PhD: Deployable Space Telescope System Engineering

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Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2801 per maand

Thermal-mechanical bottom-up systems engineering


The ambitious research for a Deployable Space Telescope (DST) started in February 2015 with a PhD SE (system engineer) working on an end-to-end model of the opto-electronic system design. Meanwhile, five MSc students are working on the thermo-mechanical system design in compliance with the overall SE approach. This part of the research is done with a joint team at ADS Leiden. The goal is a derived breadboard design to be launched as demonstrator "piggy back" on a VEGA launch in two years. The current healthy bottom-up versus top-down system design status facilitates an enlargement of the team with a PhD to shape the thermo-mechanical SE of the concept. We envisage scaling the technology down to a 400-litre volume and 75 kg of mass, paving the way to cheap, innovative applications within the space sector. The main deliverables of the research are: 1) Study of the thermo-mechanical system design; 2) Pushing critical TRL levels associated with the overall DST SE budget compliance; 3) Design and optimisation of the full system; 4) Manufacturing and test of the most critical components of the system at the required miniaturisation level. To model the system and its components we will use our specialised software suite.
The PhD candidate will be supervised by J.M. Kuiper as DST SE manager. The candidate will also work closely with the opto-electrical PhD SE. The candidate will have the opportunity for short stays at collaborating institutions.


Applicants should have a Master degree from a renowned institution in mechanical, aerospace, energy or control engineering, or another technical area deemed relevant for the proposed research programme. Strong motivation, creativity, and proactivity are required. The PhD position is focused on analytical and modelling work, with a final part centred on laboratory experiments. Capacity for complex theoretical interpretation of results is required. Good interpersonal communication skills are necessary in order to properly integrate into the fairly large, diverse and international team. Applicants must be fluent in English (English supervision).


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

For more information, please contact J.M. (Hans) Kuiper, phone: +31 (0)15-2783983, e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and letter of application by 30 April 2017 to Ms. Debby van der Sande,
When applying, please refer to vacancy number LR17-14.
If your MsC diploma and transcript are not in Dutch, English, French or German and you will be the selected candidate, the TU Delft will ask you to deliver a certified translation.

Additional information

J. M. (Hans) Kuiper
+31 (0)15-2783983

Technische Universiteit Delft


Delft University of Technology (the TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. The TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At the TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. The TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools. Aerospace Engineering The Department of Space Engineering provides premier European education and research in space engineering. The Department consists of two research groups: Astrodynamics and Space Missions, and Space Systems Engineering. It runs an integrated research programme comprising miniaturisation, distributed space systems, mission analysis and orbits, space propulsion, ascent and re-entry, and planetary exploration.

The research activities will be conducted in the Space Systems Engineering group. The Space Systems Engineering chair provides unique and recognised education, research and engineering of end-to-end space systems. One of the core research topics within the chair is space instrumentation for small satellites in strong cooperation with the Dutch space industry: ADS Leiden, TNO Space and ESA.


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