Guidance Navigation & Control Engineer - Mission Formulation

Job Ref: 4665308003 | Type: Full-time

Apply for this job

About The Role

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 1,300 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.


This is a rare opportunity to play a key role in Rocket Lab’s evolution into an end-to-end space company that delivers launch, spacecraft, and on-orbit operations. The Space Systems Division is shaping Rocket Lab’s future with Photon, our brand of high-performance satellites, enabling innovative missions in low Earth orbit and beyond including missions for NASA to LEO, the Moon, and Mars and commercial customers, including leading the design and manufacture of 17 high-power telecommunication spacecraft buses for Globalstar.

Rocket Lab is also growing our spacecraft components business, anchored on the acquisition of Sinclair Interplanetary manufacturing reaction wheels and star trackers in Toronto, SolAero Technologies manufacturing solar power and primary structure solutions in Albuquerque, Planetary Systems Corporation manufacturing launch separation systems in Silver Spring, and Advanced Solutions, Inc., provider of flight and ground software as a service in Denver. Our components business is key to vertically integrating our spacecraft solutions and enabling constellations for customers.  


Based out of Rocket Lab’s global headquarters in Long Beach, the GNC Mission Formulation Engineer is responsible for developing high-performance, lightweight satellite systems in support of the Space Systems Business Development and Strategy team. You will support the Director of Business Development and Strategy, with deliverables required for internal leadership, board of directors, and investors.


  • Primary GNC contact to Business Development for proposal and mission concepts, including:
    • LEO, GEO and interplanetary trajectory design and analysis
    • Spacecraft actuator selection and sizing, including power, momentum, and propellant budgeting
    • Spacecraft sensor selection, including determining pointing budgets and accuracy analysis
    • Mission-specific requirements engineering
    • Assisting with satellite operations concepts, including flight dynamics, fault-finding, and contingency planning
    • Documenting the proposed GNC solution and participating in PDR, CDR, and other design reviews with the customer
  • Work with the Rocket Lab ADCS Satellite Engineers to:
    • Develop tools and processes for automating common proposal analysis tasks
    • Increase the fidelity of our proprietary 6DOF simulator via improved sensor and actuator characterization and modelling
    • Participate in on-orbit GNC system commissioning and calibration

YOU’LL BRING THESE QUALIFICATIONS (Note: you must meet every qualification in order to be considered):

  • Bachelor’s degree in aerospace, mechanical, electrical, or other engineering degree and 5+ years of experience designing and analyzing spacecraft ADCS; OR master's degree in aerospace, mechanical, electrical, or other engineering degree and 2+ years of experience designing and analyzing spacecraft ADCS
  • Experience with Python or MATLAB


  • Thorough understanding of orbital mechanics, rigid body dynamics, and kinematics
  • Solid understanding of closed-loop control, estimation, and electronic systems
  • Experience with Git version control and Simulink
  • Previous experience developing real-time control and/or estimation algorithms in autonomous vehicles, preferably satellites
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to build strong working relationships
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. 

In addition to base salary, Rocket Lab offers a comprehensive total compensation offer package based on individual qualifications and experience, including company stock. Employees will also be eligible for medical, dental, vision coverage, 401(k) retirement plan options, and to purchase discounted stock through Rocket Lab's Employee Stock Purchase Program.
Pay Range (CA Only)
$109,000$187,000 USD

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S Department of State.

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.


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.


Share this