Engineering

Team Lead - In-Space Propulsion

Job Ref: 4790886003 | Type: Full-time

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About The Role

ABOUT ROCKET LAB

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!

ABOUT SPACE SYSTEMS AT ROCKET LAB:

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.

WHAT YOU'LL GET TO DO:

The In-Space Propulsion team (ISP) is one of three teams responsible for developing and delivering qualified, flight-ready space vehicle propulsion systems. The other two teams are responsible for spacecraft fluids systems and propulsion system testing, though there is significant overlap and strong collaboration between the three. 

The ISP team takes on system-level and component-level ownership, mostly developed in-house from mission requirement through to integration and beyond, including pre-launch, launch, and on orbit operations support. Examples of past work include the Curie and HyperCurie engines, and currently the team is working on the whole propulsion system for ESCAPADE, a NASA science mission to Mars.  

The team consists of development engineers with a range of experience level and skill sets. Generally, each engineer is expected to be capable of owning a component or system through its development lifecycle and production implementation. This means that the skillset of the team spans systems engineering, design, build, and test, though individuals may have their specializations. The team works hands-on, often alongside technicians, with development, qualification, and flight hardware. Team members interface regularly with stakeholders across the company, including GNC, Manufacturing Engineering, Production, Flight Software, Analysis, and others. 

Key responsibilities

The Team Lead – In Space Propulsion, is responsible for:

  • Leadership and management of individual team members and projects across multiple programs 
  • Upholding high company standards for best practice and quality of work 
  • Technical problem solving, review, and guidance for the team 
  • Making escalated decisions and solving team/company challenges through guidance and resource allocation of direct reports 
  • Managing technical risk within the scope of immediate team 
  • Communicating effectively with leadership and other teams 
  • Planning including staffing and budgetary estimation 
  • Capturing and refining or potentially defining processes that are important to the team’s work and performance 
  • Managing and improving interfaces between the team and internal customers 
  • Support team members with regular 1:1s, coaching on professional development, and performance reviews 
  • Ensuring that the team and individual contributors are working in a way that is in the best interest of the Space Systems business unit and broader company 

YOU'LL BRING THESE QUALIFICATIONS:

  • At least 5 years of work in fast-paced development environment in aerospace or similar industries 
  • At least 1 year of experience in a formal or informal technical leadership role 
  • Strong understanding of best practices for project management, systems engineering, hardware development process, and configuration management 
  • Demonstrable ability to move efficiently through development iterations, balancing cost, quality, and timeline effectively
  • Hands-on hardware testing experience 
  • Excellent grasp of mechanical engineering fundamentals (e.g., stress, strain, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, mechanisms) 
  • Good ability to work under pressure and maintain emotional composure under stress 
  • Engineering degree 

THESE QUALIFICATIONS WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE:

  • End-to-end rocket engine or spacecraft propulsion system development and operation program leadership 
  • Proven track record of leading a team to deliver multiple complete and successful engineering projects from concept to operation 
  • Has worked on variety of propulsion systems utilizing different storable propellants 
  • Experience with both chemical and electric propulsion 
  • Siemens NX and Teamcenter proficiency 
  • Jama or equivalent requirement management software 
  • GD&T and engineering drawings 
  • NI software and instrumentation hardware 

 

If the above sounds like you apply now!

WHAT TO EXPECT 

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:

FOR CANDIDATES SEEKING TO WORK IN US OFFICES ONLY:

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 g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This 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 CANDIDATES SEEKING TO WORK IN NEW ZEALAND OFFICES ONLY:

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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