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Satellite Operators,Physics & Astronomy,Faculty of Science

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Job ID: 15777

Updated: July 7, 2018

Location: Main Campus

Position Overview

The Department of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Science invites applications for 2 Satellite Operators . This Full-time Fixed Term position is for approximately 1.5 year (based on length of grant funding), with the possibility of extension.

The University of Calgary is seeking 2 highly motivated individuals to be a Satellite Operators in the University’s Mission Operations System (MOS) in support of the Cassiope Satellite. The U of C is developing the MOS in conjunction with MDA Cascade Data Services who is responsible for Cassiope operations. Successful candidates will perform operations support functions for the MOS ground system from the prelaunch phase through to routine operations.

This position is assigned to a specific team and rotational shift, but may temporarily support other teams on an as-needed basis. Flexibility is required as well as the ability to work off-shifts occasionally in support of spacecraft or ground system anomaly resolution.

Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

As a member of the Cassiope Mission Operations Team in the University of Calgary's Department of Physics & Astronomy, you will be:

  • Responsible for providing assistance in the development of simulation scripts and configuration modifications to the Cassiope satellite database, environmental models, evaluations and rehearsals
  • Monitor automated planning system components and manually intervene as required
  • Support the testing and integration of collected planning input files
  • Creation of all command timelines and attitude control system tables for upload, including conversion to command procedures and parameter table validation
  • Review Spacecraft telemetry during and after every contact session to verify spacecraft health and proper operation
  • Maintain the ground system configuration, do ground and spacecraft troubleshooting, diagnosis, procedure creation and maintenance
  • Responsible for operating all ground equipment necessary to contact the Cassiope spacecraft, commanding the spacecraft, and downloading payload and health & safety data required for efficient mission operations
  • Interact with e-POP Science Operations Centre (eSOC) and ground station personnel to effect the smooth operation of the spacecraft and ground systems, maximizing asset life
  • Assist the Scientist in Charge (SIC) and eSOC in the coordination of spacecraft operations and utilization of spacecraft resources during routine operations
  • Assist in the coordination of resource allocation, mission coordination and prioritization with the rest of the Swarm constellation
  • Participate in system tests and recovery actions, provide feedback to Mission Manager, and improve the MOS workflow of the Cassiope spacecraft.
  • Assist in the coordination of improvements to the documentation, configuration and execution of systems and recommend changes in development, maintenance, and system standards
  • Receive inputs from the Mission Manager and eSOC to create and vet S/C command timelines and corresponding attitude files
  • Interface with the S-Band tracking station operators (Swedish Space Corporation [SSC] and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt [DLR]), for spacecraft anomaly resolution and recovery actions, supplying them with the S/C command and attitude timelines, and receiving from them the S/C Health and Safety (H&S) and Science data for trending and distribution
  • Operate the Cassiope Spacecraft through the Ka-Band Ground Terminal (GT) at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) as instructed by the mission manager
  • Report to the mission manager and take initial actions to prevent/restore operations interruptions and/or system degradations
  • Analyze all system messages/alarms, perform equipment diagnostics, follow vendor-troubleshooting procedures and take prescribed corrective action to minimize interruptions in routine operations
  • Participate in fault resolution with the rest of the team, mission manager and vendor support teams
  • Assist in site procedure documentation and process development
  • Perform management of system files, system configuration, and conduct periodic file backup and restoration activities on multiple MOS systems
  • Communicate service and technical information in a professional manner to the rest of the MOS team, eSOC personnel, SSC, DLR and the European Space Agency (ESA). Utilize Operations reporting systems, processes and procedures to ensure timely and accurate trouble resolution and activity report generation
  • Vet/validate Standard Operating Procedures, identifying new product needs, providing hands-on support for the sustainment of the MOS, and support training as-needed
  • Participate in MOS system upgrade activities
  • Configure new or updated system resources to support all mission operations, training and maintenance activities
  • Develop procedures, scripts, and processes for ensuring the timely and effective execution of mission objectives including, but not limited to, science data production and delivery
  • Participate in the continued development for and execution of calibration activities
  • Prepare and present briefings as a Communications Engineer/Subject Matter Expert as required

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree (or portion thereof) in computer science, engineering, physics, or math is highly desired. Relevant experience will be considered in place of education
  • Must be able to work autonomously, be willing to do work shifts and be on call 24x7
  • Candidate must be able to differentiate colours on a monitor, especially the colours red, green, and yellow. This is because the job requires the operator to perform a specific action when a particular colour is noted
  • Outstanding customer service skills; ability to handle Science Team and vendor issues with diplomacy, tact and a concern for their needs
  • Given the rural location of the Ka-Band ground station, preference will be given to candidates in possession of a current Driver’s License and a vehicle
  • Ability to stand, sit, and stoop; must be able to lift up to 25 pounds (~11 kg)
  • Understanding of general monitoring and maintenance procedures for satellites and the ability to understand technical details of satellite communications is preferred
  • Familiar with Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Scripting is highly desirable
  • Able to demonstrate basic proficiency with MS Office (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel)
  • Ability to learn how to operate various collection planning, mission planning, and satellite command and control software applications is required. (e.g. Satellite Tool Kit ; ITOS )
  • Able to contribute technically and interpersonally on small and closely integrated team
  • Possess good communication, interpersonal and motivational abilities, and maintain composure under stressful situations
  • Posses strong technical aptitude, problem solving capabilities, good time management skills and respond to work requests as assigned
  • Good working knowledge of world geography

NOTE: Upon successful selection, this position requires the candidate to be registered in the Canadian Controlled Goods Program . In order to obtain a clearance you need to be a Canadian Citizen, show proof of citizenship and pass a police screening check. Failure to obtain clearance will, unfortunately, disqualify the candidate for employment in this position.

Application Deadline: July 6, 2018

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Technical Job Family, Phase II.

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website. For more information about the Faculty of Science visit Careers in the Faculty of Science.


About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


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