IT & Telecomms

Lead RF Engineer

Job Ref: 255909012345 | Type: Permanent / Full Time

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About The Role

This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced engineer to join the team at Rocket Lab and work on the most exciting engineering project currently being undertaken in New Zealand

As Lead RF Engineer you will work closely with both the Avionics and Launch teams and you will be play an important role in the design, testing and integration of radio frequency communication components used to support Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle. You will be challenged daily and to succeed you will need to adapt quickly and thrive under pressure to achieve tight project deadlines.

Our next launch date is fast approaching, and we are looking for someone who can hit the ground running so previous experience with RF communication components is vital.

There are four main areas of responsibility which are:

Rocket Lab ground station network

  • Contract negotiations, manage contracts with suppliers and logistics to remote locations.
  • Define requirements with inputs from different teams: mechanical, avionics, GNC,
  • Define and test ICDs on the stations.
  • Liaison and community engagement to maintain good relations with Rocket Lab
  • Organize installations and commissioning of new ground stations
  • Configuration of receivers/ transmitters for the flight phases.
  • Signal acquisition of flight vehicles.
  • Implement satellite communication links.
  • Evaluation of new solutions for ground tracking

RF links

  • Manage Radio Spectrum Licenses with ITU and RSM New Zealand, APIs, and coordination with existing frequencies at an international level.
  • Assess interference to and from other radio frequency sources and plan accordingly.
  • Define link budgets.
  • Define orbital parameters in terms of link budget, plan ground stations network coverage and timing. Orbit simulation.
  • Define propagation through atmosphere and anomalies during flight.

Vehicle

  • Define RF systems hardware per requirements from Software, GNC, and vehicle teams.
  • Configuration baselines.
  • Define test plans and execute them, functional testing, environmental testing and ICDs.
  • Define ICDs with avionics network and communications network on ground.
  • Understanding of environmental testing.
  • Electromagnetic compatibility tests
  • Define requirements for tests
  • Supervise testing and support other teams
  • Analyze results and suggest solutions in case of issues
  • Analyze test data.

Operations

  • Manage operations of RF link to remote sites and rocket.
  • Support third party contractors.
  • Define launch operations in terms of communications and Radio frequency environment.
  • Create and Execute launch procedures.
  • Join operations team on site/Mission control center and support launch campaigns.
  • Coordinate ground stations network during launch campaigns.
  • Complete pre-flight tests.
  • Write requirements and negotiate support for third party ground stations.
  • Define RF/communications interfaces with payloads.

Essential skills required for the position of Lead RF engineer

  • Masters or higher in Engineering or Physics, with major in Communications systems/Digital communications/Electromagnetics or equivalent qualification.
  • 5+ years' experience in design, test and integration of RF front end systems for high reliability systems (aviation or aerospace systems).
  • Experience with test equipment: network and spectrum analysers. 
  • Experience with digital modulations, SDR radios and GNU radios.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
  • Proven communication skills and the ability to build strong working relationship.
  • Good understanding of electromagnetic propagation on the atmosphere.
  • Hands on experience designing, assembling and testing front-end RF systems
  • Project management experience

Desired

  • Python
  • MATLAB
  • Experience with ground stations design and deployment.
  • A good theoretical and/or practical of electronic systems design
  • Experience with TTC systems, space modulations and high data-rate links.
  • Satellite, rocket or missile communications experience.
  • Experience with STK, CST/HFSS toolkits

Important Information
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 http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar.html.

 

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.

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