Principal Avionics Engineer, Launch - Mission Formulation

Job Ref: 4840878003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!


Based out of Rocket Lab’s global headquarters in Long Beach, CA, the Principal Avionics Mission Formulation Engineer is responsible for developing high-performance launch vehicle systems in support of the Launch Systems Business Development and Strategy team. You will support the Director of Business Development and Strategy, and play a key role in developing future missions for Electron and Neutron.

The Mission Formulation team works closely with other Engineering teams and Production to bring new concepts to life. As a Principal Engineer at Rocket Lab, you will be strongly influencing the design of the world's first mass-produced orbital launch vehicle. Given the high launch cadence of Electron and pace of Neutron development, you will have unparalleled opportunities for end-to-end hardware development and seeing your designs reach space.

Success in this position will be measured by the value of the knowledge and experience in launch vehicle design and mission experience that you bring into this role, your ability to lead design projects without supervision, successful collaboration with other teams across Rocket Lab, and the skillful prioritization of competing engineering development projects across the group.


  • Primary Avionics Design engineering contact to Business Development for proposal and mission concepts, including:
    • Electron and Neutron mission operational concept development
    • Electrical and RF design and analysis for unique payload accommodations including processing, vehicle integration, and launch site
    • Working with external stakeholders and customers for mission-specific requirements engineering
    • Documenting the proposed avionics design solution and participating in design reviews with the customer
  • Work with the Rocket Lab Engineering and Production teams to:
    • Develop tools and processes for automating common proposal analysis tasks
    • Participate in program execution of Electron and Neutron system commissioning and calibration


  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering (Aerospace/Electrical/Computer Engineering)
  • 12+ years of working experience in Engineering
  • Proven experience developing full design solutions for significant avionics or electrical systems in orbital launch vehicle or missile systems
  • Active DoD US Government security clearance or, ability to obtain and maintain one


  • Active clearance (TS/SCI)
  • Rapid conceptual design iteration experience
  • Hands-on development and testing experience: FPGA, ARM processors, etc.
  • Ability to take a product from concept through to production with little supervision
  • Master’s or PhD in mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering
  • Experience with requirements assessments and interface control document generation
  • Creative, analytical, good at problem solving
  • Ability to work on own initiative and to plan daily workflow to meet higher level tasks
  • Clear communication skills and calm under pressure


  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus.   
  • Regularly required to sit, use hands and fingers, operate computer keyboard and controls, and communicate verbally and in writing.  
  • Must be physically able to commute to buildings 
  • Occasional exposure to dust, fumes and moderate levels of noise. 

Level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one component of our total rewards package at Rocket Lab.  Employees may also receive company equity and access to a robust benefits package including: top tier medical HMO, PPO & a 100% company-sponsored medical HSA plan option, dental and vision coverage, 3 weeks paid vacation and 5 days sick leave per year, 11 paid holidays per year, flexible spending and dependent care savings accounts, paid parental leave, disability insurance, life insurance, and access to a 401(k) retirement plan with company match. Other perks include: Discounted employee stock purchase program, subsidized EV charging stations, onsite gym, food and drinks, childcare concierge, and other discounts.

Eligibility for benefits may vary based on employment status, please check with your recruiter for a comprehensive list of the benefits available for this role. Benefit programs are subject to change at the company’s discretion.

Base Pay Range (CA Only)
$150,000$195,000 USD


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:


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 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 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.


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