Senior Spacecraft Operations Engineer

Company Details

Securing Space Sustainability

Astroscale UK is looking for an experienced Spacecraft Operations Engineer (SOE) to join our team in Harwell. Following on from the successful launch of our ELSA-d orbital debris removal mission we now require an additional person to join our team of 5 engineers.

This position offers a great opportunity for someone who is looking to take the next step in their career as the responsibilities cover a wide variety of tasks which may normally be split between Spacecraft Operations, Spacecraft Controllers, Mission Managers, Analysts and System Engineers.  The successful candidate will be expected to perform at a high level across a broad range of activities.

We are looking for an SOE with a significant wealth of experience in all aspects of mission operations and operations preparation.  Work will include involvement in multiple missions from operations aspects of feasibility studies; contribution to Space Situational Awareness projects with academic, industrial and government agency partners; involvement in mission development from phase 0 / A through to LEOP / Mission execution & End of Life operations; ongoing development of mission control facilities including contributing to the definition and development of Astroscale’s Mission Control Centre.  The candidate will be expected to contribute to multiple projects with minimal day-to-day supervision.

There is a lot of potential for the right person to make a lasting impact on how Astroscale employs novel operations concepts and technologies to operate a growing fleet of missions with a small and focussed team.  Initiative, innovation and the ability to rapidly see ideas through from conception to implementation are essential.

This is a 9-5 role however there maybe times when long days are required such as when we are carrying out a critical mission phase.


  • Act as an operations technical lead for missions and projects.
  • Provide guidance and mentoring to less senior team members via collaborative involvement in ongoing projects and missions.
  • Perform routine and critical real-time spacecraft operations.
  • Act as SpaCon / SOE / Mission Manager as required during operations for all mission phases. To ensure robustness / redundancy in our small operations team, all members are expected to rotate roles continually.
  • Develop and participate in operations support functions e.g. planning and scheduling processes, on-call rota, coordination with spacecraft engineering, flight dynamics and ground segment teams etc.
  • Develop, validate and maintain nominal and contingency mission operations procedures (automated & manual).
  • Propose and develop operational solutions to enable a small team of engineers to control multiple in-flight spacecraft with minimal workload overhead. The ability to envisage novel operational approaches will be required.
  • Develop, validate and maintain operations tools and scripts.
  • Prepare spacecraft user manuals and other operations documentation.
  • Contribute to the development of mission operations concepts, mission review cycles (PDR, CDR ORR etc), reliably predicting and addressing operational concerns during the mission development process.
  • Provide operations expertise at system, subsystem and instrument level supporting ongoing mission development, bid proposals and other activities as required.
  • Perform health and performance trend analysis at system, sub-system and instrument level.
  • Investigate spacecraft anomalies and participate in anomaly resolution process.
  • Contribute to the definition and development of Astroscale UK’s operations centre.
  • Interface internally / externally as required in support of operations activities and ensure all relevant information is formatted and disseminated appropriately.
  • Participate in occasional 24/7 shift during critical mission phases and ongoing on-call rotations.

Essential Skills

  • University degree in a relevant engineering discipline;
  • 5 – 10 years of demonstrable satellite industry experience, preferably real-time operations as part of a flight control team operating a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mission through the complete life cycle.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of satellite subsystems, in particular AOCS/GNC or OBDH would be an asset;
  • Familiarity with the operation of mission control systems, in particular procedure development, monitor and control, mission planning, on-board software management, configuration management and simulator facilities;
  • Satellite performance monitoring and reporting, including anomaly analysis and resolution in liaison with satellite industry, procedure change control and configuration management processes;
  • Ability to operate without error in a calm, orderly and disciplined manner during high stress situations.
  • Able to identify problems, perform root cause analysis and implement appropriate solutions in a timely manner.
  • Detail orientated and able to work using own initiative with limited supervision, as well as alongside other team members.
  • Able to conceptualise non-standard spacecraft operations practices in order to meet the demands of Astroscale’s multiple parallel projects and missions with a very small team of engineers.
  • An effective English language communicator at all levels with skills to CEFR Level B2 – Independent User or TOEIC 700+.

Desired Skills

  • Familiarity with mission control systems, preferably SCOS-2000 based;
  • Experience of satellite assembly, integration & testing processes;
  • Experience with systems engineering aspects of S/C operations;
  • Experience of formation-flying or close-proximity satellite operations;
  • Familiarity with operations preparation tools;
  • Software coding experience;
  • Knowledge of Flight Dynamics and Orbital Mechanics;
  • Familiarity of relevant ECSS standards relating to Ground Systems & Operations.

Tagged as: AOCS, orbital mechanics, ecss standards, scos-2000, obdh, low earth orbit

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