Electronics Design Engineer


Direct Entry Job Permanent Didcot, UK

Uploaded 12 Feb 2021

Job Description

RAL Space is one of the largest interdisciplinary space departments in Europe, having celebrated more than 50-years excellence in space-flight and a proven track record contributing to more than 200 instruments in space. The department works throughout the lifecycle of space missions - from leading concept studies for future missions; developing bespoke, innovative scientific instrumentation; providing space test and ground-based facilities; operating ground-stations, and to processing and analysing data.

The Electronics Design group within the department’s Imaging Systems Division is seeking to recruit four additional electronics design engineers to support their current and rapidly increasing project portfolio.  

The group is recognised for its major contributions in a diverse range of space instrumentation; standout highlights include:

  • Imaging electronics on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a flagship mission designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth
  • Imaging electronics on the Russian Hubble-class World Space Observatory-Ultraviolet, a multipurpose observatory to study among other things the formation and evolution of the Milky Way
  • Imaging electronics for the RAMAN spectrometer on ESA’s ExoMars rover, looking to identify minerals and biomarker signatures of past and/or current life on Mars
  • Electronics for the SPICE ultraviolet spectrometer on ESA’s Solar Orbiter, to study a range of solar questions including the origins of the coronal magnetic field
  • URTHECAST medium and high-resolution cameras for the International Space Station, aiming to provide near real-time HD video streaming of planet Earth
  • Seismic sensors on the NASA InSight Mars lander, to probe beneath the surface of Mars to answer questions of internal composition and the early formation of rocky planets
  • A mass spectrometer on ESA’s Rosetta/Philae mission to Comet 67-P, to investigate the origin and composition of comets, and where the water on Earth originates
  • An x-ray spectrometer, D-CIXS, for ESA’s SMART-1 mission, to study the elemental abundances of the lunar surface rocks and elements.

Alongside a range of high-profile space-flight programmes the group also works on a variety of other projects including ground-based astronomy, in-orbit demonstration of novel technologies and the Division’s Quantum Cold Atoms R&D programme.  

Key Responsibilities

As a Senior/Electronics Design Engineer in the Electronics Design group you will work alongside over 40 other staff in the Imaging Systems Division who have a diverse range of skills in systems, electronics and optical engineering design, quantum science, electronics manufacture and production, real-time embedded software and project management.

You will be an experienced electronics design engineer with demonstrated knowledge of digital and analogue design, layout of complex multi-layer boards, analytical analysis, modelling, and practical electronic test experience. Knowledge of VHDL and design requirements for space applications will be an advantage, but not essential.  

You will be highly self-motivated, with an excellent attention to detail and a strong solutions-focused approach to design challenges. The ability to work effectively within a team, often across multiple projects at the same time, forms a key part of the role.

Our engineers are expected to be able to represent the Group, the Division and the Department to our external customers, suppliers, VIP visitors and at outreach events, so excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential. 

For the senior role, technical supervision and management of projects or major work packages forms a large part of the role, so significant experience in these areas will be required.

In return, we can offer the successful candidate an exciting career, working across multiple projects at the forefront of space technology. The successful candidate(s) will have project responsibility from the outset within a close supporting framework of more senior engineers.

We believe the post(s) on offer will provide an excellent opportunity for extensive specialist training and development for the right person, covering both technical aspects of the role and wider development of people and project management skills. We always value individuals who seek out training opportunities and those who stay abreast of the latest developments.

Those candidates showing evidence of an active “continuing professional development” programme within their current position will be at an advantage. STFC offers support with professional membership subscriptions, including the IET or equivalent institutions.

Responsibilities for both Band D and Band E roles will be:

  • Analogue and digital circuit design
  • PCB layout of complex multilayer boards
  • Leading the functional testing of assembled boards
  • VHDL design work
  • The production of manufacturing drawings and parts lists
  • Reporting to senior project staff on progress as appropriate
  • Writing specifications, test plans, test reports and other documentation as required
  • Carrying out FMEA, reliability, parts stress and worst case analyses
  • Presenting their work at project reviews and progress meetings, which may be within the UK or abroad
  • Representing our department to our customers and partners during visits
  • Participating in outreach activities and tours of the Division/Department.

At Band E as a Senior Electronics Design Engineer you will also:

  • Play a leading role in project teams, with coordination between different disciplines and demonstrated prior experience in this area having completed at least one major project from start to finish
  • Provide technical support and advice to other engineers in the division
  • Take a lead role in design reviews
  • Provide significant contributions to proposals for new work as required. 

Person Specification

Essential criteria for both Band D and Band E roles: 

  • A minimum of a 2:2 in a first degree in electronic engineering or closely related subject or equivalent experience 
  • Analogue and digital electronic design experience 
  • Experience of PCB layout 
  • Knowledge and use of analytical and modelling tools 
  • Prior use of electronics CAD tools, especially schematic capture and circuit simulation 
  • Proven practical skills such as verification and testing of circuit boards and components 
  • Excellent written communication skills 
  • Excellent verbal communication skills. 

Additional Essential criteria for Band E:

  • Advanced analogue and digital electronic design experience 
  • Advanced experience of PCB layout, especially of complex, multilayered boards 
  • Advanced knowledge and use of analytical and modelling tools 
  • Advanced use of electronics CAD tools, especially schematic capture and circuit simulation 
  • Project management skills / qualifications 
  • Proven people management experience. 

Desirable criteria for both Band D and Band E roles:

  • Knowledge of electronic system requirements for space applications 
  • Experience using VHDL and/or Verilog 
  • Experience using higher-level software programming languages or applications (e.g. C/C++, LabVIEW) 
  • Experience of FMEA, reliability, parts stress and worst case analyses 
  • Evidence of technical competence through the award of C.Eng or equivalent.