RF Engineer, Senior

Job Ref: 4167447003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role

Rocket Lab

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!

Photon Space Systems Satellite Program

Rocket Lab is seeking exceptional engineers to work on its Photon satellite program. Photon is a first-of-its-kind platform in the small satellite industry: a versatile satellite bus that is also an integral part of the launch vehicle. Photon is being developed to enable a broad range of missions in low-Earth orbit and beyond. Photon was recently selected by NASA to deploy a CubeSat to the Moon in 2021 as a pathfinder for Artemis, the program to return humans to the lunar surface.

Engineers supporting the Photon program have a unique opportunity to help shape this space system. The successful candidate will have a strong set of both technical and business skills, will have experience in related projects, and will thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.


RF Engineer, Senior

Based out of Rocket Lab Headquarters in Long Beach, California. The Senior RF Engineer works independently under the guidance of the RF Engineering Manager and will play a key role in the design and development of Photon RF communications systems for LEO, lunar and interplanetary missions. The Senior RF Engineer will work on the design, development and testing of communications configurations for Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C) and high rate payload communications. The Senior RF Engineer will also provide input into business development proposals and will temporarily provide ad-hoc support to the Photon production team.



Establish Communications System Variants

  • Design and develop standard Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C), and high rate payload communications systems to be used across low Earth orbit (LEO), lunar, and deep space applications.
  • Develop and maintain Interface Control Documents (ICDs) between the spacecraft communications systems and on the ground.
  • Define communications system roadmap.

Business Development Support

  • Select and tailor RF, Telemetry, Tracking & Command (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 budgets and power budgets.

Trade Studies and Market Surveys

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

Satellite Integration Support

  • Provide support as needed during spacecraft AIT.
  • Provide support as required during production of RF components and modules.



  • Minimum Bachelors in Electrical Engineer, RF communications, Electronic or relevant discipline 
  • 5+ years' of experience in the design, test and integration of RF communications systems.
  • Experience performing RF analyses, including cascaded device analysis and link budget analysis.
  • Working knowledge of modulation and coding techniques.
  • Experience using test equipment including network, spectrum and signal analyzers.
  • Proven communication skills and the ability to build strong working relationships.



  • General understanding of environmental performance standards such as GSFC-STD-7000 and associated qualification and acceptance testing.
  • General understanding of MIL-STD-461.
  • Experience designing and testing ground stations.
  • A solid theoretical and practical understanding of ranging techniques.
  • Experience working on interplanetary missions using the DSN.


Important Information:
To conform to US Government space technology export regulations, applicants must be a US citizen, lawful permanent resident of the US, protected individual as defined by 8 USC 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorization from the US 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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