Technicians load cargo into the Cygnus spacecraftCredit: Orbital Sciences Corp
Technicians load cargo into the Cygnus spacecraft

Job Profile


Technicians are at the forefront of building and testing spacecraft and space systems, perfect for someone who is looking for a hands-on career.

Technicians are have great technical skills in laboratory testing, construction, model building and research and development. They are practical specialists that are trained in the use of specific equipment and have great expertise in troubleshooting, inspecting, maintenance, manufacturing and equipment operation, among other things.

What will you be doing?

Technicians hold a vital role within the space industry working alongside engineers to bring mission designs to reality. Technicians work alongside engineers throughout the process of getting space systems off the ground, working in all areas such as computer, electrical and electronic and mechanical engineering, as well as robotics and telecommunications. Testing systems is a vital part of a technician's job to ensure that the technologies they are developing are able to withstand the harsh environment of space.

Being a technician offers the opportunity to work hands-on with high-tech equipment, often with components that will make their way to space! 

What does a typical day involve?

A typical day will vary highly depending on the type of technician you choose to be. It may involve running tests on a certain piece of equipment (or even an entire spacecraft!), machining components, writing test or activity reports, or producing standards and procedures for use on space-rated equipment. Most work will take place in a laboratory or factory, such as the cleanrooms that are seen in lots of footage of spacecraft being assembled. 

What specific skills are needed?

Technicians are highly skilled in troubleshooting problems and identifying ways of solving them. As a technician you also need excellent communication and team working skills as you will be working alongside engineers and often across multiple disciplines.

Often the work will be highly procedural due to strict quality control measures, so the ability to follow clear instructions and apply knowledge of applicable standards and processes is important.   

Qualifications and Routes into being a Technician

Technicians will have knowledge of the general principles of their field, but not necessarily have an academic background; it is generally not necessary to go to university. At least 2 years of specialised training is required to be a technician which can be gained from a technical institution, vocational school or from an apprenticeship. Practical experience is also invaluable for pursuing a career as a technician, this could come from an internship or a summer job in a laboratory. Hobbies and extra-curricular activities can also be of benefit, such as a robotics or electronics home project. 

The government has recently launched the Space Engineering Technician apprenticeship scheme, and many companies offer other apprenticeships and other entry-level technician positions.

Where can I get some more information?

Space Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Training Course

Interview with RAL Space Space Blanket Technician Angela Ashill

Similar Job Titles

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Emma Collier

Emma studies Physics with Astronomy at the University of Southampton.

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