Earth Observation Payload RF Engineer at Spire Global
Glasgow, GB

Spire Global is a space-to-cloud analytics company that owns and operates the largest multi-purpose constellation of satellites. Its proprietary data and algorithms provide the most advanced maritime, aviation, and weather tracking in the world. In addition to its constellation, Spire’s data infrastructure includes a global ground station network and 24/7 operations that provide real-time global coverage of every point on Earth

As Earth Observation Payload RF engineer at Spire, you will be part of a team laser-focused on delivering critical meteorological data powering weather prediction models worldwide, by leveraging GPS / GNSS Earth remote-sensing technology in concert with Spire's constellation of nano-satellites. You will own the RF design of the STRATOS GNSS payload, and will ensure that the hardware of the RF front-end and the firmware on the DSP back-end subsystems of the STRATOS GNSS payload performs according to a high quality standard, that it is designed & manufactured following good engineering practices, and that it is tested carefully and thoroughly by the satellite manufacturing team. Your will also work to guarantee that the STRATOS GNSS payload hardware maintains a reliable health during its on-orbit operations and throughout its designed mission lifetime. The STRATOS GNSS payload is installed on every cubesat of the Spire constellation, which is growing at a rate of 30-50 new satellites a year. If you have relevant experience on RF design & development, and/or RADAR or Earth Remote Sensing, and have the drive and motivation to ideate and deploy the processes that will guarantee the stability and performance of a piece of hardware that has a global impact, we’d love to hear from you. 

Responsibilities of your role:

Own the GNSS Payload RF front-end design (from concept, through schematic and down to PCB).

Work closely with the electronics & mechanical design teams to ensure that every new design release of the RF front-end and the DSP back-end of the STRATOS  GNSS payload follows good engineering practices.

Be intimately familiar with all high- and low-level design details of every new design release of the RF front-end and the DSP back-end of the STRATOS payload.

Provide expert on-demand support to the satellite manufacturing team during all stages of the STRATOS payload manufacturing, quickly detecting the root cause of unusual failures and devising effective mitigations.  

Collaborate with the manufacturing engineering team to ideate, improve, deploy, validate, document & maintain the stringent hardware acceptance tests to which Spire submits every STRATOS payload unit manufactured. 

Own  the RF qualification process of each new STRATOS payload design release. This involves: designing and documenting the qualification process, running the actual qualification tests, report the results in written form and, when tests fail, communicate the issues to the design teams & management.  

Provide on-demand support to the satellite operations team to help diagnose any eventual on-orbit malfunctions of the STRATOS payload, devise mitigation paths when possible, and help that team to deploy those.

As a background recurrent duty: track, monitor & log relevant performance quality & health metrics of every STRATOS payload unit manufactured, as well as any incidents or relevant events occurred upon on-orbit operation, throughout its whole lifetime.

Once every quarter, run an analysis of said accumulated historical quality records to leverage its information content, converting the latter to lists of smart actions (i.e., suggested changes on design, manufacturing or test processes) that shall further improve the STRATOS payload hardware quality and on-orbit operations reliability.

Must-have Core Requirements:

Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Engineering  Physics or the equivalent.

Master in Electrical Engineering with specialization on signal processing, RF and wave propagation, or equivalent expertise acquired through professional practice. 

Solid understanding of RF & Microwave circuit design (distributed impedance elements, Smith chart) and radio waves propagation.

Solid understanding of radio communication principles and SNR link budget.

Solid understanding of radio receiver design techniques and architectures.

At least 3 years of accumulated hands-on experience designing (schematic & PCB entry), manufacturing and debugging radio receivers working at 400 MHz or higher. 

Hands-on practice dealing with, and solving, electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues related with RF electronic circuits

Solid understanding of antenna working principles and its electrical performance parameters as a system: radiation pattern, gain, directivity, polarization, ohmic & total efficiency, input impedance & return loss.

A background on digital signal processing (DSP) techniques, e.g., convolution & Fourier transform, IIR & FIR filters, FFT, sampling theorem.

At least 1.5 years of accumulated hands-on experience implementing one or more embedded DSP systems, either designing the electronic board yourself or using a COTS development kit. Any combination of pure processor chipsets or FPGA(s) is valid. 

Some professional coding experience, either using C, assembly, or a combination.

Intimate familiarity using standard RF & DSP laboratory test equipment: oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, vector network analyzer, vector signal generators. 

Hands-on experience analysing and extracting statistical information from large amounts of data (data collection and sorting, scripted processing, statistics calculation, data visualization, hypothesis testing).

A detail-oriented personality; careful, methodological, and persistent in tracking down problems.

Basic user-level experience on Linux  (Unix) systems using shell command line.

Nice-To Have Non-Core Requirements

Experience with digital radio communications theory, radio modems design and implementation. 

Familiarity with working principle and signal structure of GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, etc) and navigation receivers

Experience with C++, Bash, Python, Ruby, Matlab, and / or Octave.

Experience with SQL database

Experience with amazon cloud services

Experience in systems engineering, covering the design, implementation, verification, and operation phases.

Master’s and / or PhD degree, or experience in relevant fields.

Experience in data mining and artificial intelligence

Spire is Global and our success draws upon the diverse viewpoints, skills and experiences of our employees. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, gender identity or veteran status.