Research Fellow (Solar Orbiter SWA Operation Team)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an individual to join the Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Science Laboratory) University College London (UCL) Operations team for the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) instrument suite 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 analysis and monitoring activities during the planned ~10 yr 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 post-holder should become centrally involved in the maintenance and development of the full software and hardware capability for the SWA operations facility, including the conceptualisation, design and development of future enhancements to the system. As part of the team the post holder will also be involved in planning and executing all aspects of SWA instrument operations, health-checking, performance analysis and data processing from raw telemetry values to scientific data products and populating ESA and NASA archives. Monitoring and adjusting instrument performance on behalf of the international SWA team is also a central responsibility of the MSSL Operations team, to which the post-holder will contribute. These tasks are currently performed using a mixture of C++ and Python codes, but the successful applicant will bring their own developed skills in software design to enhance and extend the existing capabilities of the operations team.

The Department is located on its own campus in the beautiful Surrey Hills, surrounded by woodland, and is the UK’s largest university space research group. Space science is a discipline that demands highly innovative technologies and the Department 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 1966, the Department has participated in over 40 satellite missions with the European Space Agency, NASA (US), Japan, Russia, China and India, and flown over 230 rocket experiments.

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Christopher Owen (