Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Graduate Test Engineer – NSTF Electromagnetics - STFC

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20000012 Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

STFC’s space science and technology department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, RAL Space, carries out a broad range of world class space research and development.  We’ve had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and operate at the very forefront of UK space research being a leading member of the Space Cluster at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.  Find out more about the STFC RAL Space Development and Test facility here: https://www.youtube.com/user/RALSpaceSTFC

The UK has invested £99M in the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF), in construction at Harwell.  The addition of the NSTF will provide a world class set of facilities for the assembly, integration and test of space payloads and satellites in one location.  The facility will conduct vibration, acoustic, pyro-shock, thermal vacuum, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and antenna testing of payloads up to 7 tonnes within clean room conditions.  The NSTF construction is anticipated to finish during the summer of 2021.  It will then begin a 12-month commissioning phase prior to commencing operations in 2022.

The operation of RAL Space’s new and existing environmental test facilities is the responsibility of the Environmental Test Division (ETD) which is expanding to support the transition to operations of the NSTF and this position is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the commissioning and operation of the new EMC and antenna test facility as part of the Electromagnetics (EM) group.  The EM facility comprises a 17 m x 17 m area by 14 m high fully shielded anechoic chamber for EMC testing and includes a 12 m x 12 m planar near-field scanner operating over a frequency range of 500 MHz to 75 GHz for antenna characterisation.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The key duties of the graduate test engineer will be to aid in the commissioning of the EM facility and then perform testing of payloads and satellites within the NSTF.  There will be opportunities for cross-training in the other ETD facilities and exposure to the work of the RAL Space department and beyond.

The graduate test engineer will work under the direction and supervision of an experienced test engineer for test activities.  We will operate the facilities and carry-out the tests to relevant European space standards (ECSS).  The graduate test engineer will be introduced to these standards and their resulting procedures.  As the training develops, more autonomy will be given, and less direct supervision will be required.  This may mean acting as the responsible test engineer on smaller, less complex testing, with on-call or otherwise accessible supervision.

During satellite test campaigns there will be the requirement for shift working, currently envisaged to be a 16-hour double shift pattern, for which additional payment would be made.

The duties and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Initial responsibilities in training in the operational procedures and practices relevant to the test facility
  • Initial responsibilities in engaging with technical equipment, understanding the operation, calibration and maintenance required.  This may include:
  • Configuring test facility and equipment for measurements
  • Setting-up and performing calibration of EMC and antenna measurements with standard test items
  • Assisting with test system maintenance, upgrades and fault finding.
  • Increasing responsibility for preparing and conducting the tests, under the supervision of a test engineer
  • Supporting the maintenance and calibration of the test equipment
  • Supporting set-up of EMC and antenna measurement test equipment including interfacing with satellite hardware.
  • Supporting the operation of EMC and antenna measurement tests
  • Supporting the analysis and reporting of test results
  • Being responsible for the safe operation of the equipment
  • Following health and safety standards, STFC codes & policies
  • Working to and engaging with risk assessments for facilities and specific test campaigns
  • Installation/removal of satellites and payloads to/from the test facility

We recruit on a rolling basis therefore we recommend you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Applications will be reviewed and considered on an ongoing basis until our roles are filled.

In order to apply for this role you must have:

  • Obtained your first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2019, 2020 or be due to receive it in 2021
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • The right to live and work in the UK

Essential Criteria:   

  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of electromagnetics 
  • Good written and verbal communications skills 
  • Aptitude for working and communicating effectively within a small team 
  • Dedication, self-motivation, positive attitude, fulfilling commitments 
  • Methodical approach to work and problem solving 

Desirable Criteria:

  • Practical experience of building and testing electronics and using test equipment such as oscilloscopes 
  • Knowledge of radio frequency/microwave circuits or systems 
  • Interest in space science and technology 


The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity-driven, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

One of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale.

For more information about STFC, please visit https://stfc.ukri.org/

How to Apply

Online applications only for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for STFC and the role you’re applying for. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

About UKRI

UK Research and Innovation brings together nine organisations to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at www.ukri.org.

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