Optoelectronics Engineer - Optical Communication

European Space Agency - ESA
Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Added: April 20, 2024

Optoelectronics Engineer - Optical Communication

Job Requisition ID: 18302

Closing Date: 6 May 2024 23:59 CET/CEST

Establishment: ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Directorate: Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality

Publication: Internal & External

Type of Contract: Fixed-Term

Date Posted: 15 April 2024

Vacancy in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

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 is a non-renewable post for a limited duration of four years and is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands


Optoelectronics Engineer in the Optoelectronics Section, Mechatronics and Optics Division, Mechanical Department, Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

  • The Optoelectronics Section provides functional support to ESA projects and carries out technological research and development (R&D) in the field of optoelectronic device technologies and applications.
  • In particular, the Optoelectronics Section deals with the specification, development and characterisation of photonic component subsystems and active optical instruments, such as detectors and lasers operating in the UV to FIR wavelength ranges, fibre-optic sensors, lidars, optical communication systems and quantum technologies.

For your first assignment, you will support projects in the Directorate of Connectivity and Secure Communications in the field of optical communications in ARTES, the European constellation of satellites for the secure connectivity programme, and the Optical Communications Strategic Programme Line (ScyLight), for example HydRON.

The assignment also includes the technical management of quantum, optoelectronic and photonic hardware technology development.


Reporting to the Head of Section and within the technical fields described above, your main tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • supporting system test validation and requirement verification of the HydRON demo system and subsystems;
  • supporting the development of critical technologies for the HydRON demo system (for ground and space segments) implemented in HydRON/ScyLight/ARTES;
  • assessing coding/time diversity techniques suitable for optical space/ground links;
  • networking simulations using the HydRON simulator testbed(s);
  • supporting HydRON laboratory activities (if the HydRON laboratory is finally implemented beyond the activities with the HydRON simulator testbed(s), such as ESTOL bench setup/ESTOL compatibility tests);
  • providing expert technical support and consultancy to ESA projects, programmes and general studies in the field of lasers and optical communications throughout all project phases;
  • participating in feasibility studies, project reviews and the evaluation of procurement proposals;
  • identifying critical development problems and assisting in their resolution;
  • contributing to the definition of technology development requirements and work plans for the Agency’s technology programmes;
  • defining, initiating and managing R&D activities covering both long- and short-term needs;
  • fostering new application areas for multidisciplinary activities, placing emphasis on innovative concepts, cutting-edge technologies and system architectures;
  • monitoring applicable scientific and technological trends and maintaining state-of-the-art expertise;
  • contributing to the dissemination of the results of the activities performed and the transfer of knowledge across the Agency.

Your duties may also include supporting other activities within your field of competence.

Technical competencies

Experience in optical communications (OISL and OGSL) and technologies

Expertise in communication system engineering, covering coding, time diversity and networking aspects

Experience In System-level Test Validation And Requirements Verification

Experience with optical laboratory and field testing of relevant technical equipment

Programming skills (MATLAB, Python, C++)

Understanding of related technologies, R&D trends and the industrial landscape

Experience with the design, development and application of relevant tools and methods

Project support experience in a relevant domain

Experience in the preparation of procurement activities for technology development and innovation (Statements of Work, proposal evaluation, etc.)

Experience in the management and monitoring of industrial activities, including participation in reviews

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation

Operational Efficiency

Fostering Cooperation

Relationship Management

Continuous Improvement

Forward Thinking


A master’s in optoelectronic engineering or physics is required. Preference will be given to applicants with a PhD.

Additional Requirements

  • At least five years of experience in optoelectronics engineering.
  • Experience in optical space communications or feeder links.
  • Experience in analysis of optical satellite communication links (link budgets analysis including atmospheric effects).
  • Experience in the pointing acquisition and tracking technologies for space and ground-based optical communication terminals.
  • Experience with optical communication transceivers and physical layer signal processing.

Additional assets:

  • Experience of quantum communications/quantum key distribution systems is an asset.
  • Knowledge of coding, modulation and transmission on optical communications to support discussions on the CCSDS format/protocol is an asset.
  • Knowledge of photonic telecom payloads with digital and microwave photonic links and microwave photonic signal processing is an asset.
  • Knowledge of time/frequency transfer by fibre optic and/or free-space optics is an asset.
  • Hands-on experience with guided-wave photonic components such as laser oscillators, amplifiers, photodetectors, optical frequency combs, modulators and passive interconnects, optical waveguides, coupler/splitters and optical isolators is a strong asset.

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.

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 at

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.