Implementation of the Next Generation Space Link Protocol (Ref 16/20)

Company: Qinetiq

Location: Farnborough, Hampshire.

QinetiQ is one of the world’s leading defence technology and security companies with over 9000 staff worldwide. Revenue from the group last financial year exceeded £750 million.  We are the only government defence research laboratory in the world to grow successfully into a thriving international company, and we give our customers access to the output of 50 years of national investment at the forefront of technology. We are a commercial organisation present in the UK, Belgium, North America and Australasia with a breadth and depth of innovative technologies, services, customers, contracts and geographies. We operate at over 40 UK sites with major laboratories at Farnborough, Boscombe Down and Malvern.

QinetiQ employs many leading scientists, engineers and internationally acclaimed experts.  It offers a unique range of services; from the highest level of operational studies and analysis, through the various categories of basic and applied research, to consultancy advice on the procurement process and the design, test and evaluation of specific equipment in both the development phase and during actual operations.

QinetiQ’s Space Programme Area has a long and prestigious record in space technology, space missions, remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems that dates back to the early 1970s. Today, QinetiQ is a significant space technology provider in Europe and employs more than 150 space subject matter experts co-ordinated by space’s managing director, Mr Erik Masure.

Project Outline

The development of a new space link protocol (USLP) has been proposed – the space link protocol is responsible for taking command information from the operator and transferring it up to the spacecraft. The same system is used to collect satellite telemetry (temperatures, voltages, pictures, etc) and deliver them back to the ground. The rationale for this new protocol is to accommodate the communications needs for the next generation of spacecraft, ranging from Earth Observation satellites to Human exploration vehicles.  For the protocol to be fully issued for international use, the system has to be proven through interoperable testing with other space agencies. Currently NASA and DLR (German Space Agency) are working on developing a prototype for testing in the latter part of this year. A third implementation, from the UK, will add further evidence to ensure that the recommendation could be issued earlier.

The programme of work would be the following:

  1. Review the draft USLP specification
  2. Create a software implementation of the USLP protocol
  3. Create an interface to the protocol to ease the testing of the protocol
  4. Review the international test plan to ensure that the UK implementation can be used for testing with NASA and DLR. The output of this is a local acceptance test plan for the software
  5. Demonstrate the protocol running between 2 computers (e.g. Raspberry Pi)

This work package would be suitable for a student that is familiar with software development (Python, C, Java, etc) and Earth based networking protocols.

Spintern Specification

The individual will need to have a reasonable understanding of programming in a high level language (Python, C etc). It would also be an advantage to understand computer networking but this is not essential

Minimum Requirements:

Start to be mutually agreed, (Induction Day will be at Harwell on 27 June), £1,700 pcm gross

Preferred Additional Requirements:

Target courses: Physics, Remote Sensing, Engineering, Physical Geography, Mathematics and other similar courses

The Nitty Gritty

Start to be mutually agreed, (Induction Day will be at Harwell on 27th June), £1,700 pcm gross

Closing Date for Applications: 12 June

Applications will be through the online form attaching a CV, before the closing date. They will be checked for eligibility and forwarded to the employer.

Apply for this SPIN opportunity

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