Research Associate in Space Debris Research
University of Bern Institute of Astronomy

Research Associate position
Space Debris Research / Space Situational Awareness

The Optical Astronomy group of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) has a world-leading position in the domain of optical surveys and characterization of space debris. AIUB operates the Zimmerwald Observatory equipped with a 1-m multi-purpose astronomical telescope (ZIMLAT) and five additional telescopes with apertures ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 meters. AIUB participates in several civilian space debris tracking networks such as the International Scientific Optical Observation Network (ISON) and the DLR-AIUB network of small robotic telescopes SMARTnet. With its research focus on space debris, space surveillance, and space situational awareness (SSA), the group is deeply involved in various ESA-funded studies, per- forms space debris surveys with the ESA 1-m telescope at Tenerife on behalf of ESA, and operates the ESA Expert Centre for optical and laser observations.

The successful candidate will be responsible for the AIUB participation in ESA-funded studies on space debris, space surveillance and space situational awareness with major focus on optical observations. He/she will be responsible for the preparation of study proposals and for the project management. In addition, he/she will be required to actively participate in the planning, data acquisition and processing of space debris observations for the Zimmerwald Observatory and for the ESA's 1m telescope in Tenerife/Spain.

  • Active work on ESA studies on space debris, space surveillance and space situational awareness
  • participation in the operation of the ESA Expert Centre
  • Preparation and leading ESA studies, project management
  • Software engineering, including architecture and algorithm design, coding, software integration and tests
  • Assist in education of bachelor and master and PhD students
  • University degree (PhD or master or equivalent) in astronomy, physics, mathematics, aero- space engineering, geodesy, or a similar discipline
  • Proven experience of working in project-driven environments
  • Demonstrated computer skills
  • Capability to work independently and timely, as well as in small and large (geographically distributed) teams, enjoying to participate actively in meetings of international teams and to present complex research matter concisely and appealingly (oral and written)
  • Willingness to work occasionally according to astronomical constraints (nightshifts, weekends)
  • Fluent English
We offer
Salary based on the regulations of the university and the canton of Bern. The initial contract will be limited to one year, with the option to extend the contract after the first year.

Head of the Optical Astronomy Group
Prof. Dr. Thomas Schildknecht
+41.31.684.85 94

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