SPIN - Catapult - Space-Based Solar Power Ground Control Segment Analysis


Employment Type Internship
Location On site · Didcot, UK (Electron Building, Fermi Ave, Harwell, Oxford OX11 0QR)
Salary £4,000 (GBP)
Team Future Systems
Seniority Junior
  • Closing: 5:30pm, 23rd Feb 2024 GMT

Perks and benefits

Candidate happiness

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Job Description

Project Description:

The generation of solar power in space and the subsequent delivery to Earth’s power grids is an exciting concept gathering momentum, both in the UK and abroad. Developing technology and architectures to enable space-based solar power (SBSP) is a key programme of work being undertaken by the Satellites Application Catapult. Among these enabling technologies is the ground control segment, necessary for station-keeping of the giga-scale solar power satellite in geosynchronous orbit (GSO) and for directing the 2GW power beam to the receiving rectenna on the Earth’s surface.


The aim of this project is to analyse the hardware requirements of the system’s ground segment, focusing on radiofrequency (RF) components and their power draw. The selected candidate will receive access to the Catapult’s existing findings on system aspects such as the timing accuracy and stability of oscillators, frequency considerations and data rates. The research-based project will introduce you to the concept of SBSP and the requirements for the ground segment, and lead through to a specification for the ground systems including trade-off analyses of different hardware options and a final statement on system performance and power draw.


At the end of the project, you will have gained an understanding of satellite communication links and aspects of ground station architecture necessary for a high-availability, secure service. The output will be a power budget for the ground segment, including an analysis of power generated by the SBSP system versus the power consumed by the specified ground system.

Find out more about SPIN and explore FAQs here.

Applicant Specification:

The candidate will be undertaking a degree in Physics, Engineering or related discipline and will have understanding of electrical and electronic systems. They will also be a systems-oriented thinker, able to consider wider aspects of a system while problem-solving.

Minimum requirements:

  • Willingness to learn new concepts

  • Experience using office software including word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

  • Some experience with mathematical computing with tools such as MATLAB or Python

  • Teamworking skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Additional background knowledge of RF or satellite communication systems would be a plus

Process details:

  • 8 weeks minimum fixed term contract to be agreed with successful candidate

  • In-person Induction Event to be held on 24th June 2024, and an in-person/hybrid Showcase Event

  • 5 days holiday to be taken during the placement

How we work:

We strive to create a high trust environment that enables team members to bring their whole selves to work – this helps to create the foundations of an innovation culture. Our shared values are critical to this:

  • We care - for our people, our partners, and our planet

  • We connect - and engage with people and ideas

  • We learn - and grow, as people and as an industry

Underpinning this is our belief in great teams, our combined efforts will always deliver outcomes beyond that of any individual providing we are honest through debate, experiment and reflect, and create shared resolutions in support of our purpose. Live these values, work to our principles, take ownership to deliver, and we are certain you will thrive with us.

This job description set outs the skills and experience we believe are needed to be able to do this job but, research also tells us women are much more likely than men to take this list of requirements as absolute and self-select out of the process. If you think you can deliver this role then we want to hear from you, regardless of the boxes you didn’t tick.

Removing bias from the hiring process

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Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Start your de-biased application