Principal Development Engineer

Auckland, New Zealand, Rocket Lab [282116534]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering
Job type

About this job

The Principal Mechanical Development Engineer will provide technical leadership to a team of Development Engineers. The Development Engineers work to verify the performance of new and existing designs for components and systems on the Electron vehicle – the only commercial small satellite launch vehicle in operation today. The Principal Mechanical Development Engineer will take ownership of the reliability and safety of the design of systems and hardware on Electron, as well as play a critical role in ensuring the quality of its structure and fluid systems.”


  • Direct, mentor, and lead Rocket Lab’s team of test engineers as they execute test plans, review test data, and make decisions about the health of the components on the Electron vehicle, both pre- and post-flight.
  • Lead the preparation, documentation, and direction of plans for tests of components and systems on the Electron vehicle which meet international aerospace regulations and requirements.
  • Apply your expertise to analyse and document the insights gathered from test results and data.
  • Ensure a variety of test requirements are met, and make decisions about the flight worthiness of the vehicle from post-test operations and inspections.
  • Apply your expertise to streamline processes, analyse, and troubleshoot existing designs of components and systems on the Electron vehicle.


Preferred skills and expertise

  • Aerospace, mechanical, or mechatronic engineering degree or equivalent qualification
  • 10+ years developing and testing mechanical systems
  • Strong understanding of thermofluids and fluid systems. and the ability to effectively convey your understanding to the engineers in the team.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading and mentoring a team of engineers.
  • Demonstrated experience with cryogenic systems, including oxygen service systems.
  • Demonstrated experience in structural testing.

Additional requirements

  • Capability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
  • Capability to take a flexible approach and adapt to change quickly.
  • Communicate well and relay data (both verbally and in documentation) between their team, other employees, and customers.
  • Work effectively in a team environment.
  • Ability to both lead a team and get ‘hands-on’ when required in a fast-paced and challenging environment.
  • Ability to get things done efficiently, effectively, and to the highest quality standards.
  • Sound analytical skills and ability to see the big picture, join the dots, and make appropriate decisions.
  • Available to work extended hours and/or weekends as required.

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