Optical Systems Engineer

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL)
Surrey, UK
Added: April 23, 2024

The Optical Team seeks a dynamic, organised and proactive engineer with high standards and technical capabilities to lead the development and delivery of the next generation of SSTL’s spacecraft Optical Payloads.

Engineers at SSTL have involvement on a mission right from concept through to launch, commissioning and operational life; a true cradle to grave experience, and will give you the chance to see your work in Space in a rapid timescale! This key role will often sit within the core team of a satellite mission interacting with other technical leads across multiple disciplines to generate the technical solutions for innovative projects.


  • Development of space-borne optical systems within a multidisciplinary team performing optical instrument system design, being the technical point of contact for the relevant optical system(s)
  • Design and development of optical systems from concept through to manufacture, system integration and verification
  • Management of new optical solutions including the programmatic and technical aspects of work packages relevant to area of expertise
  • Define and own technical requirements specifications for optical payload systems and the payload chain, including trade analysis of these requirements working closely with the spacecraft system engineer to identify derived requirements
  • Development planning, budget and schedule management
  • Manage and ensure timely delivery of the complete Payload through SSTL manufacturing processes
  • ‘Hands-on’ with the payload and subsystems at all development stages, from prototypes through to final assembly, integration and verification
  • Ownership of risk registers and appropriate mitigation as agreed with the project manager
  • The ability to pragmatically review and critique optical systems for application in space, balancing technical requirements with programmatic and budget constraints
  • Support to and ownership of, but not limited to
  • Optical system architecture definition
  • Optical design
  • Performance evaluation and testing
  • Subsystem and component specification definition
  • Subsystem and component manufacture oversight
  • Optical system alignment and testing
  • Proposal writing

Previous Experience

  • Comprehensive knowledge of Optical Engineering, applied to space applications, coupled with a working knowledge of other engineering disciplines e.g. electronics, opto-mechanics, image processing and electro-optical device physics
  • Knowledge and experience of other spacecraft systems would be an advantage
  • The candidate should have basic opto-mechanical knowledge to aid in optical system development
  • Knowledge in materials and component selection, in the space domain
  • ‘End to end’ Optical Engineering and Payload Chain knowledge/experience including
  • Requirements Engineering and Trade offs
  • Electro-opto-mechanical Design and Analysis
  • Image Quality
  • ‘Hands-On’ integration of Optical Systems (preferably including Space Systems)
  • Validation and Verification, including testing

Qualifications Knowledge & Skills

  • BSc in Optics, Physics or engineering ideally with proven related practical optical or spacecraft experience
  • A degree or equivalent in an engineering or technical discipline
  • Optical design experience with proficiency in Optic Studio (Zemax) is desirable
  • Design and analysis software knowledge, such as SolidWorks, Ansys, SigFit, Python
  • Self-motivated, creative, high attention to detail
  • Excellent at planning and organising
  • Ability to work autonomously or within project team(s) managing their own work and the work of others
  • Recognised ability to deliver
  • Flexible and adaptable to changing priorities
  • Knowledge of spacecraft systems / design would be an advantage including materials
  • Good MS Office Skills
  • Knowledge of Quality Management mechanisms
  • Able to demonstrate company mindsets and behaviours; Be accountable, Drive & delivery, Communicate effectively, Self-manage effectively, Work as one team


SSTL prides itself on being a super flexible company. The role is based in our Head Office in Guildford but we fully support hybrid working and a range of flexible working options.


Our comprehensive benefits package includes; 32 days Holiday plus Bank Holidays, Pension Scheme with Life Assurance, Private Medical & International Travel Insurance, Annual Bonus Scheme, Share Incentive Plan, Enhanced Maternity, Paternity & Shared Parental Pay for new parents, High Street Discount Scheme and many more!

Visa Support

SSTL supports applications requiring a UK Skilled Worker Visa and sponsorship is available for this role. Relocation assistance also available.