Satellite ADCS Engineer, Senior

Job Ref: 4053293003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role


Why 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!

The Photon Program

Rocket Lab is seeking exceptional engineers to work on its Photon 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. Engineers within the Photon team have a unique opportunity to help shape this space system and, given the high launch cadence of Electron, have unparalleled opportunities for end-to-end system development and on-orbit operations. The successful candidate will have a strong set of technical skills, will have experience in related projects, and will thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment

Senior Satellite ADCS Engineer
The Senior GNC Satellite ADCS Engineer is responsible for the design, implementation, testing, and operation of attitude determination and control systems (ADCS) as well as guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) systems utilized in Photon and other Rocket Lab vehicles.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Design and development of GNC and ADCS Software, particularly:
    • Satellite simulation software.
    • ADCS algorithms and implementation in flight software.
    • Maneuver and operation sequencing and command creation.
    • Data processing software for GNC purposes (MATLAB/Python Post-Processing Tools)
    • Develop and maintain an accurate understanding of the needs of the rest of the organization with respect to GNC, ADCS, and Satellite simulation software.
  • Take ownership of software, satellite projects or analysis as required by the GNC Manager and Chief Space Systems Engineer and see them through to completion.
  • Mission requirements engineering, including detailed sensor and actuator characterization and modelling.
  • Assisting with satellite operations including flight dynamics, fault-finding, contingency planning and command validation.
  • On-orbit GNC and ADCS system calibration and commissioning.
  • Hardware-in-the-loop test planning, execution and validation.
  • Review software merge requests and ensure all new GNC Software meets our internal software standard.
  • Follow GNC Team coding standards.
  • Identify and implement process improvements to aid the efficiency of the GNC Team.
  • Provide oversight and guidance for sensor and actuator testing and model validation
  • Mentor and support junior team members
  • International travel is required

Required Experience & Education

  • Masters or Ph.D. in Aerospace, Mechanical, or Electrical Engineering, or comparable field.
  • 4+ years’ experience developing attitude determination and control algorithms, and/or guidance and navigation algorithms.
  • 5+ years’ experience developing in Python or MATLAB
  • 4+ years’ experience developing in C++ including some embedded or high reliability development.
  • Thorough understanding of orbital mechanics, rigid body dynamics, and kinematics
  • Solid understanding of closed-loop control, estimation, and electronic systems.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to build strong working relationships

Preferred Experience & Education

  • Ph.D. in Aerospace, Mechanical, or Electrical engineering, or a comparable field.
  • Previous development of real-time control and/or estimation algorithms in autonomous vehicles, preferably satellites.
  • Experience with Git version control.
  • Experience working in a continuous integration environment.
  • Experience with Simulink.
  • Experience working within an Agile/Scrum based workflow.

Important Information
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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