Flight Software Engineer

Job Req ID:  17090
Closing Date:  3 January 2023 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality
Publication:  Internal & External
Vacancy Type:  Permanent
Date Posted:  23 November 2022


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


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  



If selected for this position, you will join the Flight Software Systems Section, a group of around 20 highly motivated experts in embedded software for space systems. The Section provides technical support for the development, functional verification and validation of the on-board software for all missions and satellites at ESA, including space science, human and robotic exploration, Earth observation, telecommunications and integrated applications, navigation, space transportation, space engineering and technology, operations and space safety. The Section contributes to the success of ESA missions such as Rosetta, Galileo, Juice, Earth Observation Sentinel missions, meteorological missions and many others.

The Section is also responsible for defining, initiating and managing technology research and development (R&D) activities in its field of expertise to ensure that future missions use state-of-the-art technologies efficiently to guarantee the quality necessary for space systems and to enable increased functionality in a properly verified manner (covering subjects such as software verification and validation methods and processes, modern software architectures and frameworks, new generation processors, model-based engineering, etc.). 

The Section also actively participates in standardisation activities by influencing the evolution of the various applicable standards and ensuring their proper application in ESA projects.


As a Flight Software Engineer, you will, in cooperation with ESA teams and various industrial partners, participate in the specification, design, development and testing of the real-time embedded software used on board ESA spacecraft. Your challenge will be twofold: supporting multiple programmes across ESA, from definition phase until launch, in monitoring the relevant industrial activities, and defining and implementing R&D activities. Your specific responsibilities will fall into the following categories:
Project support: 
-    You will work within ESA project teams, along with satellite and instrument system engineers, providing specialist technical support for real-time embedded software systems, including flight software and the corresponding development and validation facilities.
-    You will perform the technical monitoring of the software development life cycle, including independent verification of industrial outputs, reviews and acceptance.
-    You will closely follow up the various functional verification and validation activities at satellite, subsystem and unit level.
-    You will support software system-related activities.
-    You will participate in evaluating industrial proposals and in project reviews.

Technology activities: 
-    You will participate in defining and implementing the technology programmes within the Section's domain of competence, in particular concerning software architectures, verification and validation, and modern engineering methods and tools to improve the development and verification processes for embedded software.
-    You will contribute to the dissemination of the results of activities performed and knowledge transfer across the Agency. 

Standardisation activities:
-    You may be called upon to contribute to standardisation activities in the software systems domain.

Technical competencies

Experience in real-time embedded software
Experience in software development projects
Experience in functional verification and validation activities
Knowledge of spacecraft systems
A good understanding of modern software engineering methods and tools, R&D trends and the industrial landscape
Knowledge of all phases of the software development life cycle
Experience in managing and monitoring industrial activities, including participation in reviews, would be considered an asset
Experience with space engineering standards and their implementation

Behavioural competencies

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


A master’s degree in computer science, electronics engineering, space systems engineering, telecommunications or a related discipline is required.

Additional requirements

-    Strong experience in real-time embedded software (e.g. SPARC LEON processors, ARM, RISC-V, multicore platforms, IMA/TSP, RTOS, etc.)

-    Knowledge of all phases of the software development life cycle (e.g. requirements engineering, design, coding, V&V, functional validation at system level, support for operations, agile methodology, etc.)

-    Strong experience in software development projects (e.g. C/C++, Ada and assembly programming languages, software development environments, software validation facilities, and ground testbed and support equipment)

-    Proven experience in functional verification and validation activities (e.g. specification and development of test means and simulation models; definition of test plans, test specifications and test procedures; functional validations performed on avionics and instrument test benches; support for system validation test campaigns, etc.)

-    Spacecraft systems knowledge and experience with software development for satellite platforms and/or payloads (e.g. experience with avionics subsystems and integrated flight hardware) 

-    Proven experience in managing and monitoring industrial activities (e.g. drafting statements of work, user specifications, proposal evaluation, supplier interactions, monitoring progress and quality, acceptance, etc.) 

-    Proven experience with space software engineering standards and their application, or equivalent standards in other domains (experience with specific standards and guidelines such as ECSS-E-ST-40C, ECSS-Q-ST-80C, ISVV guide, ECSS-E-ST-70-41C, ECSS-E-ST-10C, ECSS handbooks and Savoir specifications would be an additional asset)

-    A good understanding of modern software engineering methods and tools, R&D trends and the industrial landscape (e.g. verification and validation methods and tools, code generation tools, model-based software engineering, agile development approaches, etc.)

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 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 or balanced 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. 


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.

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.