PLATO Engineer in Signal Processing position open at LESIA – Observatoire de Paris (Meudon)

PLATO Engineer open position on the development of the pipelines of the Science Ground Segment (SGS) for the PLATO space mission at LESIA – Observatoire de Paris

The pôle Étoiles at LESIA – Observatoire de Paris (France) invites applications for a software engineer or data scientist to take part in the development of the pipelines of the Science Ground Segment (SGS) of the PLATO ESA space mission.
The successful applicant will be involved in two parts of the SGS: upstream, the on-ground data processing chain which generates light curves from the instrument raw data, and downstream, the Stellar Analysis Pipeline, which produces the mission’s final stellar outputs (ultimately the stellar masses, radii and ages). On both sides, the work will consist in developing the simulations sets in order to perform design and algorithms tests.

Reference : UMR8109-SYLDES-031
Applications until: 08 June 2021
Expected date of employment: 1 September 2021
Where: LESIA – Observatoire de Paris, at the Meudon site (92, Haut de Seine, France)
Duration of the contract: 12 months (renewable for an additional year)
Proportion of work: Full time
Salary: Depending on experience between 2510€ and 3194€ gross per month
Desired level of education : 5-year university degree
Experience required: Indifferent

Job Tasks 

The on-ground processing chains for the raw mission data include a calibration part (in particular the modelling of the Point Spread Function – PSF), a photometric reduction part of the images and finally a part dealing with the correction of the on-board generated light curves. The definition of the associated algorithms is already well underway, and the PLATO Data Processing Algorithm Working Group (DPA-WG) is in the process of writing the so-called Algorithm Theoretical Baseline Definition (ATBD) documents. These documents will be delivered with the prototype codes and associated unit test sets. These materials will then be used by other PLATO Data Center teams (PDC, WP33) to develop the processing chains (onboard and ground). In this context, the work will consist on developing the simulation sets using the PLATOSim simulator (Marcos-Arenal et al, 2014) as well as some appropriated simulation tools and scripts.

Concerning the scientific analysis, the work will consist in defining – in collaboration with the experts- the test cases representing the thousands of stars (signal to noise, type of star) that PLATO will observe . Then for each test, simulations of the expected light curve will be built for observation periods of three months to two years. These simulated light curves will be generated with the PLATO Solar-like Light-curve Simulator (PSLS,; Samadi et al 2019). These simulations will be used to test the very complex prototype stellar analysis chain (SAS) that will provide the masses, radii and ages of PLATO stars. The architecture of the SAS stellar analysis chain is already defined and the prototype is almost built. Simulations will quickly be necessary to test in particular the different connections and the different options of the analysis chain according to the star considered and the assumed signal-to-noise ratio.

Profile’s requirements 

To carry out the work the skills/expertise in both computer science and general physics (more specifically – if possible – in the field of instrumentation and general astrophysics) is required.
The candidate must hold a doctorate in astrophysics (or in a similar subject: physics, or signal processing for example) or an engineering degree (including experience in astrophysics research or signal processing). The person will have experience in software writing and/or data analysis. A good knowledge of written and oral English is essential. Previous work experience in a context related to space research would be a plus. Experience in image data analysis and / or optics will be much appreciated. Knowing the Python and C/C ++ languages would be a plus, as well as a practice of collaborative development tools (e.g. Git).

The candidate must appreciate teamwork and agree to travel within Europe to visit different partners, if sanitary conditions allow it.
Depending on the sanitary situation next September, it is possible that the work will first start in a hybrid way (partly remote and partly face-to-face), which may make the training phase less optimal.

How to apply 

The application shall be submitted on
Applications are being solicited now and a first review will be conducted starting from the beginning of June.

Full details can be found in the Job Offer webpage.


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