preparation of documents and technical notes as required in support of the Project.

In performing these tasks, the contractor will report to the relevant Mission Scientist(s) and maintaining close coordination with the relevant Project teams. For End-to-end performance aspects the Contractor will work closely with the Study Teams/Projects, but also with experts from the technical directorate.

Specific qualification requirements

  • PhD and a minimum of 6 years scientific experience
  • Knowledge of remote sensing principles, retrieval techniques, error assessment
  • Strong fundamental background in SAR remote sensing including technical characteristics of SAR satellites
  • Proficiency in the programming and use of software focused on managing satellite data, image analyses, transformation of Level-1 data into geophysical information products and statistical and error analyses
  • Familiarity with the Copernicus Programme including the programme goals, the role of the Space Component and the status and scope of Copernicus Services
  • Demonstrated interest in the wider context of Copernicus and its role with respect to EC policies and priorities
  • Familiarity with Level 1 and Level 2 processing of satellite SAR data
  • Experience in the development of Algorithm Theoretical Baseline Documents (ATBDs)
  • Able to work independently and in teams
  • Good organisational, management and communication skills
  • Proficient in the English Language (Spoken and Written).

Legal and Security Requirements

  • All applicants must be legally allowed to work in The Netherlands
  • Applicants are required to provide a copy of their passport and degree certificate. Aurora will validate the Degree with the issuing University and provide evidence to ESA.
  • Prior to issuing a letter of employment the applicant shall provide to Aurora a recent official document declaring that they are of good conduct from the country where currently resident.


The work will be performed at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) at Noordwijk, The Netherlands.


  • The selected candidate will receive good remuneration  in line with ESA Job Class.
  • Will be registered for both social security and tax in the Netherlands.
  • The standard working hours are 40 per week. There are 12 public holidays and an additional 30 annual days holiday.
  • Training to improve efficiency and provide strength for future career are of course included.
  • Aurora assist with relocation both with support and financially.
  • Aurora contributes to a company pension scheme.

To be considered for this Position

Prior to 8 january 2021, please apply via our Job Application form quoting EOP-125 as reference.

Aurora will agree conditional employment terms and conditions with candidates before presenting them by 14 January 2021, 13.00 hours.

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