NCEO Airborne Earth Observatory Instrument Technician

London (Greater) (GB)
Grade 5, £32,676 to £37,297 per annum, inclusive of £3,500 per annum London Allowance
Friday, 19 February 2021
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 7 March 2021
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Geography
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

King's College London hosts one node of the National Centre for Earth Observation (  Divisional director, Professor Martin Wooster (Department of Geography) oversees field instruments and significant new investments, in cooperation with Mr James Johnson (EO Engineering &Technical Specialist). The group is leading the development of a new airborne remote sensing capability based on a manned aircraft platform - the NCEO Airborne Earth Observatory (NAEO).  

We plan to support this effort by appointing an instrument technician to provide electrical, mechanical and general engineering support to NAEO and the wider NCEO instrumentation capability, including the development of a Field and Airborne Instrumentation Lab just outside of London.   The role will be focused around fabrication, integration, commissioning and maintaining scientific EO instrumentation and aiding its use in data collection and experiments (including airborne hyperspectral imaging devices). The NAEO and the setting up of the new laboratory will be an additional key focus, as will supporting experiments conducted in the groups on site Combustion Chamber, (logistical support, desk based administration, and engineering support in the lab/field/on-board aircraft). A UK driving licence is an essential requirement

The post holder will report to the Engineering and Technical Specialist and work directly with researchers, academics, postgraduate students, aviation professionals and instrument manufacturers as required.

After training, the postholder will assist on-board the aircraft during data acquisitions through the operation and management of the sensors and associated equipment. First flights are expected in Spring/Summer 2021. 

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 18 months 
This is a full-time post.

Key responsibilities

  •   Assist in the upkeep, calibration, repair and operation of sensors (specifically Hyperspectral, Thermal, Photogrammetric & Lidar sensors) as well as other supporting infrastructure.  
  •   Assist in the fabrication of mounts and interfaces to secure sensors and equipment to various aircraft hard points. 
  •   Assist in the manufacture of installation specific data and power wiring looms.  
  •   Complete and collate all essential paperwork as detailed on specific engineering task cards. 
  •   Liaise with external groups visiting the lab to conduct calibration of equipment, preparing required sensors for ground/lab based tests. 
  •   Compile mission specific paperwork outlining data collection and acquisition information as supplied from all project relevant groups (data collection requirements, sensor setup, aeronautical parameters and authorisations, risk assessments, etc) 
  •   Back up collected data sets as per the data management protocol, conduct quality control assessment and assist data processing node as required to verify acquired data is valid. 
  •   Assist in the setting up of new the new NCEO Field and Airborne Instrumentation Laboratory, and the use of the equipment it hosts and that in the nearby experimental Combustion Chamber as required. 

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.  

Skills, knowledge, and experience  Essential criteria 

  • At least HNC level Electrical/Electronic or related
  • Engineering qualification  Ability to work alone on tasks once
  • relevant training and directions provided.   Experience working in an
  • electronics engineering laboratory or workshop   Willing to
  • contribute to other non engineering tasks associated with the running
  • of the NAEO and associated laboratories (administrative / logistical
  • duties) as required, including setting up of instruments for
  • experiments  
  • willingness to travel between sites and/or places of work as required for the role

Desirable criteria 

  • Experience of working with spectrometer or lidar technologies  
  • Current First Aid at Work Certificate  Working knowledge of
  • radiometric calibration and/or analysis of hyperspectral EO data 
  • Some coding ability (e.g. Python)  An understanding of aircraft
  • operations

Further information

Must be willing to deploy on research aircraft and travel overseas on campaign/fieldwork  
To be based within easy travel distance of Rothamsted Research, Harpenden 
Will be required to complete aviation related safety training based around fire & smoke and aircraft ditching certification