Space Systems - Flight Dynamics Engineer

Job Ref: 4867298003 | 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!


Rocket Lab’s Space Systems team is responsible for every satellite and satellite component made by Rocket Lab: from complete satellites destined for missions to the Moon and Mars, to the individual components and subsystems that make up a satellite like solar panels, flight software, reaction wheels and star trackers, separation systems, radios, and more. Our Space Systems team is made up of engineers, technicians, and designers who design, create, and put together our own satellites for missions across the commercial, government, and defence sectors, or who build and assemble satellite hardware and software that supports other satellite missions.


Based at Rocket Lab’s Auckland Production Complex in Auckland, New Zealand, the Flight Dynamics Engineer is responsible for Photon spacecraft navigation, tracking, manoeuvre design, and collision avoidance during flight. You will join a team of spacecraft operators built around the 2022 CAPSTONE lunar mission, and have the opportunity fly a diverse range of future missions currently in work by Rocket Lab’s growing Space Systems division. These include the LOXSAT cryogenic propellant storage experiment, the WINNEBAGO in-space manufacturing and precision re-entry tests, the METHANESAT emissions monitor, and the THUNDER communications constellation.

As a Flight Dynamics Operator (FIDO), you will ensure an accurate characterization of spacecraft orbits using Rocket Lab’s ground-based Flight Dynamics System. By forward-predicting trajectories and designing on-orbit manoeuvres, you will screen for collisions with other spacecraft and debris, provide antenna angles for precisions ground station tracking, and generate manoeuvre command parameters for verification, upload, and execution. Beyond operations, you will support the development of Rocket Lab’s next generation Flight Dynamics System software and strive towards the team’s development vision of efficiency and excellence through automation and cross-mission versatility.

You will work within a dynamic team of spacecraft operators to solve complex problems (often in time-critical situations), and alongside a range of sub-system subject matter experts to deliver trajectory related analysis through the various operational phases of the mission.


  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace, Mechanical, Systems, or Software Engineering, or an equivalent Engineering or Physics Degree.
  • An advanced understanding of orbital mechanics.
  • Trajectory design in STK or GMAT.
  • Software development in Python.
  • Exposure to modern software development practices (Git, CI, Jira).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills


  • 3+ years of work experience in spacecraft operations, mission design, or spacecraft GNC.
  • Exposure to Orbit Determination theory.
  • Exposure to Monte Carlo numerical simulation theory.
  • Experience in development/implementation of a 3DOF propagator for LEO, lunar, or interplanetary trajectory from fundamental equations of motion.
  • Ability to work on complex problems under time pressure in high stakes operational environment.


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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