Senior Flight Dynamics Engineer

Location: London or Goonhilly (Cornwall)

Department: SOC
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Role Purpose

The main responsibility of the Flight Dynamics team is to fly the satellites of the Avanti fleet – safely – in conformity to Regulatory constraints.

In routine operations, this translates into keeping each spacecraft in its orbital box, by performing orbit determination and executing orbital-correction manoeuvres.

In non-routine operations, this includes relocating the satellites or decommissioning them. This must be done following guidelines from supranational authorities, which are enforced by the UK Space Agency.

In contingency operations, this may encompass investigation and speedy recovery of in-orbit anomalies, some of which may potentially cause interruption of commercial services.

Across all these scenarios, the team has the responsibility to manage the propellant of the satellite, in order to maximise its operational lifetime, and therefore the company revenues.

The Flight Dynamics team also maintains Space Situational Awareness by monitoring space debris, and performs Space Traffic Coordination duties by routinely interacting with all stakeholders. These include the US Space Force, the Royal Air Force, and other satellite operators, as well as institutional and commercial providers of operational services. Occasionally, the team executes collision avoidance procedures.

The team at times also supports the procurement of new spacecraft and ground infrastructure.

Key Accountabilities

  • Liaise with other teams to ensure smooth, safe, and efficient operations;
  • Implement station-keeping and co-location strategies;
  • Run offline analyses on the spacecraft status and performances, including but not limited to: co-location activities, mass consumption estimation, life-time estimation;
  • Raise Software Problem Reports when the behaviour of the operational software is not correct, and liaise with the software provider to fix the issue – support new software deliveries and run regression tests as necessary;
  • Code new software tools as required (Python);
  • Write, test, run, and update operational procedures;
  • Provide weekly, monthly, and yearly reports on the spacecraft orbit and performances;
  • Perform simulations to analyse relevant operational scenarios (e.g. relocations, end-of-life de-orbit);
  • Liaise with third parties (e.g. 18th Space Control Squadron, Space Data Association, European Union Space Surveillance & Tracking service, Royal Air Force, other operators) to assess conjunction risks and change manoeuvre planning as necessary;
  • Perform non-routine operations (e.g. satellite relocations, end-of-life re-orbit);
  • Support investigation and recovery of spacecraft anomalies;
  • Propose and implement operational improvements;
  • Train and mentor less experienced team members;
  • Provide support to the FD manager in all daily activities.

Key Skills

Essential:

  • Attention to detail and self-discipline;
  • Eagerness to learn, to admit and correct mistakes, and to share knowledge;
  • Excellent command of the English language;
  • Flight Dynamics and/or Spacecraft Operations expertise, especially on GEO satellites;
  • Proven academic and/or professional experience in orbit determination and/or manoeuvre optimization;
  • Post-graduate degree in mathematics, physics, astronomy, or aerospace engineering;
  • Deep, demonstrable understanding of Newtonian physics and orbital mechanics;
  • Wide mathematical background, including but not limited to: differential calculus, matrix algebra, SRIF, spherical geometry, rocket equation;
  • Good programming skills, ideally in Python;
  • Proven capability of both working independently under limited supervision and in a team; Ambition to thrive professionally and personally.

Desirable:

  • Proven academic and/or professional experience in perturbation theory, Kalman filtering, covariance analysis.

You MUST be able to obtain an SCI Clearance (on an active contract) to be considered for this position.

The role requires access to “Controlled Information” (i.e. information and other materials that are subject to compliance restrictions under US export control legislation), Avanti are required to ensure a thorough screening process before access to such information is granted.

In addition to the above responsibilities, the jobholder is required to perform other reasonable duties as assigned by the line manager from time to time.

To apply for this role please complete the form below

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