Scientific activities / projects

Algorithm development for topographic mapping of Venus with SAR interferometry

Starting date


Duration of contract

3 years


up to German TVöD 14

Type of employment

Full-time (part-time possible)

The Remote Sensing Technology Institute develops signal processing algorithms for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and software processors for ground segments in order to process the instrument raw data from the German Earth observation satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X as well as the European SAR missions Sentinel-1 etc. into precise remote sensing products. As part of the VERITAS project, the institute is developing a processor together with JPL/NASA (USA) to process radar data from a future Venus mission. This is intended to generate a complete interferometric Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of Venus. This processor is based on existing processors that have already been used on Earth, but Venus has special conditions, such as the absence of GPS and significant atmospheric density and temperature. Therefore, the effects of these conditions need to be analysed and, as a result, significant adjustments to the algorithms need to be made. Also, the systems to be developed must be adapted to low data rates and on-board pre-processing.

The field of activity extends in detail to:

  • development of algorithms for SAR interferometry and digital elevation models:
    • literature research and assessment of scientific publications on the subject area
    • development of new mathematical methods for SAR interferometry and interferometric DEM generation that go beyond the current state of scientific knowledge and span fundamentally different disciplines, in particular the following points:
      • scientific analysis of the previously unexplored special wave propagation conditions for bi-static SAR remote sensing in the Venus atmosphere, taking into account the latest findings in planetology and meteorology.
      • development of mathematical models and hypotheses for new algorithms to take into account the special physics of wave propagation
      • determination of coordinates on Venus with modern geodesy and astronomical orbit determination methods
      • simulation of data to test the hypotheses and models
      • critically discuss the hypotheses and models and agree with the NASA project scientists on the processing algorithms to be used.
    • development of algorithms for the global mosaicking of individual data sets into a global elevation model of Venus
    • implementing the procedures in prototypes and testing them
    • coding of the procedures in efficient code (e.g. Python, parallel C++)
    • publications of own research work
    • presentation at conferences and publications in journals
  • project tasks in the VERITAS mission:
    • documentation of algorithms and results in English for international cooperation with JPL/NASA
    • close coordination with the project partners in terms of scheduling and content as well as representation of the project contributions in reviews and project meetings
    • verification and end-to-end testing of the processing systems

Your qualifications:

  • completed scientific university studies (university diploma/Master's degree) in electrical engineering, communications engineering, physics or a comparable subject area
  • knowledge of the programming languages C, C++, Python or comparable languages
  • several years of experience in algorithm development for SAR interferometry with high computing power and high data volume
  • very good command of English language
  • several years of practical experience in scientific work or completed PhD as well as publications are desirable

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 unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Thomas Fritz
Remote Sensing Technology Institute

Phone: +49 8153 28-3330

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Prof. Dr. Michael Eineder
Remote Sensing Technology Institute

Phone: +49 8153 28-1396

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Vacancy 80988

HR department Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR site Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute

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