Spacecraft Controller - Mission Operation Center (7119U), Space Sciences Laboratory - 32668

Spacecraft Controller - Mission Operation Center (7119U), Space Sciences Laboratory - 32668 About Berkeley

At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world's leading institutions of higher education, distinguished by its combination of internationally recognized academic and research excellence; the transformative opportunity it provides to a large and diverse student body; its public mission and commitment to equity and social justice; and its roots in the California experience, animated by such values as innovation, questioning the status quo, and respect for the environment and nature. Since its founding in 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world.

We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles, our Principles of Community, and our Strategic Plan.

Departmental Overview

The Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) of the Berkeley campus reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Research. SSL's primary goal is to foster research in space-related sciences and to provide education for the next generation of space scientists. Research at SSL, led by Berkeley faculty and SSL Senior Fellows, focuses on experiments and observations carried out in space as well as theoretical and basic research.

The Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley operates a satellite Mission Operations Center (MOC) with responsibility to control a fleet of (currently) seven NASA-funded satellites, which pursue investigations in furtherance of Space Sciences Laboratory's scientific goals. We have satellites in Earth and Lunar orbit, and soon, in Martian orbit. The MOC is responsible for all aspects of flight operations of these satellites: ground station antenna operations, communication pass and science planning, real-time command and control, flight dynamics and navigation, health and safety monitoring, data recovery, and delivery of raw data for further analysis by scientific teams.

After receiving specialized training and becoming certified, incumbents receive minimal guidance on routine work, but detailed instructions on new assignments. The spacecraft controller's primary responsibility is the health and safety of the NASA spacecraft operated from the Space Sciences Laboratory. The duties include the operations activities needed to maintain orbiting spacecraft and responding to anomalous situations 24/7. The position involves analyzing spacecraft data, and working with other engineers to solve problems. The position also involves writing, reviewing, vetting and executing technical procedures for test and on-orbit operations. Spacecraft Controller will be trained in the operation of one of the existing missions first, then will be cross trained with additional missions, including missions still in development. Spacecraft Controller will be trained in pass scheduling for our missions with the NASA Ground Network, Deep Space Network, Space Network and commercial partners. Considerable travel may be necessary, but typically isolated to the discrete Integration & Test phase for new missions, where the Spacecraft Controller will be involved with testing new spacecraft during integration and environmental testing. Spacecraft Controllers are involved in continually upgrading and expanding the automated operations capabilities and innovation and new ideas in support of this are highly valued.

The Mission Operations Center uses the Linux operating system, and runs a combination of in-house developed software (written largely C, C++, and C shell scripts) as well as commercial and government off-the-shelf (COTS and GOTS) applications. Git is used for revision control. Existing in-house software systems leverage a MySQL database and Qt 5 for cross-platform GUI and networking support. The applicant must have demonstrable experience with the general software design and maintenance lifecycle in a high-level, object-oriented language. Abilities in software development of application-level client/server TCP/IP networking and familiarity with the Linux operating system is highly desirable.

Application Review Date

The First Review Date for this job is: March 25, 2022

  • Monitor real-time spacecraft telemetry and uplink commands and table loads to active spacecraft.
  • Generate and verify spacecraft activity sequence tables.
  • Participate in Integration & Test phase for new missions.
  • Schedule pass supports interfacing directly with NASA White Sands and JPL Deep Space Network Scheduling as well as remote commercial ground station networks.
  • Produce and analyze short- and long-term trending plots of spacecraft housekeeping telemetry.
  • Work on Ops Automation Tools or Processes
  • Write or update spacecraft procedures used for complex on-orbit operations.
  • Participate in spacecraft anomaly reporting, investigation and documentation while working with Mission Operations Team and spacecraft or instrument designers/engineers.
  • Write and test shell scripts used in the automation of ground systems used for spacecraft operations and scheduling.

Required Qualifications
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills in a multidisciplinary team environment.
  • Relevant experience writing and executing engineering/technical procedures.
  • Demonstrated past success as a key member of a small, tightly integrated technical team.
  • Working familiarity with Linux operating system.
  • Working familiarity with version control (preferably GIT).
  • Must be able to qualify for access to export-controlled information.

    Bachelor's degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Familiarity with programming or scripting languages (C++, Python)
  • Experience as a spacecraft (including Cubesats) operator or integrator, even as a student.
  • Experience with using software to develop automation tools.

Salary & Benefits

This is an exempt, monthly paid position. Annual salary is commensurate with experience.

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit:

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant see:
For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

To apply, visit

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