RF Engineer, Senior

Job Ref: 4167447003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role


Rocket Lab is the global leader in small satellite launch. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. 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 team is 500 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.

While other companies talk about it, we do it!

RF Engineer, Senior

Based out of Rocket Lab Headquarters in Long Beach, California. The Senior RF Engineer will; design and develop RF communication systems for LEO, lunar, and interplanetary Photon Satellite missions; establish standard Photon Satellite RF communication configurations for Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C), and high-rate payload communications; provide input into business development proposals; and temporarily provide ad-hoc support to the Photon Satellite production team.


Establish Photon Communications System Variants

  • Support the design and development of standard Photon TT&C and high rate payload communications systems to be used across LEO, lunar and deep space applications.
  • Develop and maintain ICDs between the communications systems on Photon and on the ground.
  • Support the definition of the Photon communications system roadmap.

Business Development Support

  • Select/tailor RF TT&C and high rate payload communications solutions as appropriate to meet the requirements of business development opportunities.
  • Develop system drawings and schematics.
  • Develop system level RF analyses including link budget analyses.
  • Develop mass and power budgets.

Trade Studies and Market Surveys

  • Conduct trade studies and work with Rocket Lab technical teams as necessary to establish balanced technical solutions that align with the Photon communications system roadmap.
  • Conduct market surveys and identify candidate suppliers and components.
  • Engage prospective suppliers to ascertain component performance data and assess against system requirements.
  • Shortlist and recommend components and solutions.

Photon Production Support (Temporary)

  • Provide ad-hoc support as required during Photon spacecraft AIT.
  • Provide ad-hoc support as required during production of RF components.


  • Occasional domestic and international travel may be required.
  • Additional duties as reasonably required.

Health and safety

  • Ensure health and safety policies and standard operating procedures are followed.
  • Correct PPE is worn in designated areas.
  • Near misses and incidents are reported promptly.


  • Bachelors or higher in Engineering, majoring in RF communications systems (or an equivalent qualification).
  • 5+ years' experience in the design, test and integration of satellite RF communications systems.
  • Extensive experience performing RF analyses, including cascaded device analysis and link budget analysis.
  • Good understanding of modulation and coding techniques.
  • Experience using test equipment including network, spectrum and signal analysers.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
  • Proven communication skills and the ability to build strong working relationships.


  • Understanding of environmental performance standards such as GSFC-STD-7000 and associated qualification and acceptance testing.
  • Experience designing and testing ground stations.
  • A solid theoretical and practical understanding of ranging techniques.
  • Experience working on interplanetary missions using the DSN.

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 USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment with Rocket Lab USA is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

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