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Spacecraft Dynamic Testing Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000Z4 Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space department carries out an exciting range of world class space research and technology development. We’ve had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and operate at the very forefront of UK Space Research! Find out more about the STFC RAL Space Development and Test facility here: 

The UK has invested £99m in the National Satellite Test Facility, nearing completion at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell! This facility will provide a world class set of co-located facilities for the assembly, integration and testing of space payloads and satellites. The facility will have the capability to conduct Vibration, Acoustic, Thermal, Pyroshock, Electromagnetic Compatability (EMC) and antennae testing for payloads up to 7 tonnes within clean room conditions.  

The NSTF is currently in the final fit out phase, moving into facility commissioning in 2021/22. The operation of both the new and existing environmental test facilities are the responsibility of the Environmental Test Division, with the Dynamics Group being responsible for a range of test types including vibration, shock, direct field acoustic noise and mass properties. To support the transition to operations of the new facilities, new test procedures will need to be developed and it is envisaged that all tests will be supported by numerical models to enable virtual testing. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

Working within the Dynamics group of the Environmental Test Division at RAL Space, this placement involves supporting the team and assisting with vibration and pyroshock testing campaigns of spacecraft equipment for both internal and external customers, including the setup of equipment and test items. Duties could include being part of a small group to set up test rigs for testing and operate its software for data capture and analysis, working alongside customers to meet their requirements for the test, and providing them with useful, relevant test data and information.  

This placement will join the team in an exciting transition - the commissioning process for the new National Satellite Test Facility, and can contribute to the preparation of the large vibration and acoustic testing facilities for the first large satellite tests. Throughout the placement, a growing understanding of spacecraft dynamic testing will allow the successful candidate to work on some more independent projects such as micro-vibration work or development of shock test techniques. 

Are you enthusiastic and highly motivated? Working well in a team as well as working independently and a strong interest in physical testing of spacecraft structural response is essential. 

Other duties involved include: 

  • Assisting other test engineers in preparing and carrying out vibration tests 
  • Operating analysis equipment and software for capturing and processing data 
  • Developing analysis and test methods to improve the breadth or understanding of test operations 

In order to apply for this role you must have: 


  • At university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry  
  • Right to live and work in the UK  
  • Good written and verbal communication skills  
  • Aptitude for working and communicating effectively within a small team  
  • Good hands on experimental and mechanical skills, experience or demonstrated aptitude  


  • An aptitude for working in a highly organised environment procedures must be followed and documented actions  
  • An understanding of dynamics of structures including the effects of frequency and damping 

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, 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. 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive 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 

You can also visit our careers site 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. 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 an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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