Software Engineer for GAIA

  • Software Engineer for GAIA

    Deadline for applications 29/03/2019

    For one of our main clients, ESA/ESAC, we are recruiting a Software Engineer to provide support to the Science Directorate at ESAC in Madrid, Spain, to join their Operations Division.

Job overview

The European Space Agency is ATGs biggest client. They are an international organisation with 22 member states with sites in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, UK and Belgium. ESA is Europes gateway to Space!

Gaia Data Release 3 - as per current planning to appear in two stages in mid-2020 (EDR3) and 2nd half of 2021 (DR3) - will be substantially larger in data volume and much richer in content compared to previous public releases. DPACs CU8 will for the first time contribute, for a large number of stars, astrophysical parameters (effective temperatures, surface gravities, stellar radii etc) that have been computed from various data processing products of other CUs (e.g. photometry from CU5, variability information from CU7).The validation of such data represents a formidable technical challenge in terms of hardware and database resources as well as needing specific expertise in data mining, data modelling, data querying and related topics all with an astrophysical and Gaia-specific emphasis. The main objective of the requested service is to build and operate a data validation support platform which will allow CU8 scientists to carry out all needed validation activities in preparation for DR3. Once this key objective has been met the service is expected to shift towards supporting on-going efforts within the Gaia SOC to provide state-of-the-art data mining capabilities for DR3 end-users.

Tasks & Responsibilities

  • Build and operate a data validation support platform for CU8:- Formulating requirements for the envisaged validation platform in close interaction with CU8 and SOC personnel;
  • - Defining the hardware and software environment needed to fulfil the requirements of the CU8 validation system;
  • - Supporting the process of purchasing the needed resources for the platform;
  • - Supporting the deployment of the validation platform;
  • - Aiding CU8 in defining data models and data mapping rules;
  • - Supporting CU8 scientists in all activities related to their usage of the provided platform;
  • - Pro-actively advising CU8 scientists in optimizing validation strategies;
  • Contribute to provision of state-of-the-art data mining capabilities for DR3 end-users:- Find synergies within the data mining needs internal to CU8 and CU9 validation groups;
  • - Develop, in close cooperation and under the authority of the CU9 data mining lead, the CU8 and CU9 internal services into a unified framework with front-end portal to provide data mining services ultimately to the end-users;
  • Maintenance of existing code modules such as MDB, AGIS, IDT and GaiaTools java Library as requested;
  • Database administration for Cache/MySQL, portioning of storage and analysis of disk space usage;
  • Aid in the creation of the first astrometric solution (L+22m);
  • Populating the operational AGIS processing DB with IDT and all needed auxiliary data;
  • Starting the AGIS run;
  • Monitoring the execution of the run from a technical and scientific viewpoint;
  • In case of problems, diagnose their cause and implement rectifying actions.


  • PhD or Msc in Engineering from a recognised Institution of secondary studies or equivalent with minimum 4 years of relevant experience;
  • Experience working in an international environment;
  • Excellent communication skills - notably in interfacing with different stakeholders with diverse backgrounds (for example Scientists);
  • Knowledge and software engineering experience in, Python and Java. Knowledge of HTML5, CSS and Javascript, for development of the data mining front-end, is an asset;
  • Knowledge of and practical experience with managing relational database management systems serving TB-scale datasets, specifically knowledge of PostgreSQL;
  • Knowledge of and, ideally experience with, state-of-the-art data mining concepts and related technologies, including practical experience with Apache Spark;
  • Knowledge of Jupyter Notebook, Jupyter Lab and Jupyter Hub frameworks, their APIs and kernels;
  • Experience in working with large astronomical data sets.

What do we offer

ATG Europe offers excellent working conditions and provides you with all the necessary means to further your career. We believe that training and education, combined with regular assessments and a personal development plan, will create the best environment for growth. If needed we also assist you with settling in your new home or finding the right school for your children. ATG will help in any way it can, including a relocation budget that is applicable for ATG staff as well as employees working at one of our clients.