Space Systems Chief Engineer

Long Beach, United States (USA), Rocket Lab [4023601003]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Job type

About this job

At Rocket Lab we believe the future will be defined and enabled by access to space. We’re making it easy to get there. We’re already the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch and now we’re also building satellites and space systems that enable exploration and innovation in low Earth orbit and beyond.



As the Space Systems Chief Engineer for Rocket Lab’s Photon satellite program, you’ll play a pivotal role in developing the space systems that will see Electron deliver a NASA mission to the Moon in 2021. You’ll be at the forefront of the mission that paves the way for the development of NASA Gateway, the program to return humans to the surface of the Moon.

Your days will be spent leading the technical design, development, testing, and production of Rocket Lab’s space systems for a range of low Earth orbit and deep space missions. You will be instrumental in using the wealth of on-orbit data from Rocket Lab’s many successful missions to ensure the reliability, robustness, and performance of Photon. The ideal candidate will be familiar with both mission systems engineering and satellite hardware and have a proven record of leading space systems engineering teams in fast-paced environments.


  • Lead the technical decision-making processes and guide technical development across all space systems disciplines
  • Lead technical reviews, engineering change, and configuration management process adherence
  • Guide systems engineering processes and facilitate technical trades across the system
  • Identify technical issues and proactively implements resolutions to mitigate schedule and cost impacts
  • Lead mission definition including mission design, operational concepts, orbit selection
  • Guide development of systems engineering products, spacecraft architecture, trade studies, requirements development, verification and validation plans
  • Identify vendors and oversee spacecraft component selection
  • Provide technical mentorship to team members and monitor technical integrity of all team member contributions
  • Contribute to the vision and strategy for growing the space systems program in collaboration with executive and business development teams.
  • Contribute to proposal development.
  • Develop, monitor and adhere to efficient program budgets, schedules, and resource plans


  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, math, or related discipline
  • 5+ years of experience in satellite design, development, test, and operations across multiple flight projects/programs
  • Experience taking a product from concept phase through prototyping, launch and operation
  • Demonstrated leadership of space systems engineering teams
  • Demonstrated breadth and depth across multiple spacecraft engineering disciplines
  • Broad understanding of the spacecraft component supply chain and broad network of vendor relationships across the supply chain
  • Proficient in key mission design, detailed analysis, and engineering management tools: 3D CAD software, STK, Matlab, NX, SPICE, JAMA, Teamcenter, etc.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Ability to travel regularly, including international travel



  • 10+ years of experience in satellite design, development, test, and operations
  • Masters, PhD, or other advanced degree in engineering, physics, math, or related discipline
  • Experience with both low and high budget space system development
  • Experience with deep space missions
  • Experience with spacecraft and spacecraft subsystem design
  • Experience with spacecraft and subsystem environment definition (radiation, structural loads, thermal, EMI/EMC, orbital debris, etc.) and design approaches
  • Experience with spacecraft link budgets, ground segments, and data processing
  • Experience with spacecraft power and energy budgets
  • Experience with spacecraft pointing and geolocation budgets
  • Experience with spacecraft rate, attitude, and momentum closed loop control systems
  • Experience with cabling/harness design
  • Experience with electronic board and avionics design
  • Experience with spacecraft and spacecraft subsystem fabrication, assembly, and test; understanding of qualification, acceptance, and protoflight verification approaches
  • Experience with flight software development, test, and verification
  • Experience with ground software development, test, and verification
  • Experience with ground instrument and payload interfacing interface
  • Experience with electrical, electronic, electromechanical (EEE) part performance, application, failure modes, test methods, reliability, and supply chain quality
  • Strong understanding of computers, programming languages, scripting tools, and automation


Important Information:

To conform to US Government space technology export regulations, applicants must be a US citizen, lawful permanent resident of the US, protected individual as defined by 8 USC 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorization from the US Department of State.

Rocket Lab USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, employment with Rocket Lab USA is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

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