Modeller in spacecraft dynamic testing at STFC

Closing Date
11 October 2020

Numerical models will be central to the development of dynamic testing within the National Satellite Test Facility Your role will be to build and control finite element and other numerical models required by the Dynamics Group of Environmental Test Division. You should be able to demonstrate an understanding across a diverse range of numerical modelling techniques that are needed to match the test environments. Modelling techniques might include classical finite element analysis within packages such as NASTRAN and ANSYS workbench for structural response, statistical energy analysis (SEA) within solvers such as ACTRAN for acoustic loading and the application of hydrocodes for shock loading.

Structural modelling, typically in NASTRAN is used to model spacecraft and their test facilities in order to predict and refine test operations and to aid post-test analysis. The broader purpose of vibration modelling is to characterise the dynamic response of the spacecraft and in this case the effects of the test mounting on this response. The NSTF will house two 222 kN electrodynamics shakers, one will drive a large guided head expander for vertically oriented tests and the other will drive slip tables for horizontal test. Prediction of cross axis effects and dynamic overturning moments will be a key goal of the modelling effort.

The NSTF will have a Direct Field Acoustic Noise (DFAN) test facility capable of generating sound pressure levels in excess of 145 dB on a spacecraft to simulate the launch environment. Modelling with use a solver such as ACTRAN in the FEA and virtual SEA modes to determine key test parameters such as control microphone placement and speaker geometry. In DFAN, as in all test environments, the aim is to use modelling to predict and refine the test conditions to ensure compliance with the test specification with minimal risk to the spacecraft.

Shock regimes will be modelled to support pyroshock testing which is carried out on a dedicated resonant plate test rig installed within the last year. It is envisaged that a combination of explicit dynamic solvers and conventional implicit techniques may be used to aid test development and to provide rapid evolution of test parameters to meet test specifications.

You will play a key role in developing test facilities and providing the detailed guidance on test conditions. This will start with facilities development and commissioning and then extend through contacts with potential customers at the bid stage. You will work with the test engineers and test programme manager to ensure the test facilities are capable of delivering the test, defining any adaptions which may be required and to provide development and analysis methods to suit the programme requirements. You will be expected to support test campaigns at all stages during execution and assist in analysis required for test reports and will be supported and governed in these activities by your Group Leader, working as part of the wider Dynamics Group.

There will be opportunity for you to assist in the definition of proposed new facilities or upgrades to the existing facilities. Additionally, opportunity will be given to engage wider with the test community to keep up to date with developments.

Your role is equivalent to a Principal Test Engineer and will therefore you should expect to carry similar level of duties to support the broader activities of the group at a senior level, which may include direct line management of staff.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

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Posted on 2nd October 2020 in Job Opportunities in Acoustics