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Operations Technician - Space Science

Posted 5 February by Science and Technology Facilities Council Ended

Operations Technician - Space Science

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Campus, Didcot

£24,193 to £34,170 - dependent upon qualifications and experience and inclusive of annual allowance

Full Time / Flexible Hours Considered

About Us
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science 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 and engineering.

STFC offers a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance including 30 days’ annual leave, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, government pension scheme, social and sporting activities and societies, a subsidised restaurant and good public transport links.

STFC’s RAL Space Department develops space instruments and ground-based astronomy instruments for agencies including ESA, NASA and ESO. In the last two years there has been significant investment in a new building, which includes the Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) Group. The AIV Group within RAL Space is responsible for the operation and development of a range of test facilities for the design, manufacture and qualification of multi-million pound space hardware.

About The Role

The AIV Group supports the hands-on activities of the department and provides the cleanrooms and test facilities for the department and others to use. A number of the test facilities are used to simulate the environment of Space that flight hardware is exposed to. These thermal tests typically operate continuously for weeks at a time by a small and dedicated test team, however, the number of facilities the team has to operate has increased and the number of longer-term test programs has also increased.

The Operations Technician will be integral to the testing team and will be given a comprehensive training programme, covering all relevant systems and procedures. As a member of the operational team, you will often be solely responsible for the safe and efficient operation of one or more test facilities as well as diagnose faults and deal with problems as they arise. Such problems can range from Vacuum, Cryogenic or Electrical Control Systems or simply supporting more general requests for information from customers both locally or at remote locations. Emergency on-call support is provided throughout any test campaign for all operators.

The team, when operating a facility, will cover shifts using a rotating 8 hour pattern. On some occasions a 12 hour shift pattern may be implemented. When there is no requirement for shift working the team will be tasked with maintenance and servicing of the facilities as well as being part of the wider team that installs and sets up the equipment to be tested. Staff are required to be available to work as part of the shift team, as and when required, including nights and weekends, 365 Days a year. You will also be available to work some overtime to cover operational situations and problems.

Further responsibilities will include:

  • taking manual readings from test equipment to support operational requirements
  • completion of both paper-based and electronic logs of activities
  • following test procedures or test plans
  • maintenance, servicing and installation activities associated with the facilities.
  • supporting the wider team in the design and construction of world-leading facilities.

Successful applicants will be appointed at either Band C or Band D of STFC’s staffing hierarchy, depending on the strength of your skills, experience and qualifications.

About You

Suitable candidates will hold an ONC, NVQ3, or equivalent, in Engineering or a related subject, or be time served with experience in a similar environment.

Essential Knowledge skills and Experience:

  • knowledge of operation of computer control and data acquisition systems
  • proven fault-finding and problem-solving skills in real-time scenarios
  • understanding of safe working practices in a high-tech environment.


  • operation and maintenance of vacuum systems, including both roughing and high vacuum pumps
  • operation and maintenance of cryogenic systems, primarily based on Liquid Nitrogen control and distribution
  • experience with temperature DAS
  • experience with handling spaceflight equipment or other high-value precision equipment
  • experience in the testing of Aero(space) hardware in a Thermal Vacuum environment
  • experience working with a quality system such as ISO9001 or EN9100.

To Apply

Applicants are required to include a cover letter outlining their suitability for this role. Please also state where you saw this role advertised.

Please note, when you click apply you will be directed through to our website where you will be asked to complete the application proces

The closing date for applications is 25th February 2018, however applications will be reviewed and considered on an ongoing basis.

Reference: 34397778

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