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Project Manager for CubeSat Mission

Northumbria University NEWCASTLE
Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear
£45,584 - £51,586
Closing date
25 Jul 2024

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Aerospace / Defence, Engineering, IT
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
Job Function
Project Manager

Faculty/Service: Engineering & Environment

Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Role Title: Project Manager for CubeSat Mission

Grade: 7

Category: Academic

Role Purpose:    

This post is externally funded to support research and development on a UK Space Agency grant titled, “Laser Optical Communications in CubeSats”. The primary role of this position is to manage the schedule, risks, finances, workload, regulatory oversight, IP development, tendering contracts and purchasing, logistics and reporting for a CubeSat flight-ready project.

Reports to: Prof Eamon Scullion

DBS Required: Disclosure and Barring Service Check not required

General Duties and Responsibilities:

The candidate will work within the Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering in the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory within the leadership and management team preparing an in-orbit demonstration mission for a novel laser communication system for CubeSats. This involves working within the Northumbria team on the design, testing and build of hardware and software for two 6U CubeSats to launch into Low Earth Orbit and demonstrate the function of a free space optical link between CubeSats. The project is funded by the UK Space Agency and includes partners from Durham University, Telespazio and Smart Sentry SMS, as well as support from Lockheed Martin Space UK and the UK Space Agency. The overall aim of the role is to lead the project management of both the consortium and project level and the Northumbria University team at work-package level. The post holder will be responsible for working with the UK Space Agency, project partners and Northumbria staff to deliver the project on time, within budget, and to the agreed performance levels of the final product. This will entail managing the schedule, risks, finances, workload, regulatory oversight, IP development, tendering/contracts and purchasing, logistics and reporting to the UKSA for the project. The project is funded by the UKSA for £5.8M budget from now until 31 March 2025 with the prospect of an extension into 2027 on securing further funding for launch and operations phases of the mission. The project consortium consists of 30+ team members with a wide range of expertise ranging from lab technicians, software & hardware post-doctoral researchers, design electronic engineers, integration and test engineers, opto-electronic engineers, environmental engineers, PCB manufacturers, satellite manufacturers and administrative staff including procurement, commercial, legal and business development managers.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assist the PI to manage the project to deliver completed flight-qualified satellites on schedule and within budget.
  • Engage with the project partners to manage performance and ensure timely delivery of outputs.
  • Lead the delivery of the milestone reporting and financial claim process to the UKSA and distribution of funds within the project partners.
  • Be responsible for oversight of schedule, risk, regulatory considerations, intellectual property development, tendering and purchasing, and budget for the project.

Subject Specialism:

We are seeking candidates with experience and skills relating to project management of satellite or aerospace research and product development projects. Therefore, a qualification in professional project management is essential. A track record of professional experience in aerospace, satellite or laser free-space optics research and development projects is desirable. Experience working in UKSA/ESA/NASA funded projects is desirable. The role will include managing a diverse team of scientists and engineers across four project partners and several subcontracts to deliver a world-leading laser communication system. It is essential, therefore, that the post holder have strong interpersonal, communication (written and verbal), person management and time management skills. Some technical knowledge of aerospace or optical communication systems is desirable to allow smooth interaction with the team.

This Role Description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties and will be subject to periodic review by the University Executive and/or relevant within the Faculty/Service in discussion with the role-holder.


The job holder will be based on the City Campus of Northumbria University although there is scope for remote working arrangements.

Attendance Requirements:

Northumbria University is an on-campus organisation where colleagues work regular patterns of hours and on campus, with some flexibility on the timing of their hours and the location of their work in discussion with their manager. Colleagues who would like to make a long term or permanent change to their hours, pattern or place of work should request this via a Flexible Working Request.

Duration of contract:

Fixed term for 9 months (May 2025) with immediate start or preferably starting July 2024, with the opportunity to extend upon successful delivery after March 2025.

Person Specification

Specific Knowledge


  • Project management
  • Budget management
  • Schedule management


  • Regulatory and legal issues with satellite projects
  • UKSA reporting style
  • Product development for the space market

Skills, Abilities & Behaviours


  • Ability to work as an effective leader of a team, supporting and driving forward the project.
  • Proven project management capability.
  • Proven communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to effectively plan and organise resources to support the delivery of the project


  • A positive, inclusive and collegial leadership style, and the ability to inspire and motivate others to achieve results.
  • Ability to receive, understand and convey ideas and information clearly and accurately which may at times be complex, highly detailed, technical or specialist, both in written and verbal form.



  • Working in an aerospace engineering or R&D team.
  • Planning and organising the activities of self and others.


  • Contributing to the development and implementation of CubeSat or equivalent hardware or software.
  • Working in a project funded by or with financial and technical reporting to the UKSA

Education & Training


  • A project management qualification and experience with science or engineering R&D projects, or equivalent professional experience with clear appropriate link to CubeSat missions.
  • IT literate
  • Project management (MS Project) software literate

Closing date for applications is 25 July- click 'APPLY' now!

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