Senior Attitude Control and Determination Engineer

Job Ref: 3007758 | Type: Permanent / 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!


A first-of-its-kind platform in the small satellite industry: Photon, a versatile satellite platform, is a planned evolution of the Rocket Lab Kick Stage. With Photon, Rocket Lab now delivers an all-inclusive spacecraft and launch service. Customers bring their payload and we do the rest; we take care of the complete satellite design, build and launch as a bundled and streamlined experience.

Equipped with an S-band communication system, a high-fidelity attitude control system, &a robust avionics suite, Photon is the complete spacecraft solution for a range of LEO missions, from constellation development, through to technology demonstrations and hosted payloads.

Due to Rocket Lab's high launch cadence, engineers within the Photon team will have a unique opportunity for continued end-to-end hardware development and on-orbit operations. 

Senior Attitude Control and Determination Engineer
Reporting to the Photon Program Chief Engineer, the Sr. Attitude Control and Determination Engineer will work collaboratively with systems, software, and GNC engineers in developing flight algorithms for attitude and orbit control.

Specific areas of work for the Sr. Attitude Control and Determination Engineer include include the development and testing of attitude estimation algorithms, attitude control algorithms, orbit maintenance/control maneuvers, sensor/effector modeling, & testing of flight hardware relating to ADCS. 

Required Skills
  • Expertise in non-linear state estimation, including extended Kalman filters
  • Expertise in both linear and non-linear control methods.
  • Proficient with C & C++.
  • Expertise in Matlab/Simulink.
  • Expertise in orbital mechanics and spacecraft rigid body dynamics.
Required Education & Experience
  • A Master of Science degree (or greater) in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or equivalent. 
  • 4+ years of experience developing ADCS or GNC algorithms for spacecraft or other autonomous vehicles.
Preferred Skills
  • Previous experience with spacecraft ADCS, specifically (as opposed to other types of vehicles).
  • Experience with testing of satellite flight hardware.
  • Experience with hardware-in-the-loop test environments.
Duties & Responsibilities
  • Develop estimation and control algorithms appropriate for real-time use on-orbit.
  • Simulate the system in both software-only and hardware-in-the-loop environments.
  • Help develop and maintain the overall software framework for spacecraft modeling and simulation.
  • Size sensors/effectors and participate in component trade studies.
Additional Information
Able to travel to New Zealand, if necessary. 

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.

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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