Spacecraft Controller

Location: Goonhilly (Cornwall)

Department: Operations SOC

Role Purpose

The Spacecraft Controller plays a key role in supporting the safe operations of the Avanti fleet of geostationary communications satellites.  As a member of the Spacecraft Control Team (SCT), the controller’s primary role involves the monitoring of satellite health and the execution of planned satellite operations.

The controller will interact closely with our automated suite of Mission Control System software to carry out critical operations such as station keeping, sensor blinding, eclipse operations and payload configurations.  They may perform non-routine operations, with engineering support if required, and will detect report and respond to contingencies.  They will become expert in the operation of the software, the satellite subsystems, ground systems and the role of spacecraft operations in delivering a high quality service to our customers.

The Spacecraft Controller is the first line contact with the spacecraft and can carry out troubleshooting and anomaly resolution of the satellites and ground systems.  In addition to this, they are supported at all times by a 24-7 on-call team of Spacecraft Operations Engineers, with a well-defined escalation chain.  As part of the wider Satellite Operations Centre (SOC) team, they will interact on a daily basis with experts in the fields of Spacecraft Operations, Flight Dynamics and Space Ground Systems.

In addition to their primary role, controllers are also involved in Flight Operations Procedure (FOP) development, validation, simulations and spacecraft health reporting.  Where shift patterns allow, controllers also have a portion of working time where they are not on shift and can focus on training and development, and given experience of other spacecraft operations roles.

Key Accountabilities

  • Monitor and control of the Avanti fleet of satellites on a 24/7 shift rota;
  • Carry out satellite commanding using approved flight operations procedures;
  • Maintain operational activity logs;
  • Generate periodic reports on spacecraft health and status for distribution to the satellite engineering team;
  • Perform routine control system maintenance and backup tasks;
  • Provide first line response to satellite contingency and escalation to the satellite engineering team;
  • Provide support for operations preparation and development during occasional periods of day shifts;
  • Attend and support the anomaly review board process as required by the Lead Spacecraft Controller and Spacecraft Operations Manager;
  • Assist system administrators in the implementation of satellite control hardware and software;
  • Validate procedure and database updates using dynamic satellite simulators, and production of appropriate validation reports;
  • Participate in system verification tests and simulations campaigns in support of new satellite procurement

Skills and Qualifications

Essential: 

  • University degree (or equivalent experience) in a STEM discipline;
  • Ex-military personnel should have a DCCIS background, with experience in satcom, radar or ground communication systems;
  • Attention to detail and a methodical and considered approach;
  • Ability to follow processes and procedures;
  • A proven ability to work unsupervised for extended periods;
  • Experience in field of satellite control or engineering;
  • Knowledge of satellite subsystems;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English;
  • Must have a valid visa to work in the UK;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.

Desirable: 

  • Experience in the preparation, validation and use of operational procedures;
  • Understanding of the principles of geostationary satellite operation;
  • Understanding of the principles of RF communication technology.

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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