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Sentinel-3 Next Generation Topography Payload Manager


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk
  • Grade: Mid level - A2/A4 - Grade band
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Physics and Mathematics
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed



Sentinel-3 Next Generation Topography Payload Manager

Job Requisition ID:  18567
Closing Date:  10 April 2024 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes
Publication:  Internal & External
Vacancy Type:  Permanent
Date Posted:  20 March 2024


Vacancy in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This post is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  


Payload Manager for the Copernicus Sentinel-3 Next Generation Topography mission.


If selected for this position, you will report to the Sentinel-6 and Sentinel-3 Next Generation Topography (NGT) Project Manager for all technical and programmatic matters and will work within the S6- and S3-NGT single project team. You will interface with and will receive support from other engineers of the project and will also receive specialized technical support from the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality (D/TEC).


You will be responsible for the development of the S3-NGT instruments, including the nadir and swath altimeters, the multi-beam microwave radiometer, the precise orbit determination receiver(s) and the passive laser retroreflector.


You will also be responsible for the development of the on-board payload data processing elements, as well as the on-ground prototype processors and the associated performance simulators. 


Your specific responsibilities and duties will include:


  • definition and maintenance of the Sentinel-3 NGT instrument requirements, ensuring coherence with the overall mission and system requirements and satellite performances and constraints;
  • management of industrial activities for the procurement of the Sentinel-3 NGT Instruments, including also related Ground Support Equipment and test facilities, in accordance with cost and schedule constraints;
  • definition and maintenance of the performance budgets in close coordination with other Project section managers and relevant external stakeholders;
  • definition and maintenance of the on-ground prototype processors and the associated performance simulator requirements;
  • management of the industrial activities for the procurement of the on-ground prototype processors and the associated performance simulators in accordance with cost and schedule constraints;
  • monitoring of the verification activities and the qualification and acceptance of the instruments and associated ground prototype processors and performance simulator elements;
  • management of the instrument-related configuration control activities, such as documentation control, deviations, non-conformance and waiver processing;
  • provision of support as required to other Project areas in order to ensure a consistent approach towards procurement, assembly, integration and verification at satellite level, and for preparation of the launch campaign and in-orbit operations;
  • provision of support for the preparation and execution of the instruments’ in-orbit commissioning;
  • management of the Payload Team, including the definition of day-to-day tasks and objectives as well as the setting of annual performance objectives and their assessment, including training needs, and ensuring the motivation and commitment of staff towards the Project’s goals;
  • provision of support to the Project Manager in the planning, cost control, risks management and mitigation and problems investigation and solving activities;
  • provision of support to general Project reporting tasks, such as monthly and QSR/QIR reporting, and other Department-level activities as required.


You will also be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.

Technical competencies

In-depth experience in the design, development, integration, verification, characterisation and testing of RF instruments.
Multidisciplinary technical knowledge of your area of responsibility, in particular for altimetry and/radiometer instruments. Knowledge of precise orbit determination payloads would be an asset.
Experience in calibration and commissioning in flight of Earth observation payloads and the related supporting activities.
In-depth experience in the management of industrial contracts, including procurement processes and application of product assurance standards.
Knowledge of industrial costs and schedule aspects

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


A master’s degree in a scientific or engineering discipline is required for this post.

Additional requirements

You should, in addition, have:


  • the potential to manage individuals or a team;
  • the ability to organise individual and team activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills;
  • the ability to drive your team’s performance, developing your 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 result 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;
  • excellent cognitive, analytical and delegation skills;
  • the ability to anticipate problems, resolve complex issues and relate situations to their context.


People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

Other information

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

For further information please visit: Professionals, What we offer and FAQ   


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.     


Applicants must be eligible to access technology and hardware which is subject to European and US export control regulations.


The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.


At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities.  Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace.  The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us 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, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia 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 conducted by an external background screening service. 


In principle, recruitment will be within the advertised grade band (A2-A4). However, if the selected candidate has less than four years of relevant professional experience following the completion of the master’s degree, the position may be filled at A1 level. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.


This vacancy is now closed.
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