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System and Operations Manager for MetOp-SG

European Space Agency

Full-time position

Location: ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Category: Mission Design and Operations
Published on: Nov 14, 2018 - 2018


Meteorological Operational Second Generation (MetOp-SG) System and Operations Manager in the MetOp-SG Project Division of the Earth Observation Projects Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


MetOp-SG is an operational meteorological programme established in cooperation with Eumetsat, with ESA being responsible for the definition and development of the space segment and, on behalf of Eumetsat, for the procurement of the recurrent satellites.

Reporting to the MetOp-SG Programme Manager, the postholder will be responsible for the System and Operations aspects of the MetOp-SG space segment design, ensuring full coherence with the MetOp-SG mission requirements and operational interfaces, and consistency with the MetOp-SG financial framework.

The main tasks and responsibilities include:

  • defining, consolidating and maintaining MetOp-SG satellites system requirements, ensuring coherence with Eumetsat mission and operations requirements;
  • coordinating with other MetOp-SG teams (e.g. Payload, Engineering) to ensure consistency of requirements, designs, testing and performance (including end-to-end instrument performance) with system-level needs;
  • liaising with the Eumetsat counterpart to ensure that the respective system and operations activities are efficiently and optimally aligned;
  • managing industrial activities for System and Operations aspects;
  • assessing and reviewing space segment architecture and design, including identification and analysis of options, trade-offs, design drivers, etc.;
  • critical analysis and maintenance of all system and satellite budgets and performance levels, and timely instigation of corrective actions where necessary;
  • managing the accommodation and satellite-to-instrument interfaces of third-party-provided instruments onboard MetOp-SG;
  • in cooperation with Eumetsat, defining and maintaining the technical and operability interfaces between the space segment and Eumetsat ground segment and contributing to relevant requirements documents;
  • defining and maintaining functional requirements for satellite simulator(s), RF suitcases, etc.;
  • critical reviewing and analysis of all aspects related to onboard software definition and validation to ensure the required observability, operability and maintainability needs are met;
  • monitoring and guiding definition and development of the MetOp-SG Operations concept (covering both nominal and contingency);
  • ensuring timely availability of all documentation and information (Flight Operations Manuals, procedures, databases, support tools, etc.) as required to support the development of the Eumetsat MetOp-SG monitoring and control centre;
  • ensuring a rigorous approach to system and performance validation, including flight operations procedures and databases during satellite system validation testing;
  • managing the System and Operations team, defining day-to-day tasks and objectives, setting annual performance objectives and assessing performance (including training needs), ensuring staff motivation and commitment to project goals.


In carrying out these tasks, the postholder will coordinate closely with other Section Heads, support Directorates (e.g. Technical & Quality Management) and Eumetsat to ensure a common understanding and coherent approach. The postholder will report regularly to the Programme Manager on the implementation of these tasks, and will escalate programmatic, technical or personnel issues as appropriate.

Technical competencies

System engineering

ESA space systems procurement, development and verification processes and standards (incl. code of best practices and project reviews)

Management and delivery of space systems development projects within cost and schedule

Experience of managing technical interfaces between subsystems both within ESA project team environment and for the industrial consortium

Experience in spacecraft and/or payload operations including definition, analysis and implementation of Failure Mode and Recovery concepts

Experience in satellite in-orbit commissioning and performance verification methodologies

Experience in multi-agency cooperative programmes

Leadership competencies

Driving performance

Developing & motivating people

Fostering cooperation & effective team-working

Behavioural competencies

Responsible Decision-Making

Problem Solving

Planning & Organisation




Applicants for this post should have a Master’s degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant physical sciences or engineering subject.

Additional requirements

Proven experience in the area of Systems Engineering is required.

In addition, candidates should have:

  • the potential to manage individuals or a team in a project;
  • the ability to organise their activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills;
  • the ability to drive their team’s performance, developing their people by encouraging learning, delegating responsibility and giving regular and constructive feedback;
  • strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills;
  • a strong results orientation with the ability to set priorities and present practical solutions both orally and in writing;
  • the ability to manage challenging situations proactively and constructively and to be customer focused.


Previous people management experience is an asset for the position, as is international experience, i.e. outside the candidate’s home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to the activities of ESA.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.   

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.   

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests. 

The closing date for applications is 12 December 2018.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada and Slovenia.

According to the ESA Convention the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States. (

In accordance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment. 

Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

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