Science Operations Scientist


Deadline: 15 December 2023

Aurora is an established supplier of skilled manpower to ESA. At ESAC, Aurora provides service in the area of Science Planning Development & Implementation and Quick-Look Analysis for Planetary Missions.
Happiness of our employees has proven key to obtaining excellent results obtaining favorable recognition from clients who value our top-notch service delivery.


As Science Operations Scientist you will initially be assigned to the JUICE mission but are expected to be flexible to work for other planetary missions if required. The JUICE mission is the first Large Class mission of the Cosmic Vision programme. JUICE will explore the Jupiter system and study the habitability of the Icy Moons using remote sensing and in-situ measurements. You will join the Aurora service team supporting the Science Operation Centre (SOC) which is responsible for the Science Operations of the mission.

Specific Service Tasks

As part of the service, the following main tasks will have to be carried out:

  • Support to strategic science planning.
  • Support to long term science planning.
  • Definition and maintenance of instruments observations.
  • Scientific and operational monitoring of science operation scenarios.
  • Quick-look analysis. Definition of use cases and testing.
  • Coverage analysis of science observations.
  • Specification of requirements, design, development, testing, validation of any scripts and software required to support each task.

You will be the SOC contact point for several instrument teams in all operational matters, making sure that the instrument science planning, calibration, and quick-look requirements are properly formulated and understood.

In addition, you will contribute to the development of the Science Operations System by specifying requirements and developing prototypes.

Specific qualification requirements

  • A PhD in Planetary Science or a related discipline (e.g., Astronomy, Physics).
  • Active researcher in planetary science.
  • Familiarity with the science community and expertise in a field relevant for the mission(s).
  • Connected and with good reputation in the planetary science community, with which s/he will have to interact regularly.
  • Expertise in camera calibration could be interesting.
  • Experience in coordinating internal/external stakeholders on scientific projects.
  • Experience in science operations for planetary missions or expertise in space instrumentation.
  • Good planning and organisation skills, team spirit and ability to work in an international environment.
  • Proficiency with at least one scripting or programming language (e.g., Python).
  • Be fluent in spoken and written English.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Good team working skills.

Legal and Security Requirements

  • All applicants must be legally allowed to work in Spain without the need to obtain a work visa. Only European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and SWISS citizens can be employed by Aurora in Spain.
  • 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.
  • In line with ESA’s security requirements, 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, and Aurora will validate your employment history.


The work will be performed at the ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre at Villafranca del Castillo, near Madrid (Spain).

Employment Contract

  • The selected candidate will receive good remuneration.
  • You will be registered for both social security and tax in Spain.
  • The standard working hours are 40 per week. There are 12 public holidays and an additional 30 annual days holiday.
  • In addition to public health services Aurora provides private medical insurance in Spain.
  • Training to improve efficiency and provide strength for future career are of course included.
  • Aurora can assist financially and provide recent experience information for relocation.

To be considered for this position

Prior to 15 December 2023 , please apply via our Job Application form quoting SCO-05_Sc-JUICE as reference.

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