RAL Space Multi-Layer Insulation Graduate Design Engineer

Company Details

To build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system

The RAL Space Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops space instruments and ground-based astronomy instruments for agencies including ESA, NASA, UKSA and ESO, and other commercial customers. The Thermal Engineering Group within the Department requires a graduate to join the Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) Manufacturing Facility team. MLI is one of the key thermal control technologies used within space-based satellites and instruments, and is used in the majority of satellites today.

MLI must be designed to meet customer requirements for, among other things, operating temperature, insulation performance, space environment and launch mechanical environment. This requires the application of a broad range of engineering and science.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities 

The graduate will work under the supervision of the MLI Manufacturing Facility manager, who will support them in the design and development of MLI for space instruments and ground support equipment. Duties will include, but may not be limited to:

  • Development of MLI designs to satisfy customer requirements for coverage
  • Thermal analysis of MLI designs
  • Production of CAD designs for MLI blankets, or overseeing CAD design by others
  • Assisting with the writing of project proposals and bids for new MLI work
  • Project management of small MLI projects
  • Research, development and testing of novel techniques and technologies for MLI manufacture
  • Assisting with the production and integration of MLI (as required)
  • Assisting with outreach activities and tours of the department.
  • It is expected that you will be enrolled on a Professional Development scheme with a relevant professional institution, with the aim of achieving professional registration (typically Chartered Engineer status).
  • You will be given technical and non-technical training appropriate to your previous experience, the requirements of the work and of the professional registration.

The Graduate will be responsible for managing their own time, across a range of simultaneous projects. The role requires some limited financial management, with this anticipated to increase with time.

Contacts and Communication 

The Graduate will work with the MLI Facility Manager on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the Graduate may be required to communicate to the following:

  • Report to senior project staff on progress as appropriate
  • Interaction with staff within the whole of RAL Space department
  • Interaction with customers during visits
  • Interaction with suppliers as required
  • Interaction with visitors to the Division / Department during outreach activities
  • Applicants will be expected to work closely with other engineering teams, both at RAL and national/international organisations.
  • Some travel in the UK and abroad is likely. Presentation of technical data to a range of audience types will be required. The position requires the engineer to produce well-written documents such as test reports, specifications, and procedures.

Personal Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent organisational skills, with the ability to multi-task
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Good PC literacy skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Able to work in a team
  • Diligent
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Able to problem solve and develop novel solutions

Other relevant information 

  • Knowledge/Experience in the following areas would be an advantage:
  • A knowledge/interest in space science and engineering would be useful, but not essential
  • Scheduling software (e.g. MS Project)
  • Leading a team
  • Organisation of complex tasks
  • In order to apply for the role you must have


  • Obtained first degree Bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2020, 2021 or be due to receive it in 2022
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • The right to live and work in the UK
  • A-Level (or equivalent) Mathematics and Physics at Grade C or above.
  • Degree level knowledge of the principles of heat transfer, and an ability to apply these to practical scenarios
  • Degree level knowledge of other relevant engineering fields (for instance materials science, manufacturing technologies or structural dynamics)
  • Experience of CAD design and production of technical engineering drawings
  • Understanding of technical engineering drawings
  • Evidence of technical writing skills
  • Experience of PC based software
  • Evidence of presentation skills
  • Clearly stated interest in job role
  • Ability to problem solve and assess suitability of different options
  • Ability to plan and co-ordinate own work (time management)
  • Ability to communicate clearly in both written and spoken English
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to travel in UK and abroad (including overnight absences)


  • Space-related engineering qualification or specific modules
  • Masters degree in an appropriate engineering subject
  • An understanding of spacecraft thermal control techniques and technologies
  • Knowledge of general space systems
  • Practical experience (e.g. in workshops) and ability to consider practicality of solutions
  • Experience of thermal testing
  • Project Management experience
  • Use of scheduling software (e.g. MS Project)
  • Experience of budget responsibility
  • Practical skills (e.g. evidenced by hobbies)
  • Interest and passion for space activities

Tagged as: CAD, ms project, MLI

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