Principal Development Engineer

Job Ref: 282116534 | Type: Permanent / Full Time

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About The Role

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.
Rocket Lab’s state-of-the-art rocket development and production facility in Mt Wellington, Auckland, is designed for rapid mass production of the Electron rocket. Opened in October 2018, the facility enables the company to build an Electron rocket every week. Being based at this facility, this role comes with a range of team benefits including subsidised meals and an on-site gym. 
For a virtual tour of the facility, click here:
Rocket Lab is the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch. Launching from right here in New Zealand, we design and build innovative technology to give small satellites a premium ride to orbit. 
Small satellites play a crucial role in our day-to-day lives – they connect us, keep us safe, help us understand our planet and manage our impact on it, and they enable us to innovate and explore. There are endless possibilities for what we can achieve with better access to space, and that access is now a reality thanks to Rocket Lab. 
Our relentlessly innovative team is behind Electron, the world’s only truly commercial small satellite launch vehicle in operation today. With multiple orbital launches under our belt and a record of 100% mission success, we’re opening access to space to improve life on Earth. We’ve built a world class team with a reputation for doing the impossible. Every day we pursue ideas that challenge, excite and demand more of us, and we make them real. Be a part of it.

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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