Scientific activities / projects

Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) Systems

Starting date

14 August 2017

Duration of contract

3 years


according to German TVöD 13

Type of employment


Your mission:

The Institute of Space Systems in Bremen designs and analyses future spacecraft and space missions (launchers, orbital and exploration systems, and satellites), and assesses them with regard to their technical performance and cost. It applies state-of-the-art methods of multi-disciplinary engineering in system design and analysis – for example, a computerised system for concurrent design. The Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) Systems Department focuses on the capability to analyse, design, develop, implement, simulate, test, and verify attitude and orbit control systems (AOCS) / guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) systems for space applications and their components. This involves a range of disciplines, including requirements management, system engineering, algorithm development, software implementation, systems analysis/simulation/verification, and hardware-in-the-loop testing. The GNC Systems department is also conducting research and development of promising and strategic technologies for AOCS and GNC systems.

The navigation group works within the field of research and development of space navigation sensors and space navigation systems. Our goal is to provide the optimum navigation systems for selected space applications. We focus on navigation by sensor fusion, in which the data of multiple sensors is combined in order to achieve the best possible result. Within the frame of our work, this generally means the fusion of data from an inertial measurement unit (IMU) with data from other types of sensors. The core area of our work is the definition and implementation of the actual navigation architecture; which is an iterative process of modelling, simulation, sensitivity analysis, testing, etc.

Our current work includes, for instance, the development of a tightly-coupled INS/GNSS navigation system for space transportation systems. A second important key element of our research activities is in the field of optical navigation. Here, we strive to create a navigation system which allows an autonomous, safe, and precise landing of spacecraft on planetary bodies such as the Moon, Mars, or asteroids. In this area, we have developed a world-leading technology for the autonomous estimation of absolute position and attitude of a spacecraft with respect to other planetary bodies.

Furthermore, our department maintains various laboratories in which we perform hardware-in-the-loop testing for the continuous development of our navigation sensors and systems.

Your tasks include:

  • development of strapdown integration algorithms for inertial measurements in scenarios such as space transportation, operation in the vicinity of Earth and other planetary bodies, and landing on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids
  • development of navigation filters/data fusion algorithms with the focus on the combination of inertial measurements and measurements of GNSS receivers, cameras, star trackers, altimeters, Sun sensors, etc.
  • modelling of realistic environments, dynamics, and sensor signals
  • full characterization of inertial sensors
  • integration and utilization of sensors such as cameras, IMUs, etc. in a real-time environment
  • project/activity results documentation, presentation, and publication
  • commitment to group activities such as maintenance and development of laboratories, development and improvement of procedures, knowledge management, or acquisition of external funding

Your qualifications:

  • successfully completed university degree on master's level or equivalent in the domain of aerospace, electrical engineering, mechatronics, computer science, applied mathematics
  • PhD in the area of INS/GNSS navigation is an advantage
  • practical experience in methods of sensor data fusion and state estimation (Kalman-Filter)
  • knowledge in the area of inertial navigation and GNSS navigation
  • ideally practical experience with methods of inertial navigation: Modelling of space vehicle dynamics in the vicinity of Earth and other planetary bodies; Modelling of inertial sensors (accelerometers and gyros); Strapdown integration algorithm implementation for measurements of inertial sensors in several types of reference frames (Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed, Inertial, Local, etc.); Estimation of sensor parameters
  • experience in modelling complementary sensors such as GNSS receivers, cameras, star trackers, altimeters, Sun sensors is desirable
  • preferably experience in methods of parameter estimation
  • experience in handling hardware is welcome
  • good programming skills in C, C++, MATLAB/Simulink
  • fluent in written and spoken English, ideally in connection with abroad experience
  • peer-reviewed scientific publications which are relevant to your tasks listed above are desirable
  • ideally experience in supervision of bachelor’s or master’s theses

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. We are striving to increase the proportion of female employees and therefore particularly welcome applications from women. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential treatment.

Technical contact

Hans Krüger
Institute of Space Systems

Phone: +49 421 24420-1126

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Vacancy 08181

HR department Braunschweig

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DLR site Bremen

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DLR Institute of Space Systems

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