Flight Dynamics Engineer - Science Missions Support



Flight Dynamics Engineer – Science Missions Orbit Support

LSE Space AG is looking for Flight Dynamics Engineers, to support our customer in Darmstadt, Germany. 

We are looking for a degree educated Engineer to support our customer (ESOC) in the aspects of Flight Dynamics operations for:

–             Solo Development

–             Exomars Development

–             Rosetta post-LEOP Development

–             Venus Express Operations

–             Mars Express Operations

–             S/W Maintenance.


Operational support shall be provided for the following functions:

–             Studies and Mission Analysis.

–             Critical and Routine Mission Planning Support

–             Specialist Support for Operations.
Specialist support shall be provided during normal working hours for routine phases. For critical operations (e.g. LEOP, swing-by) specialist support may be required around the clock, organised in shifts.

–             Interplanetary Orbit Determination, This function involves:

·         Pre-processing of tracking data, normally of range, Doppler and meteo type, but in certain occasions also delta-DOR,

·         Orbit determination proper.

·         Orbit propagation.

–             Rosetta Near Comet Orbit Determination and Determination of the Cometary Properties.

–             Interplanetary Trajectory Optimisation.

–             Routine Mission Planning Support.

–             AOCS Command Generation
This function deals with the generation of commands and command parameters for the AOCMS. It covers commanding of e.g.:

·         RW de-saturation activities.

·         S/C ephemerides.

·         S/C autonomous guidance parameters.

·         Attitude guidance and mode switches for P/L pointing activities.

·         Delta-V manoeuvre parameters.

–             Actuators and Control Systems Calibration.

–             Attitude Determination and O/B Systems Monitoring and Verification. This includes, e.g.:

·         Regular monitoring of H/K TM.

·         Check of the health of actuators and sensors and their performance.

·         Verification of the correct sequence of operations.

·         Verification of pointing performance of the S/C.

·         Verification of start tracker coverage and health of the instrument.

–             Optical Sensors Calibration. This covers for instance:

·         Alignment calibration of star trackers and navigation cameras.

–             Flexible Dynamics Monitoring and Analysis. This involves investigation of possible effects of flexible dynamics on the S/C.

–             Evaluation and Reporting.

–             Participation in tests and simulations.


S/W Maintenance

The software maintenance includes the four steps: familiarization with the existing algorithms, implementation of the updates, testing and finally documenting the changes.


Software updates are required to meet the following objectives:

–             Improvement of existing algorithms: corrections, updates, and extensions.

–             React to modifications/changes of functionality or interfaces in operational software.

–             React to new requirements, adding new features to the software.

–             Adaptation of software to changes of the environment, such as upgrade of the operating system, compiler versions, support layer elements or commercial products. 


The work covers the following pre-launch Solo and Exomars development activities for:

–             Studies for the operational FD software

–             Mission Planning Support

–             Orbit Determination

–             Trajectory Optimisation

–             ACS Command Generation

–             ACS Calibration

–             Auxiliary Data and Experimenters Support (TBD).

 The implementation of the FD operational software shall, as far as possible, make reuse of  existing software that has been developed for missions which are supported by the IMS section, i.e. Rosetta, Mars Express, Venus Express, Smart-1.

Software shall be implemented in close cooperation of the contractors with the responsible ESA staff.

Required Start Date

1. January 2012




Submission Deadline




ESOC, Darmstadt


Technical Requirements

In-depth familiarity with applied mathematics, especially vector/matrix algebra, and numerical integration techniques

–             Sound knowledge of physics, especially mechanics

–             Familiarity with Flight Dynamics operations (operational experience) with emphasis on orbital dynamics

–             Prior experience with production of Flight Dynamics documentation and software systems.

–             High sense of operational responsibility

–             experience with UNIX,  FORTRAN 77/95, Matlab or Mathematica

–             Familiarity with Sun/Solaris and previous FD operational experience, especially Low Earth Orbit operations, are definite assets

Academic Requirements

A university degree in mathematics, physics, engineering or equivalent with high grades.

Specific Requirements

You must be able to conduct all activities in an orderly and disciplined manner, shall be able to work calmly and correctly under stress and must be able to work with the minimum of supervision.

The working language for the activities covered by this post is English and therefore the Contractor must be able to work effectively in this language and have knowledge of the other.


Background information


Solar Orbiter is an mission to the Sun. It consists of a single spacecraft which will orbit the Sun in a moderately elliptical orbit, using a suite of advanced Remote-Sensing and In-Situ instruments to perform a detailed observation of the Sun and surrounding space.

ExoMars mission consists in performing in-situ experiments on the surface of Mars. Moreover, ExoMars will demonstrate the technology for safe Entry, Descent and Landing of a large size spacecraft on Mars, the surface mobility and access to subsurface material.

ROSETTA mission has as a target the comet Churiumov-Gerasimenko. It is current in hibernation. It will “wake up” middle 2013 and reach the comet in 2014.

Mars Express was launched in 2003. The objective of the mission is the remote observation of Mars by means of seven payload instruments.

Venus Express is ESA's first mission to Venus. It was launched in 2005. Its platform is based on Mars Express.

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