System Performance Engineer on Biomass Project

Biomass instrument model

Job ID: EOP-114

Deadline: 1 May 2020

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 System Performance Engineer will cooperate closely with the Biomass payload team in the execution of the relevant tasks. Furthermore she/he will be supported by and is expected to closely cooperate with specialist engineers from the Biomass team, from the Earth Observation System Support Division and from the Directorate of Technical and Quality Management (D/TEC) as appropriate. The incumbent will provide regular reporting to the Biomass System and Mission Performance Manager.

In particular the tasks include:

Requirement Engineering:

  • Support the maintenance of system level requirements in the following areas:
    • Mission observation requirements (including P-Band SAR requirements);
    • Biomass End-to-End simulator (BEEPS) and Ground Processor Prototype (GPP) requirements;
    • External and internal calibration with ground based transponder and natural targets;
    • SAR internal calibration;
    • ITU regulation and protection against RFI.
  • Monitor and critically analyse the system level performance requirements allocation, their flow down to the relevant contributors, the associated margins and their evolution.
  • Support the payload team for aspects relevant to instrument performance requirements flow-down and instrument performance verification, including relevant models and tools.

Performance Budgets and Performance Modelling:

  • Maintain system level performance budgets in coordination with the Biomass Payload and Engineering/AIV sections. Critically monitor and analyse the compliance of the system performance budgets with the end-to-end system performance requirements and propose corrective actions in case of deviation.
  • Develop and maintain system performance mathematical models and tools to support the performance assessment.
  • Acquire knowledge of the BEEPS/GPP and conduct performance simulations and sensitivity analyses.
  • Support the BEEPS / GPP verification and acceptance activities;

End-To-End (E2E) calibration and Calibration Transponder.

  • Monitor and critically analyse the calibration transponder performance budget, its coherence with the system performance budgets and the compliance with the end-to-end system performance requirements.
  • Verify and ensure the coherence of the E2E and external calibration approaches and ground processing implementation with the instrument internal calibration and instrument / system.
  • Monitor and review the Biomass calibration plan and the specification, procurement and verification/validation of the relevant external calibration equipment.

General Support activities:

  •  Support the definition of cal/val and in-flight commissioning plans and the preparation, execution and analysis of the relevant in-flight operations during the commissioning phase.
  • Support Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) reviews for what concerns the SAR processor and L1-L2 processing interface aspects including cross-verification activities of the PDGS operational SAR processor.
  • Support the interactions with the Biomass Mission Advisory Group (MAG) for what concerns system performance aspects.
  • Support Agency Project reviews.
  • Support the System and Mission Performance Manager and the Biomass project team members in all aspects related to system performance, as necessary for the effective execution of the Biomass project.

Specific qualification requirements

  • University degree (preferably Masters) or equivalent qualification in a relevant physical science or engineering subject.
  • Demonstrated background and experience in SAR systems, SAR performance/calibration and SAR processing, preferably acquired in a space project environment. Background and experience on the specific issues relevant to low frequency, full-pol SAR systems is an asset.
  • A minimum of 4 years relevant professional experience post degree in SAR systems, SAR performance/calibration and SAR processing, preferably acquired in a space project environment.
  • Good understanding of the overall instruments, including background in modelling of the observation techniques, end-to-end performance estimation, level 1b processing and instrument characterisation.
  • The candidate must possess solid analytical skills and the command of the physics and techniques of SAR systems, together with the capability to critically analyse the work performed by industry in the relevant areas, identify problems and propose/instigate corrective actions.
  • Background and experience on the specific issues relevant to low frequency, full-pol SAR systems is an asset.
  • The candidate shall demonstrate to be proficient with programming tools and languages relevant to the implementation and maintenance of the system performance models (e.g. MATLAB, Python).
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively in English.
  • Be able to work independently and also work with colleagues within a team.

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.
  • 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

Provide prior to 1 May 2020 a summary of why you are a good candidate for the position together with a complete and detailed
Recruitment Form to Mr. Davide Starnone, at email quoting reference EOP-114

Aurora will agree conditional employment terms and conditions with candidates before presenting their detailed technical proposal and candidates to ESA by 12.00 0’clock 5 May 2020.

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