ACES Science Operations Engineer

Job ID: HRE-15

Deadline: 28 December 2016

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 HRE– Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration .
Happiness of our employees has proven key to obtaining excellent results and a client who also regards us highly for excellent service.


The Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) is a mission using high-performance clock instruments, namely PHARAO, an Cesium atomic clock provided by CNES, and SHM, an active hydrogen maser. Beside the standard subsystem (power supply, onboard computer) the ACES payload consists of the Frequency Comparison and Distribution Package, a GNSS system,  the European Laser Timing Experiment (ELT) and the ACES microwave link (MWL), which  will make the ACES clock signal available to ground laboratories equipped with atomic clocks.

Under the authority of the ACES Project Scientist, the Payload Science Support Engineer will be responsible  for  following up the real-time Operations  of the ESA provided subsystems and instrument, in particular the MWL and the SHM. The PSSE will be familiar with the ACES payload characteristics and will be closely involved and follow up monitoring, characterization and calibration of the ACES payload hardware (other than PHARAO).

Although the  PSSE will be  integral part of the ACES USOC environment and infrastructure,  he/she may normally  reside at ESTEC, but the Incumbent may be asked to work for long periods of time (up to 3 months) at the User Support Center for ACES, located in Toulouse (F).

The PSSE will be supporting and coordinating all activities specifically connected to the ACES instruments themselves, under liaison with the mission operation at USOC and  Sustaining engineering functions of  the Industrial Consortium which build ACES ( for ESA provided instruments).

Specific duties will include:

  • Supporting the Project Scientist in the definition of instrument/payload operations during the preparation of the science operational (strategic) plans;
  • Providing input to the (USOC) mission operations for the mission planning of payload and instrument, based on the agreed ACES science operations activities defined by the Project Scientist; in particular:
  • Planning payload operation requests as needed during the commissioning, characterisation and routine science phases;
  • Planning instruments operations requests as needed during the commissioning, characterisation and routine science phases;
  • Involving, through the Project Scientist, the ACES IWG in any decision process whose outcome might impact the science return of the ACES mission (operations changes, corrective actions, updates of the data analysis software, etc.);
  • Acting as responsible person for the ACES science archive content and access management.
  • Defining the space-to-ground clock comparisons through the MWL science link and scheduling microwave ground terminals operations;
  • Monitoring the scientific performance of the ACES MWL and SHM, and space clocks comparison. Timely notifying any anomaly and coordinating eventual calibration activities and/or troubleshooting activities with the responsible Industry;
  • Supporting CADMOS in monitoring the scientific performance of the network of microwave ground terminals and timely notifying in case of anomaly.
  • Supporting the definition of updated instrument operational procedures and data analysis tools.

In carrying out these duties, the postholder will closely collaborate with the ACES project scientist, and in general with the ACES project and Operations responsible at ESA, Industry and CADMOS, and other relevant ESA functions, as defined by his superior and within his area of responsibility and competence.

Specific qualification requirements

  • Applicants for this post shall have a university degree (Scientific PhD or Masters degree) in Physics and/or MW /Electronics Engineering discipline.
  • At least 5 years of experience in payload development and operations is required.
  • The ability to work in a team is also necessary.
  • A good knowledge of the International Space Station Programme is an asset.
  • The candidate should demonstrate a result-oriented approach to work in a complex implementation environment as well as a strong capability for planning and interacting with internal and external teams with good communication and relationship management skills.
  • The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of both these languages is required. Knowledge of another member state language is an asset.

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: Sc.
  • Will be registered for both social security and tax in the Netherlands.
  • The standard working hours are 32 per week (0,80 FTE). 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

Provide prior to 28 December 2016 a summary of why you are a good candidate for the position together with a complete and detailed Candidate Proposal Form or CV and Motivation Letter to Mr. Davide Starnone, at email quoting reference HRE-15.

Aurora will agree conditional employment terms and conditions with candidates before submitting them by 4 January 2017, 13.00 hours.

If not directly interested, feel free to share by this Job Vacancy with your friends!