Mechanical Engineer in Spacecraft Dynamic Testing

Company Details

RAL Space carry out world-class science research and technology development with significant involvement in more than 210 spacecraft.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering. For more information on STFC please view one of our videos –

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

STFC consists of several distinct departments which each focus on a different specialism within science, technology, innovation and support, yet work together to achieve STFC’s grand ambitions. Different departments may look for placement students with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these.

RAL Space and Environmental Test Division

Based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire) the 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.

Within the Dynamics Group, The Environmental Test Division is responsible for operating a range of test types for testing of space bound hardware.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The focus of the placement will be the development of physical and virtual test method in areas of vibration, shock and direct field acoustic testing. There will also be the opportunity to get involved with current testing of spacecraft components and systems within the Environmental Test Division.

Within the Dynamics Group you will concentrate on at least one of the following investigations:

Development and validation of virtual test methods by numerical modelling of test rigs and environments
Non-contact measurement of deformation during dynamic testing or Thermo Elastic Deflection measurement in a thermal vacuum environment
Direct Field Acoustic Noise models and test strategies.

You must be enthusiastic and highly motivated. You should be able to work well as part of a team as well as working independently. A strong interest in physical testing of spacecraft structural response and numerical modelling is essential.

This an exciting time as the space industry is undergoing a rapid evolution and expansion which is being matched by an expansion of the test facilities within RAL Space. The National Satellite Test Facility will be in its commissioning phase during the tenure of this placement giving an opportunity to participate in many activities. The exact project areas will depend on the handover and current test programmes timetable but will include a variety of test processes, principally those covered by ECSS standards of the European Space Agency.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners 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

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

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