Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Spacecraft Thermal Engineer Summer Placement - STFC

Early Careers
21000027 Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The RAL Space Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops space and ground-based astronomy instruments for organisations and agencies including ESA, NASA and ESO.  The Thermal Engineering Group (TEG) provides expert thermal engineering for these projects and manages a facility for production of Multi-layer Insulation. We work on a broad range of projects, including the Mid-Infrared Instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope, the SPICE instrument for Solar Orbiter, Optical Ground Support Equipment for Meteosat Third Generation, Receivers for MetOp Second Generation and the Broadband Radiometer Instrument for the ESA EarthCARE satellite.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) is critical to the thermal performance of satellites and space instrumentation. Key components such as instrument detectors require strict control of heat flows from warm electronics and to cold deep space; this is achieved in part through the use of MLI blankets. Each blanket is a bespoke design, tailored for each application in terms of performance and form. The blankets are designed and manufactured using a variety of materials and processes. These materials and processes must be tested on Earth to ensure the blankets survival and performance in the harsh space environment.

This placement is focused on:

  • Testing materials and processes used in manufacture of MLI for Space applications
  • Planning test campaigns – Mechanical, Thermal, and Electrical Testing
  • Completing test campaigns & analysis of data
  • Gaining experience in MLI design and manufacture

Skills developed will include:

  • Experimental Methods – Mechanical, Thermal & Electrical Testing
  • Project Management - Planning & Organisation
  • Experience with space hardware & qualification standards

In order to apply for this role you must have:


  • Are in full time education at university and returning to university following the placement
  • The right to live and work in the UK for the duration of the placement which is 6 weeks
  • Be studying a relevant degree in engineering or physics 
  • Strong knowledge of mechanical, heat transfer and electrical principles
  • Good knowledge of general PC applications (Excel, Word, Powerpoint)
  • Good organisational skills 
  • Good communication skills 


  • Started third year of degree in 2020
  • Experience in experimental methods (test equipment, data handling etc
  • Interest in space applications
About STFC 
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 
You can also visit our careers site 
How to Apply 
Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation to join 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. You will only be assessed on the content of your CV and covering letter and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 
About UKRI 
Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 
Our organisation brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK 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
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 flourish 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 a Disability Confident employer, UKRI will offer an interview to a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for the job (this is the description of the job as set by the employer). To enable us to do this we ask the appropriate questions within the candidate application. 
For more information on this scheme, click here.  

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