Software developer for satellite control

Since the Soviet Union put Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite in history, into orbit in 1957, we haven’t stopped launching new models of satellite with diverse uses into space. It is estimated that there are hundreds of satellites currently in operation and that thousands have been put into orbit over the last 50 years. For a satellite to carry out the function for which it was designed it is necessary, in general, for it to remain in a very specific region of space. This is particularly true of telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit. On the one hand, this implies the necessity of a precise monitoring of position, velocity, mass and other characteristics both of the orbit itself and the satellite within it; on the other, it is essential to be able to calculate the adjustments necessary for the satellite to remain at all times within the assigned window for its mission. For this to be possible, the companies operating the satellites require appropriate software which allows them to determine the position and orientation of the satellite, as well as to plan and execute the necessary manoeuvres.

My job consists in the development and maintenance of one of the dynamic flight systems currently used by commercial satellite operating companies. It is the one supplied by GMV, the company for who I have been working for more than a year. Since the position is unquestionably that of a programmer, it is absolutely essential to be familiar with one of the relevant programming languages: Fortran, C++, Tcl…  Regarding the physics aspect of dynamic orbits of satellites, it is recommended that you have some previous knowledge, but not indispensable, it can all be learnt on the job.
I would say that physics is not the most common background amongst my co-workers, who are principally aeronautical engineers. That said, it should be emphasised that the number of physicists in my division is not at all negligible.

Finally, I want to thank the people behind this blog for the efforts they are making to get this idea off the ground. I think it is a very interesting idea and it would have been very useful to me when I started looking for work and, although it has come a little late for me, I hope that it will help as many people as possible to learn about the possible professions that lead on from our degree.

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Other details just in case you are interested in this post:

  • How to apply?
    You should send a CV to the following email address: jobs@gmv.com.  You can check current job offers at this link.
  • Where can I find more information?
    You can find more information on GMV’s webpage about the work the company does within the space sector, as well as all the other areas they are involved in.
  • Important qualities for job applicants?
    GMV supplies its satellite control software to businesses all over the world, so a high level of English is important.
  • What is the tipical (gross) salary for the first five years?
    More or less in the range 15K-30K€ /year.