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Principal Spacecraft GNC Engineer/Lead

Principal Spacecraft GNC Engineer/Lead

companyRocket Lab
locationLong Beach, CA, USA
PublishedPublished: 6/14/2024
Engineering
Full Time

ABOUT ROCKET LAB

Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!

SPACE SYSTEMS

Rocket Lab’s Space Systems team is responsible for every satellite and satellite component made by Rocket Lab: from complete satellites destined for missions to the Moon and Mars, to the individual components and subsystems that make up a satellite like solar panels, flight software, reaction wheels and star trackers, separation systems, radios, and more. Our Space Systems team is made up of engineers, technicians, and designers who design, create, and put together our own satellites for missions across the commercial, government, and defense sectors, or who build and assemble satellite hardware and software that supports other satellite missions.

PRINCIPAL SPACECRAFT GUIDANCE NAVIGATION AND CONTROL (GNC) ENGINEER/LEAD

Based out of Rocket Lab’s global headquarters in Long Beach, the Principal Spacecraft GNC Engineer/Lead is responsible for leading GNC and ADCS development for Rocket Lab’s growing fleet of diverse spacecraft. You will demonstrate a firm grasp of spacecraft GNC concepts and applications. You will work with all facets of the engineering life cycle: spacecraft concept and algorithm development, flight software implementation, subsystem requirements development, detailed GNC design, subsystem integration & test (I&T), and vehicle I&T. You will be responsible for planning and maintaining the development schedule to support the Space Systems Software organization in executing leading edge programs and products. You will work closely with related teams, including Systems, Avionics, Flight Software, Mission Operations, and Ground Software. You will also directly interact with customers to ensure mission success.

WHAT YOU’LL GET TO DO:

  • Lead a team responsible for GNC design, modeling, and analysis for a wide variety of spacecraft and space missions to include LEO, MEO, GEO, Lunar, Interplanetary, Reentry, and RPOD
  • Design of flight software, algorithms, and simulation product
  • Development of spacecraft autonomy tools for constellation management
  • GNC component selection and GNC subsystem design
  • Test process development and execution
  • Define fault detection and response
  • Hardware-in-the-loop and monte carlo simulation
  • Integration of flight and simulation software with modern analysis, test, and operations tools
  • Support internal and external design reviews
  • Work with department leads and program managers to plan and maintain team schedule and milestones and report technical status
  • Coordinate with teams in Denver, Colorado and New Zealand

YOU’LL BRING THESE QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, aerospace engineering or similar technical discipline
  • 10+ years’ experience with C++ or similar object-oriented programming language
  • 3+ years of industry experience developing/operating spacecraft/satellites
  • Knowledge of GNC sensors and actuators
  • Proficiency in MATLAB, Python, or similar
  • Prior experience leading a team of three or more direct reports
  • Prior experience directly interfacing with aerospace customers in the commercial or government sectors

THESE QUALIFICATIONS WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE:

  • MS or PhD
  • Experience in Jira planning and workflow
  • Hands-on experience with IMU, reaction wheels, star trackers, gyroscopes, and other GNC hardware
  • Experience developing blended attitude solutions from a variety of sensor data
  • Demonstrated experience developing, implementing, and verifying flight software
  • Demonstrated experience with spacecraft on-orbit operations and anomaly resolution
  • Prior experience leading a team across a project lifecycle (not necessarily a spacecraft, not necessarily a whole GNC system)
  • Prior experience working multiple projects simultaneously and determining priorities for a team
  • Experience with GNC-related Business Development or conceptual design work

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus
  • Regularly required to sit, use hands and fingers, operate computer keyboard and controls, and communicate verbally and in writing
  • Must be physically able to commute to buildings 
  • Occasional exposure to dust, fumes and moderate levels of noise

Level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one component of our total rewards package at Rocket Lab.  Employees may also receive company equity and access to a robust benefits package including: top tier medical HMO, PPO & a 100% company-sponsored medical HSA plan option, dental and vision coverage, 3 weeks paid vacation and 5 days sick leave per year, 11 paid holidays per year, flexible spending and dependent care savings accounts, paid parental leave, disability insurance, life insurance, and access to a 401(k) retirement plan with company match. Other perks include: Discounted employee stock purchase program, subsidized EV charging stations, onsite gym, food and drinks, childcare concierge, and other discounts.

Eligibility for benefits may vary based on employment status, please check with your recruiter for a comprehensive list of the benefits available for this role. Benefit programs are subject to change at the company’s discretion.

Base Pay Range (CA Only)$165,000—$230,000 USD

WHAT TO EXPECT 

We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:

FOR CANDIDATES SEEKING TO WORK IN US OFFICES ONLY:

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.

FOR CANDIDATES SEEKING TO WORK IN NEW ZEALAND OFFICES ONLY:

For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations. 

Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality.  For more information on these Regulations, click here ITAR Regulations.