Research Fellow (Solar Orbiter SWA Operations Team)

April 21, 2020, from Suzanne Winter

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an individual to join the Operations team for the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) Investigation on the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Mission. The mission was launched from Kennedy Space Center on the night of 9/10 February 2020. SWA is a suite of 3 scientific sensors, serviced by a central DPU, to detect charged particles in the solar wind close to the Sun. The post-holder will assume a central role in the SWA Operations team based in the Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory, MSSL) at University College London (UCL). The team is responsible for all SWA commanding, data handling, calibration and archiving, and instrument health monitoring activities during the ~10yr lifetime of the mission. This will involve close collaboration with existing team members, the ESA Science Operations Centre in Madrid, Mission Operations Centre teams in Germany and SWA partners in Rome, Toulouse, Texas and Michigan.

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is located on its own campus in the beautiful Surrey Hills, surrounded by woodland. MSSL is the UK’s largest university space research group. Space science is a discipline that demands highly innovative technologies and MSSL has an international reputation for excellence in this area. UCL was one of the first universities in the world to become involved in making scientific observations in space. Since MSSL was established in 1966, we have participated in over 40 satellite missions with the European Space Agency, NASA (US), Japan, Russia, China and India, and flown over 230 rocket experiments.

The post is funded under the MSSL SWA Operations Grant from UKSA/STFC until 30 March 2022, in the first instance.

Key Requirements
The successful applicant should hold or expect to hold, a PhD in Physics (or closely related disciplines) or have equivalent industrial/commercial experience. Expertise in scientific research and/or software development environments is essential. The postholder should have the ability to develop complex software infrastructure using environments such as Python, C, C++, Pert, IDL, Matlab, MySQL, and HTML and be familiar with UNIX and LINUX operating systems.

Informal enquiries should be made to Chris Owen (

Applications should be completed on line However if you are having difficulty accessing the on-line recruitment system please contact Suzanne Winter ( for advice.