Senior Thermofluids Analyst - Electron

Job Ref: 4844949003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!

Engineering is at the heart of Rocket Lab. Our engineering team has a proven track record of designing and developing world-class rockets and spacecraft that are changing the way we access and use space. You’ll work alongside driven, talented engineers from varied backgrounds and experience levels, all committed to the same mission. Our engineering team members span design, analysis, prototyping, testing, manufacturing, assembly and integration, quality control, engineering documentation, and more.  


Rocket Lab’s analysis team contributes to the operation and development of Electron by using modelling and simulation to solve challenging problems involving dynamics, fluid flow, and thermodynamics. You will be the technical owner of propellant, pressure-loss and gas budgets and systems across the Electron launch Vehicle. Whether it is using CFD to predict the heating on the vehicle during ascent, 1D flow of propellants and gasses, or data analysis to demonstrate vehicle performance, analysis is critical to the operation and development of a robust launch vehicle.

As a Thermofluids Analyst in Rocket Lab’s Analysis team you will contribute to the analysis, design validation, and future improvements of Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle, Space Systems, and Space Components. Day to day, you will be expected to analyse flight data, define loads and environments, perform detailed simulations and physics-based analysis, guide design, and help validate analysis, design, and system performance through test. Scope of work may additionally extend to supporting launch and test ground systems, propulsion development, launch operations, and customer interaction.

Key Duties  

  • Perform, validate, and document CFD analyses of launch vehicle fluid systems including:
    • Compressible flow (choked flow, Aerodynamics)
    • Incompressible flow (internal, two phase)
  • Perform heat transfer simulations (conduction, convection and radiation) including:
    • Conduct integrated thermal analyses (ITAs) of spacecraft integrated to the Electron launch vehicle.
    • Component thermal analyses
    • Aeroheating thermal response
    • TPS specification
  • Perform, validate, and document thermofluid analyses of primary and secondary launch vehicle systems, including:
    • Model development and coding
    • Numerical Analysis
    • Material selection
    • Performance trade-off studies
    • Performance optimization
  • Work closely with design and test engineers to iterate through design concepts, determine test requirements, and demonstrate positive margins
  • Process and interpret ground test and flight data, including:
    • Determining if vehicle components remain within MPE bounds
    • Comparing sensor data across multiple flights to detect out-of-family results
    • Identifying and resolving sensor configuration issues (grounding, calibration, damage, naming etc.)
    • Using a strong understanding of physical principles (e.g., heat transfer, flow, cryogenics, pumps, etc.) to determine the root cause of vehicle anomalies through data analysis
  • Conduct peer reviews of analyses
  • Document data processing methodology thoroughly for peer review and sign-off
  • Produce Acceptance, Proto-qualification, and Qualification test levels through the consistent application of approved margining approaches
  • Support testing of vehicle subsystems through correlation of test and analysis results, and preparation of pre and post-test analysis reports
  • Standardise and catalogue analysis procedures in line with industry best practice
  • Ensure pump cavitation margin
  • Develop new and existing propellant dynamics models around temperature, gas rejection and control strategies
  • Contribute to the improvement and automation of test and flight data review


  • A degree in Mechanical, Aerospace Engineering or similar field
  • 5+ years industry experience, ideally from the Aerospace, Automotive or Marine industries
  • Strong understanding of physical principles (heat transfer, electronics, internal flow, aerodynamics, etc.)
  • Fluid engineering experience around pressure loss, valves and sensors
  • Demonstrated experience with one or more industry standard CFD packages: Fluent, CFX, STAR-CCM+
  • Experience in Python and associated scientific packages: numpy, pandas, scipy, matplotlib
  • Demonstrated thermal modelling of components, networks and lump masses
  • Experience with experimental test methods, sensor selection and data post-processing / interpretation (thermocouples, pressure transducers, accelerometers, strain gauges, microphones etc.)
  • The ability to work to deadlines within a high-pressure environment 


  • Experience with dynamic thermofluid systems:
    • Propellant Dynamics (slosh, flow instabilities, Pogo)
    • Propellant level sensing and control strategies
    • Pumps, pressurisation systems and cryogenics experience
    • Thermodynamics of 2-phase, cryogenics or refrigeration systems
  • Compressible gas modelling of pressure vessels, pressurisation systems and piping
  • Knowledge around space thermal environments and modelling for both orbital and ascent environments
  • Thermal protection system design, specification and implementation.
  • Knowledge of HVAC system design and/or analysis.
  • Experience with one or more industry standard thermal modelling packages: Thermal Desktop, THERMICA, NX SST
  • Familiarity using Solidworks CAD and PDM packages (or comparable industry standard packages) with emphasis on model interrogation and defeaturing for subsequent analyses
  • Experience in Python package development and modelling (git, CI, deployment)
  • Familiarity with industry standards (e.g., MIL-STD-1540, GSFC-STD-7000, ECSS-E-HB-32, NASA-STD-5001) 


If the above sounds like you apply now!


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.



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 ITAR Regulations.


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