Mars Express Spacecraft Operations Engineer



Mars Express

Required Start Date



Until December 2014

Submission Deadline



ESOC -Darmstadt

Technical Requirements

Services to be provided

The Mars Express Mission Control Team requires a Spacecraft Operations Engineer (SOE) to provide support primarily for Mission Planning and AOCS operations (about 50% each).

The SOE shall perform  tasks necessary to Planning Operations in Mars Orbit:

  • Contribute to the generation of  routine mission planning products;
  • Contribute to the process of the medium-term planning cycle in interaction with Flight Dynamics and resource management SOEs (power, thermal, stations);
  • Support the interfaces of mission planning within ESOC, with the Science Operations Centre, which is part of the ESAC Science Ground Segment, and with the scientific community;
  • Contribute to the development and/or maintenance of mission planning tools: specification and validation of externally-procured tools; programming for evolution of internal tools;
  • Follow up anomalies, test upgrades and new configurations of the Mission Planning tools.

The SOE shall regularly support the AOCS Prime engineer:

  • Routine and special operations of the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS)
  • Monitor performance of AOCS sub-system and units ( AOCS actuators and sensors). In particular, take an active role in definition and execution of regular swaps of AOCS units.
  • Validate updated/new AOCS items on the spacecraft simulator, and improve procedures.
  • Contribute to AOCS studies, together with ad-hoc tool development or tuning, in view of analysing the past performance and preparing critical phases or mission extension.

In addition, the SOE will be occasionally expected to contribute to other Flight Operations:

  • Checking and loading of routine operations products to the spacecraft, on a rotation basis;
  • Contribute to documentation and reporting of mission operations;
  • Provide on-call support for spacecraft and mission planning;
  • Provide engineering and operations support for designated payload elements;
  • Assist the Chief Mission Planner and / or Spacecraft Operations Manager in adapting operations concepts for science operations planning, if required by mission evolution.

Academic Requirements

Suitable candidates should hold a University degree in Engineering, Science or a related subject and preferably have some experience in spacecraft operations and/or flight dynamics modelling, mission planning and/or space science.

Specific Requirements

Candidates should be systems-minded and have a good understanding of general space mission constraints (data, power, attitude, thermal etc), as well as of related spacecraft hardware and software, in particular for AOCS.   

Candidates should have a good level of computer skills, and experience with UNIX and/or LINUX operating systems; capability to manage and operate planning processes and tools in a systematic and configuration-controlled manner  is mandatory; interest to maintain and improve the custom planning tools (languages XML, Java,  PERL, UNIX scripts) would be of significant advantage, as well as proficiency with mathematical packages (eg. MatLab) and visualisation tools (eg. Celestia).

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