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Space Systems - Flight Dynamics Engineer

Space Systems - Flight Dynamics Engineer

companyRocket Lab
locationAuckland, New Zealand
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Engineering
Full Time

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is a vertically integrated provider of small launch services, satellites, and spacecraft components. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. Our team is over 1,500 people strong and we’re adding to it every week. Collaboration is at our core – every idea is heard, and everyone makes a difference. Teams are nimble, decisions are made quickly, and we are action oriented.

While other companies talk about it, we do it!

About the role

Based at Rocket Lab’s Auckland Production Complex in Auckland, New Zealand, the Flight Dynamics Engineer is responsible for Photon spacecraft navigation, tracking, manoeuvre design, and collision avoidance during flight. You will join a team of spacecraft operators built around the 2022 CAPSTONE lunar mission, and have the opportunity fly a diverse range of future missions currently in work by Rocket Lab’s growing Space Systems division. These include the LOXSAT cryogenic propellant storage experiment, the WINNEBAGO in-space manufacturing and precision re-entry tests, the METHANESAT emissions monitor, and the THUNDER communications constellation.


As a Flight Dynamics Operator (FIDO), you will ensure an accurate characterization of spacecraft orbits using Rocket Lab’s ground-based Flight Dynamics System. By forward-predicting trajectories and designing on-orbit manoeuvres, you will screen for collisions with other spacecraft and debris, provide antenna angles for precisions ground station tracking, and generate manoeuvre command parameters for verification, upload, and execution. Beyond operations, you will support the development of Rocket Lab’s next generation Flight Dynamics System software and strive towards the team’s development vision of efficiency and excellence through automation and cross-mission versatility.


You will work within a dynamic team of spacecraft operators to solve complex problems (often in time-critical situations), and alongside a range of sub-system subject matter experts to deliver trajectory related analysis through the various operational phases of the mission.


Essential skills and experience

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace, Mechanical, Systems, or Software Engineering, or an equivalent Engineering or Physics Degree.
  • An advanced understanding of orbital mechanics.
  • Trajectory design in STK or GMAT.
  • Software development in Python.
  • Exposure to modern software development practices (Git, CI, Jira).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Desired Skills

  • 3+ years of work experience in spacecraft operations, mission design, or spacecraft GNC.
  • Exposure to Orbit Determination theory.
  • Exposure to Monte Carlo numerical simulation theory.
  • Experience in development/implementation of a 3DOF propagator for LEO, lunar, or interplanetary trajectory from fundamental equations of motion.
  • Ability to work on complex problems under time pressure in high stakes operational environment.

Rocket Lab Employee Benefits

  • The opportunity to work on innovative and ground breaking technology
  • An employee stock purchase program
  • Access to world leading experts to develop your career
  • Unlimited barista coffee, fruit, and snacks
  • Rocket Lab merchandise – T-shirts, mission patches etc.
  • Discounted health insurance with Southern Cross
  • Additional parental leave entitlements
  • A vibrant team culture with social activities throughout the year

If the above sounds like you apply now!

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.