Job opportunities in the Octopus Ventures portfolio

Octopus Ventures
Octopus Ventures

Principal Systems Engineer (Structures & AIT)

Orbex Space

Orbex Space

Software Engineering
Forres IV36, UK
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2024

Orbex are looking for a Principal Systems Engineer to support our Structures and AIT functions. You will play a vital role in our team, ensuring the integrity, safety, and performance of structural components and systems within our projects. You will collaborate with cross-functional teams to support the design, analysis, and verification of structures to ensure that they meet the industry standards and requirements for our first launch.

About Orbex

Orbex is a leading micro-launch company with our Prime vehicle being prepared to launch from our home spaceport, Sutherland Spaceport. We are well placed to be one of the first operational micro-launch companies in Europe with over £103m of project financing secured, a number of customers signed up, our launch licence application submitted, and backing from organisations including UKSA and ESA.

We are a rapidly growing company with staff located between our production and test facilities in Forres, Scotland and Copenhagen, Denmark. Working on cutting-edge advances in rocket fuel technology, Prime’s carbon footprint is up to 96% lower than comparable vehicles, leading to innovations in propulsion and tank structures. A state-of-the-art re-flight system means we can recover and reuse our technology, and innovations in separation mechanisms mean we leave no debris in space.

Having developed in-house production capability, we can 3D print complex engines, produce full-scale carbon composite fuel tanks, and have avionics and software testing labs in both Scotland and Denmark. Based in Forres, you will be right in the heart of this fast-paced cutting-edge company, gaining a unique insight into what it takes to build a new launch vehicle for a buoyant commercial market.

To work with Orbex You must be able to thrive in an international, diverse, and multicultural environment. Orbex is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is working towards a more diverse workforce in the aerospace industry.

The Position

Orbex are looking for an experienced Systems Engineer to work closely with our Structures department to oversee system integration and testing. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience across the systems lifecycle but with particular emphasis on manufacturing and test enabling them to act as the primary interface between our engineering teams and AIT department. Additionally there is broader scope for the individual to act as a team lead within the System Engineering department taking on responsibility across all engineering domains, implementing and refining existing processes and developing new ones where required.

The position includes the following tasks and responsibilities:

Perform structural analysis and simulation using industry-standard tools (e.g., FEA) to assess the structural integrity and performance of components and systems

Collaborate with system engineers to integrate structural components into larger aerospace systems, ensuring seamless functionality

Key Responsibilities:

  • System Integration: Work closely with design teams to create aerospace structures, ensuring they meet aerodynamic, structural, and safety requirements. Lead the integration of complex systems during the manufacturing phase, ensuring all components work harmoniously. Coordinate with cross-functional teams to resolve integration issues efficiently.
  • Testing and Validation: Develop and execute comprehensive test plans for launch vehicle systems and structural subsystems to verify their performance and functionality. Ensure compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
  • Operational Support: Provide technical expertise and support during the operational phase of the system, including troubleshooting, maintenance, and optimization.
  • Design Reviews: Conduct in-depth review and evaluation of engineering work to identify any flaws, potential errors, or areas for improvement in engineering projects or solutions and ensure that the work meets industry standards, best practices, and regulatory requirements. Assess the quality and accuracy of engineering designs, specifications, and technical documentation created by other engineers.
  • Configuration Management: Review and approve design changes and non-conformances to maintain the system baseline, ensuring that modifications align with project requirements and standards while ensuring that repercussions are accurately assessed and corrective measures are implemented promptly. Manage system configurations, including hardware and software changes, version control, and documentation. Ensure that changes are tracked and implemented efficiently.
  • Quality Assurance: Ensure that engineers follow established PQ/QA processes and guidelines, conducting periodic assessments to verify compliance and assess their efficiency and effectiveness. Design and implement processes that uphold or improve quality and assurance throughout the project lifecycle, including reviews, audits, and quality control checks and ensure continuous improvement.
  • Engineering Processes: Define and implement company-wide engineering processes and best practices to streamline development, integration, and testing of systems. Ensure adherence to these processes across all projects. Establish new engineering standards, guidelines and processes
  • Risk Management: Identify potential risks or deviations from standards early in the engineering process and propose strategies to mitigate these risks.
  • Team Leadership: Supervise and mentor a team of systems engineers, providing guidance and training to ensure they meet project objectives and develop their skills. Act as a key influencer and decision-maker in engineering discussions and strategic planning sessions. Lead by example in innovation, research, and the introduction of disruptive technologies or practices within the company. Present reports and updates to higher management.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Work closely with other departments, including project management, quality assurance, and legal teams, to align engineering processes with broader company goals and standards. Collaborate with various teams, including design, manufacturing, and operations, to drive seamless system transitions between lifecycle phases.
  • Documentation: Create and maintain comprehensive system documentation, including technical manuals, standard operating procedures, and design specifications.

Key Skills and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's or Master's degree in Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or a related field.
  • 8+ years of experience in systems engineering, with a strong focus on the latter phases of the system lifecycle.
  • Proven experience in aerospace structural systems.
  • Understanding of aerospace standards and regulations (e.g., CAA, ECSS, EASA)
  • In-depth knowledge of manufacturing processes, testing methodologies, and operational support for complex systems.
  • Proficiency in industry-standard tools and software for systems engineering, such as modelling and simulation software, CAD tools, and data analysis software.
  • Strong project management skills, with the ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and manage multiple initiatives involving cross-functional teams simultaneously.
  • Integrity, professionalism, and the ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion
  • Excellent problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, with a strong attention to detail.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Previous leadership experience and the ability to mentor and guide other engineers.

Desirable Skills and Qualifications

  • Proficiency in structural analysis tools and software (e.g., FEA, CAD).
  • Experience in safety and reliability analysis methodologies.


Orbex is a high-paced, startup culture where you will be encouraged to take assume responsibility for tasks and see them through.

It is imperative that you take initiative, communicate openly and can collaborate with technical and non-technical team members.

You must be able to thrive in an international, diverse and multicultural environment.


This role is based in Forres at Orbex’s headquarters.

Orbex Forres is located at the foot of the Scottish Highlands, near Inverness. It's close to the spectacular coastline, wild beaches and amazing wildlife of the Moray Firth, as well as being a short distance from the world famous Loch Ness, and Aviemore ski resort.

If you enjoy adventurous outdoor pursuits in extraordinary natural environments, the coast and highlands around Forres offer an ideal location.

Mountaineering, rock climbing, abseiling, hiking, mountain biking, cycling, camping, sailing, surfing, motorbiking and skiing are all within easy reach of our main UK factory, and many members of our team participate in adventure sports in the vast, beautiful settings of Sutherland.

If you enjoy drone flying, wildlife or landscape photography, some of the most spectacular vistas in the world are directly at your doorstep.


You must be a UK or European citizen or from a country that is a signatory to the MTCR convention. You will be required to obtain CTC clearance for the role.


For the right candidate, we offer an excellent benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive salary £55-75k depending on experience
  • An equity stake in the company so you will really benefit from your hard work as the company grows and is successful.
  • Our roles need to be on-site in Scotland due to the nature of the position, export controls and security, but we are happy to sponsor visas for you and your family and provide relocation assistance as required which includes a relocation allowance and 1 month of temporary accommodation in the local area
  • Company Cycle to Work scheme
  • 3% Nest Pension
  • EA Programme
  • Independent Mortgage Advice
  • Health Assurance