Test Site Operations Lead

Location: Edinburgh

Job Code: E-M-TSOPS01

Salary: £40,000

About the company

Skyrora are the UK’s leading New-Space small satellite launch vehicle engineering company, based in Edinburgh. Skyrora’s mission is to provide a versatile and dedicated sovereign launch capability to serve the world-leading satellite manufacturers local to the UK and Europe. Leading the UK’s effort to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly launch vehicle, Skyrora combines both world-leading innovative engineering solutions for the construction of its launch vehicles and liquid propulsion technologies. A focus of our technology approach is to minimise the impact on the immediate environment.

Small and Micro satellites are being used more and more in everyday life, with the manufacturing rate increasing year by year. They assist us by tracking forest fires, providing communications to remote places and capturing high-definition images of the Earth, to name a few. There is currently a lack of launch opportunities for smallsats, and it is Skyrora’s goal to open this access to space, to unlock the potential for all.

We design and build our launch vehicles in house and aim to launch from the UK with our Skyrora XL, a 3-stage liquid launch vehicle. We have built the UK’s largest test engine facility, this groundbreaking testing infrastructure will aid the testing of engines on our orbital Skyrora XL launch vehicle, allowing Skyrora to both become the first British company to launch from British soil and deliver sovereign UK launch capability at scale in the long term. In our engine development, we performed over 120 liquid engine tests in 2020 alone. Globally, we have recently secured over £3M in ESA funding, to accelerate our development activities.

We have built the UK’s largest test engine facility, this groundbreaking testing infrastructure will aid the testing of engines on our orbital Skyrora XL launch vehicle, allowing Skyrora to both become the first British company to launch from British soil and deliver sovereign UK launch capability at scale in the long term!
Team working is at our core and we face new challenges every day. Every member of Skyrora’s diverse team demonstrates entrepreneurial flexibility to cooperate and establish sustainable solutions to all the challenges thrown at us; from creating the legal landscape enabling space flight in UK, to societal challenge of fighting global pandemics such as COVID-19, Skyrora is constantly challenging itself.

Why not challenge yourself in trying to get the UK back to space?

About the Role

We are currently in the construction phase of our largest Test Site facility based here in Scotland. This is an exciting step for Skyrora with the new site expected to be one of the largest qualified liquid rocket engine test locations within the UK. We are looking for a talented and capable Test Site Operations Manager to manage a small team of rocket test technicians, including the Chief Test Engineer, and will report directly to the Head of Engineering.

In short, you will be leading a team in testing orbit-class rocket engines to be used in the Skyrora XL vehicle.

The successful candidate will coordinate and provide direction for all on-site activities, including managing Health & Safety, technical developments, test site operations, test/operational Key Performance Indicators, public liaising, and reporting progress to Upper Management. The successful candidate will drive the team to successfully complete all live hot fire acceptance tests of our suite of engines on schedule and within budget.

The Test Site Operations lead will be responsible for maintaining the highest level of quality, by overseeing all trade and field personnel including subcontractors to ensure that all individuals onsite adhere to good safety and cleanliness (5S) practices.

The ideal candidate will not only require strong leadership and management skills, but also have the technical experience to guide and support the team to install and operate various complex pneumatic and hydraulic systems.

This is a great opportunity to join us at our new Engine Test Site and be part of our journey to orbit.

Key Responsibilities and Tasks

  • Managing the test site team, including the Chief Test Engineer, Technicians, H&S Officers and Electrical Engineers
  • Coordinate and supervise all test site activities, including setup, operation, close down and upgrade
  • Responsible for safety and security coordination for onsite test activities
  • Responsible for pneumatic and hydraulic feed system operations for test campaigns, system activation and improvement work
  • Maintain the test site change schedule - identifying and solving problems as they arise
  • Maintain positive relationships with Skyrora stakeholders, including contractors, suppliers, and the surrounding local community
  • Promote job site safety – encouraging safe work practices and ensuing all Skyrora employees/contractors adhere to the company safety policy
  • Coordinate daily pre-start meetings with all onsite personnel to coordinate priorities and tasks
  • Maintain and enforce 5S/FOD prevention practices to ensure that site cleanliness is top priority

Essential Experience & Skills

  • Hands on experience with high pressure fluid systems or industrial feed systems operation
  • 5+ years Team Lead experience
  • 3+ years Project Management experience
  • Experience of running fast paced operations, managing and motivating teams to succeed
  • Experience of maintaining relationships and liaison with team members and key stakeholders, both internal and external
  • Strong communication skills - ensuring team members understand key messages and expectations
  • Demonstrated leadership in establishing a high performing safety culture
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of recognised Health and Safety regulations
  • Knowledge of high-pressure feed system components and instrumentation (pressure regulators, check valves, actuated valves, mass flow rate sensors, thermocouples, pressure sensors, solenoids and relays)
  • Experience of highlighting and sourcing pneumatic / hydraulic components based on technical specification (valve sizing, material compatibility, correct seal identification, power requirements)
  • Knowledge of hazardous systems (cryogenic, flammable, high pressure, and corrosive)

Desirable Experience & Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree minimum in an engineering related field (Aerospace / Mechanical etc)
  • Experience in field environment – outdoor industrial plant sites
  • Experience of Rocket Engine Testing
  • Experience of managing a test/operations team

Additional Requirements

  • Valid passport, including right to work in the UK
  • Full driving licence is preferred
  • Must be willing to work overtime and weekends, going the extra mile to meet critical company deadlines. This includes taking full ownership of the Test Site team and its operations, as testing schedules may stipulate very infrequent irregular working hours to satisfy test campaign timelines.
  • Must be willing to work in a dynamic teamwork-oriented environment
  • Must be determined to make a significant contribution to UK Space launch capability

To apply, please send your CV and Cover Letter to careers@skyrora.com with the subject header displaying the job code E-M-TSOPS01.