Embedded systems software engineer to work on ATHENA AIB

Thursday 18 Nov 21

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The Section for Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics at the Danish National Space Institute, DTU Space, seeks an embedded systems software engineer to work on the programming of the onboard electronics for ESA’s ATHENA mission. DTU Space develops instruments and detectors to be used in space for research in astrophysics, solar system physics and Earth observations. ATHENA will be ESA’s next x-ray observatory, with a planned launch in 2034. Currently, the x-ray detector group at DTU Space is working on the breadboard (BB) model of the ATHENA Wide Field Imager (WFI) Analogue Interface Board (AIB). The software engineer who will work on this project, will be hired on a non-time-limited contract and may later work on similar forthcoming projects at DTU Space.

Design of on-board software
The new software engineer will design, implement, and test the software for the AIB hardware that will mainly perform the following tasks:

  • Measure, package and transmit housekeeping data
  • Monitor, control and rotate the WFI filter wheel structure
  • Monitor and control the WFI detector temperature
  • Handle incoming telecommands and transmit outgoing telemetry

This functionality will be implemented on a GR716 - LEON3FT Microcontroller chip and will be tested using the AIB Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE), also being developed and manufactured at DTU Space. The new s/w engineer will also develop the existing EGSE software to expand its capabilities to run all the functional tests required for the AIB hardware and software.

To this end, the software engineer will be expected to design, implement, and test this software, according to the consolidated requirements. They will also write the documents, which are deliverable to ESA and the WFI consortium, describing the AIB-EM software and the upgraded EGSE software,

Relevant Experience
The new software engineer will be expected to have experience within the following areas:

  • Designing, coding and testing software for embedded systems in the C programming language.
  • Setting up software build systems using GCC-based toolchains in a Linux environment.
  • Using the Git version control system.
  • Setting up unit tests for software verification.
  • Defining and setting up functional tests for software validation.
  • Writing software documentation.
  • Writing scripts and custom modules in Python 3
  • Defining software requirements, design, planning and documentation
  • Knowledge of analog and digital electronics and signal conditions

Experience with space technology and protocols
While it would be an asset to have previous experience of the space protocols and formats that are required for the AIB project, the AIB group is prepared to provide necessary support and train the successful applicant in the following:

  • SpaceWire – an interface protocol used by ESA for communications between onboard instruments.
  • PUS – the service-based communications protocol also used by ESA.
  • CCSDS telemetry package formats and protocols
  • ESA software engineering standards and documentation

 The successful candidate should also be good at:

  • Reading, writing and understanding English at a high technical level
  • Working independently in a busy, interactive environment and participating actively in a large international collaboration
  • Following formal standards and procedures
  • Contributing actively to the evolving design and implementation of the AIB and its software
  • Writing specification, requirement, design and test documents in MS Word or LaTeX.

What we offer in return
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international atmosphere with the focus on research, teaching, innovation and scientific advice for the benefit of the surrounding community. We place emphasis on a high level of professionalism among our staff, so skills development is an integral part of our organization. In the area of technical and natural sciences, DTU is one of the leading technical research and education institutions in Europe. DTU Space has been actively involved in large international space missions for the last 30 years.

Salary and appointment terms
The position is rated at 37 hours per week. Your appointment conditions and salary will be based on the collective agreement between the Danish State and the Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).

The workplace will be at the DTU Lyngby Campus. Since a large part of the work is carried out in international cooperation, some travel activity can be expected, depending on future COVID restrictions.

Application and contact
Please submit your online application no later than 2 January 2022 (Danish time). Open the “Apply online” link, fill out the form and attach your motivated application, CV and exam certificates. 

Interviews will be conducted in January 2022.

If you would like additional information about the position, please contact Senior Scientific Consultant Carol Anne Oxborrow at oxborrow@space.dtu.dk

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation are encouraged to apply.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.