J3292 XMM Newton Instrument Operations Scientist



A great opportunity for an astronomer, experienced in space observatories and space borne instrument calibration, to work for Telespazio VEGA onsite at ESAC for a fixed term contract role starting February 2020.


The scientist will work in the XMM-Newton Users Support Group (USG) supporting the scientific users of the mission, from proposal submission until the analysis of their data for scientific interpretation.

Responsibilities / Duties

The successful candidate may be involved in any of the following tasks:

  • Supporting the Observing Time Allocation Committee (OTAC), performing technical reviewing of incoming observation proposals.
  • Optimising the observations of accepted proposals, assisting astronomers in the set-up of instruments to carry out desired observations, and ensure the safety of the instruments.
  • Maintaining user support documentation, and helpdesk service.
  • Long-term mission planning, ensuring that all high priority observations are performed. Maintenance and regularly updating a long term observing plan –  including arranging coordinated observations with other observatories
  • Overseeing the scheduling process, and the scheduling of Targets of Opportunity, supporting, or replacing, the scientific scheduler. In case of special astronomical events the schedule of observations may have to be changed at short notice. Therefore one community support scientist must always be contactable, including outside normal office hours, through an on-call service (rota basis).
  • Calibrating and monitoring scientific instruments.
  • Participating in activities related to the systematic processing of all scientific mission data, in order to produce high-level products for direct use by the scientific community.
  • Providing user requirements for the Science Archive, checking their implementation, monitoring and improving performance and use by the community and interacting with the Scientific Archives Team at ESAC.
  • Performing scientific research using available scientific tools – where time allows, and as determined by ESA line management.

Qualifications / Experience

  • Ph.D. or equivalent in astrophysics, physics or mathematics or related field, in the later cases with an astrophysical orientation.

Essential Skills

  • A  background in Astronomical research, preferably in X-ray astronomy
  • Good command of commonly used astronomical software, including IDL.
  • Experience with X-ray specific software tools – XMM SAS, XSPEC or FTOOLS.
  • Knowledge of the XMM-Newton instruments
  • Comfortable using computers and modern operating systems, possibly having developed small software programs to support routine tasks.


  • Experience, and comfort, working in an international environment.
  • Strong communication, relationship building, management and team working skills
  • Good planning and organisational skills.
  • Fluent in English

Further Details        

All roles within Telespazio VEGA have a defined closing date, however if a successful candidate is found before the advert expires the role will be closed early.  We would therefore advise any candidate to apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Closing Date for applications is 12th January 2020.

Location of the position is ESAC, Spain

To apply: Please send your CV and covering letter to careers@telespazio.com

By sending your CV to careers@telespazio.com you give your consent for Telespazio VEGA to hold and process your personal information for the purpose of the application.


Competitive Package covering salary, generous holiday allowance, training plan and more


In line with Asylum & Immigration Legislation, all applicants must be eligible to live and work in the EU. Documented evidence of eligibility will be required from candidates as part of the recruitment process. Furthermore, in view of the nature of the work the company is in, all potential employees will undergo stringent reference and identity checks.

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