Senior Propulsion Design Engineer

Senior Propulsion Design Engineer

companyRocket Lab
locationAuckland, New Zealand
PublishedPublished: 6/15/2024
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!


The Space Systems Propulsion team is responsible for developing and delivering qualified, flight-ready space vehicle propulsion systems. The team takes on system-level and component-level ownership; from mission requirement through detailed design and qualification to integration and beyond, including pre-launch, launch, and on orbit operations support.

Most designs and hardware are developed and manufactured in-house. Examples of past work include the Curie and HyperCurie engines. Currently the team is working on the whole propulsion system for ESCAPADE, a NASA science mission to Mars, as well as the propulsion system for the Victus Haze mission.

The team consists of development engineers and development technicians with a range of experience and skill sets. Each team member is expected to be capable of owning a component or system through its development lifecycle and production implementation. This means that the skillset of the team spans systems engineering, design, build, and test, though individuals may have their specializations. Engineers work hands-on, often alongside technicians, with development, qualification, and flight hardware. Team members interface regularly with stakeholders across the company, including GNC, Manufacturing Engineering, Production, Flight Software, Thermal, Structural Analysis, and others.

  • A genuine passion for engineering, curious mindset, and willingness to learn.
  • 5+ years of experience in propulsion development, or equivalent high-performance field.
  • Engineering degree in mechanical, aerospace, mechatronics, or equivalent.
  • Strong understanding of aerospace development process from requirements to detailed design, through build, qualification, and acceptance testing.
  • Detailed mechanical design experience using NX (preferred) or equivalent industry standard CAD software.
  • Experience using Product Lifecycle Management software such as Teamcenter (preferred), Windchill, or similar.
  • Track record of design reviews and approving release of flight parts.
  • Comfortable working with high levels of ambiguity. Makes decisions using basic engineering principles, available literature and standards, technical risk assessments, test data, and physics-based models.
  • Experience with end-to-end development process including gathering requirements, detailed design, qualification, production, and acceptance testing.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to work well within a team environment.
  • Heavy emphasis on achievement and details – getting things done efficiently, effectively and to the highest quality standards.


  • Practice in identifying the necessary steps to achieve high level technical goals, scheduling them in a plan, and managing delivery against that plan.
  • Experience developing requirement and verification sets, as well as writing test plans, performing testing, and writing test reports.
  • Capabilities using Python for data manipulation and post-processing.
  • Demonstrated hands on engineering skills, inside or outside the workplace.
  • Experience using National Instruments data acquisition systems.
  • Masters of PhD.

If the above sounds like you apply now!


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.