Senior Avionics Engineer

Senior Avionics Engineer

companyRocket Lab
locationLong Beach, CA, USA
PublishedPublished: 3/6/2024
Full Time


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!


Neutron is a medium lift launch vehicle capable of delivering the mega constellations of tomorrow, high assurance payloads, and human spaceflight. As a highly reusable launch platform, Neutron will deliver a highly cost-effective and reliable launch solution leveraging Rocket Lab’s proven execution history with the Electron program. If you’re interested in joining a high performing team and pushing the boundaries of humanity with a clean sheet, reusable launch vehicle, this is your opportunity! 


Based out of Rocket Lab's headquarters in Long Beach, CA, the Senior Avionics Engineer is responsible for end-to-end development and implementation of the Archimedes engine electrical systems and high explosive trains for the self-destruct system. You will be part of a small, agile, and effective US-based avionics team (the “Boomatronics”) supporting these applications as part of the global Neutron program. You will contribute to current and future vehicle architectures, with the opportunity for full life-cycle ownership of electrical and highly energetic systems.  

You will interface with a range of stakeholders, including local propulsion and fluids systems teams, commercial vendors, and external regulatory bodies. You will experience the vehicle hardware transform from clean sheet of paper to reality in the factory, through various test sites, and ending at the launch site with the full Neutron coming together.  


  • Own from concept to implementation avionics components and systems for the Archimedes engine and self-destruct system.  
  • Execute against complex mission- and safety-critical systems, including analysis support such as simulation and modelling activities. 
  • Support and execute hardware testing, including engine hotfires and destructive qualification testing.  
  • Support hands-on integration, checkouts, and operation before launch.  
  • Optimize the avionics designs, implementation, and operation to achieve hands-off reusability between flights.  
  • Evaluate and test flown components to flesh out weaknesses that would arise long-term.  
  • Define and execute the appropriate reuse qualification campaigns for each subsystem.  
  • Create the backbone of a component’s lifecycle, generating electrical ground support equipment, test fixturing, and processes around procurement, production and test.  
  • Work with our regulatory agencies (e.g. FAA, NASA) to achieve a license to launch. Execute analysis and testing to verify requirements have been met.  
  • This includes demonstrations of the self-destruct system at an appropriate scale and sample size to prove the system is reliable.  
  • Travel to vendor and test sites around the United States, approximately 10%. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline or other technical discipline.  
  • 5+ years combined experience across: avionics, electromechanical design and test, energetic systems, interfacing with regulatory agencies.  
  • Experience performing environmental testing for development and qualification.  
  • Knowledge of electrical test systems, hardware, and environmental survivability. 


  • Professional experience with Altium Designer, Capital/VeSys, or similar tools.  
  • Professional experience with NX, Ansys, or similar tools.  
  • Professional experience with Python or similar software languages and integration.  
  • Experience with ordnance device procurement, supply chain, and lot acceptance.     
  • Experience with PCBA and harness design and manufacturing.   
  • Experience with best practices for design, qualification, and production of avionics systems for launch vehicles.  
  • Experience with an agile development environment.  


  • 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. 

The expected salary range for the position is displayed in accordance with the California Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Final agreed upon compensation is based upon individual qualifications and experience. 

Base salary is only one part of Rocket Lab’s compensation package for this role. You may be eligible for company stock, stock options, or cash incentives, and can purchase discounted stock through Rocket Lab’s Employee Stock Purchase Program. Employee benefits may also include medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage; 401(k) retirement plan options; paid vacation, holidays, and sick leave; paid parental leave; and other discounts and perks.  

Base Pay Range (CA Only)$100,000—$160,000 USD


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:


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 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.