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About Space Engineering
Systems operating in space are complex pieces designed to perform specific missions for a specified design life. Because having technical expertise is essential, in charge of making these complex pieces are space engineers.
Space engineers often have a particular focus on quality management aspects that are managed from product specifications, testing and verification.
In general, space engineers have mechanical, electrical and software backgrounds with unique space system experience. Below you can read more about two different job segments within space engineering, namely ground segment and space segment.
Ground Segment Space Engineering
Space engineers that work on ground stations fall under ground segment engineering. Ground stations are interconnected through complex infrastructure and provide two main functionalities: Telemetry (Tracking and Command (TT&C) in support of spacecraft operations) and payload data download. Furthermore, the design of the ground stations enable spacecraft capabilities and fulfills requirements coming directly from the mission design. As a result, ground stations are key to the implementation of requirements from ongoing missions, and should also be able to expand and adapt, accommodating requirements for future ones.
Ground segment engineering encompasses mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. But while engineers are typically a specialist in one of these domains, they should also have a good understanding of the other domains, further ensuring interoperability between the various components of space engineering.
Typical tasks of ground segment space engineering
- Support to projects development, in terms of definition of technical specifications and statement of work, participation for design review, as well as participation to factory and site acceptance tests
- Monitor and critically evaluate the activities related to system development
- Preform engineering in maintenance and the enhancement of components
- Monitor procurement activities
Job titles related to ground segment space engineering
- Instrument Calibration Engineer
- Satellite and Payload Operations Engineer
- Ground System Engineer
- Ground System Validation Engineer
- Commissioning and Operations Engineer
- ISS Payloads Operations Ground Segment Engineer
- Telecommunications Satellite Ground Segment Engineer
- Performance Simulation Engineer
- Galileo Site Hosting Engineer
Space Segment – Space Engineering
Generally, space segment engineering encompasses all components placed in orbit and beyond, and the equipment used to launch them. For example, this includes working on the platform, its subsystems and the relevant payloads. As a result, the key of working in the space segment is an understanding of the effect that the space environment has on the operation and longevity of the components and of the system as a whole.
Similarly to ground segment engineers, space segment engineers are typically mechanical or electrical engineers. At the job, they are mainly involved in the assembly, integration, testing and verification (AIV/AIT) of components of systems.
Typical tasks of space segment space engineers
- Monitor the AIT/AIV plans
- Identify potential risks to the schedule, identify workaround solutions, and implementing risk mitigation actions
- Participate in Test Readiness Reviews (TRR), Post Test Reviews (PTR), Test Review Boards (TRB) and Non-Conformance Review Boards (NRB) as a technical representative
- Propose new methods, technologies and activities to be assessed in the framework of technology programs in the areas of system verification
Job titles related to space segment space engineering
- Space Segment Engineering Coordinator
- Performance Engineer
- Telecommunications Systems Engineer
- Payload Engineer
- Flight Products Engineer
- Telecommunications Satellite Payload Engineer
- Telecommunications System Engineer