Spacecraft Thermal Engineer


Internship 3 months Didcot, UK

Uploaded 17 Feb 2020

Job Description

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.

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 also 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.

The temperature performance of electrical components is critical to the success of space missions. To ensure effective operation, spacecraft require electronics boxes with high reliability. Therefore, accurate thermal modelling of heat flows through PCBs and surface mounted components is essential. There are currently large uncertainties associated with the thermal modelling of surface mounted components. This placement will aim to contribute to the reduction in these uncertainties through physical experiments and analytical modelling. We are seeking an engineering or science student who would gain technical experience related to thermal analysis of space hardware.

Person Specification

Summary of key duties:

  • Assess the current thermal modelling techniques and inherent assumptions
  • Draft experimental test setups and procedures to evaluate key modelling assumptions
  • Plan execution of experimental testing, including data handling
  • Potential to run initial test campaigns
  • Evaluate efficacy of such test campaigns and develop/suggest best practices.

The candidate shall develop skills in thermal engineering including thermal modelling software, experimental methods, electronics design and project management.