Multi-Layer Insulation Design Engineer - Graduate Scheme


Graduate Position 2 years Didcot, UK

Uploaded 6 Oct 2017

Job Description


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 technology.

Our graduates join us in a permanent position, starting a real job from day one. Graduates enjoy two years of formal soft skills together with technical training and development, as well as a direct route to professional accreditation. STFC graduates have the opportunity to build on their degree, taking their understanding, knowledge and skills to a whole new level in a dynamic, creative, collaborative culture.

The RAL Space Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops space instruments and ground-based astronomy instruments for agencies including ESA, NASA, UKSA and ESO, and other commercial customers.  The Thermal Engineering Group within the Department requires a graduate mechanical engineer to join the Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) Manufacturing Facility team. MLI is one of the key thermal control technologies used within space-based satellites and instruments, and is used in the majority of satellites today. MLI must be designed to meet customer requirements for, among other things, operating temperature, insulation performance, space environment and launch mechanical environment. This requires the application of a broad range of engineering and science.

Summary of Key Duties
You will work under the direct supervision of the MLI Manufacturing Facility manager, who will support you in the design and development of MLI for space instruments and ground support equipment. Duties will include, but may not be limited to:

  • development of MLI designs to satisfy customer requirements for coverage
  • thermal analysis of MLI designs
  • production of CAD designs for MLI blankets, or overseeing CAD design by others
  • assisting with the writing of project proposals and bids for new MLI work
  • Project management of small MLI projects
  • research, development and testing of novel techniques and technologies for MLI manufacture
  • assisting with the production and integration of MLI (as required)
  • assisting with outreach activities and tours of the department.

It is expected that you will be enrolled on the IMechE Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS), with the aim of achieving Chartered Engineer status.  You will be given technical and non-technical training appropriate to your previous experience, the requirements of the work and of the MPDS.

Contacts and Communication
You will report to the MLI Facility Manager on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the following reporting/interaction may be required:

  • report to senior project staff on progress as appropriate
  • interaction with staff within the whole of RAL Space department
  • interaction with customers during visits
  • interaction with suppliers as required
  • interaction with visitors to the Division/Department during outreach activities.

You will be expected to work closely with other engineering disciplines and groups, both at RAL and national/international organisations. Some travel in the UK and abroad is likely. Presentation of technical data to a range of audience types will be required. You will be required to produce well-written documents such as test reports, specifications, and procedures.

You will be responsible for managing your own time, across a range of simultaneous projects. The role requires some limited financial management, with this anticipated to increase with time. The role may also require responsibility for the line management of junior team members.

Personal Skills and Attributes
We are looking for a Graduate with the following skills/attributes:

  • First degree in a mechanical engineering discipline, minimum 2:1
  • excellent organisational skills, with the ability to multi-task
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • good PC literacy skills
  • self-motivated
  • able to work in a team
  • diligent
  • excellent attention to detail
  • able to problem solve and develop novel solutions.

Other Relevant Information
The role will sometimes require travel, within the UK and overseas, including overnight stays.

Knowledge/experience in the following areas would be an advantage:

  • a knowledge/interest in space science and engineering would be useful, but not essential
  • scheduling software (e.g. MS Project)
  • leading a team
  • organisation of complex tasks.

Person Specification




  • obtained first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2017 or be due to receive it in 2018
  • expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • the right to live and work in the UK
  • IMechE accredited degree/registered with IMechE
  • A-Level (or equivalent) Mathematics and Physics at Grade C or above.


  • space-related engineering qualification
  • Masters degree in an appropriate engineering discipline.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • a practical knowledge of the principles of heat transfer
  • a general knowledge of other relevant engineering disciplines (for instance materials science, manufacturing technologies or structural dynamics)
  • experience of PC based applications
  • evidence of technical writing skills
  • evidence of presentation skills
  • experience of CAD design and production of technical engineering drawings.


  • an understanding of spacecraft thermal control
  • Project Management experience
  • knowledge of general space systems
  • experience of thermal testing
  • practical experience (e.g. in workshops)
  • use of scheduling software (e.g. MS Project)
  • budget responsibility.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • clearly stated interest in job role
  • attention to detail with very good spelling and grammar
  • ability to communicate clearly in written English.


  • evidence of management experience.

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