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Space Systems Deputy Chief Engineer

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Long Beach, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2023

About The Role

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is a vertically integrated provider of small launch services, satellites, and spacecraft components. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. Our team is over 1,500 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.

Life at Rocket Lab


This is a rare opportunity to play a key role in Rocket Lab’s evolution into an end-to-end space company that delivers launch, spacecraft, and on-orbit operations. The Space Systems Division is shaping Rocket Lab’s future with Photon, our brand of high-performance satellites, enabling innovative missions in low Earth orbit and beyond including missions for NASA to LEO, the Moon, and Mars and commercial customers, including leading the design and manufacture of 17 high-power telecommunication spacecraft buses for Globalstar.

Rocket Lab is also growing our spacecraft components business, anchored on the acquisition of Sinclair Interplanetary manufacturing reaction wheels and star trackers in Toronto, SolAero Technologies manufacturing solar power and primary structure solutions in Albuquerque, Planetary Systems Corporation manufacturing launch separation systems in Silver Spring, and Advanced Solutions, Inc., provider of flight and ground software as a service in Denver. Our components business is key to vertically integrating our spacecraft solutions and enabling constellations for customers.  


Based out of Rocket Lab’s global headquarters in Long Beach, the Space Systems Deputy Chief Engineer plays a pivotal role in the technology and platform development for high performance satellite missions in defense and intelligence space. In addition, you will participate in the development of technologies and platforms that will see the Space Systems division deliver missions to the Moon, Venus, and Mars.

Your days will be spent leading the technical design, development, testing, and production of Rocket Lab’s space systems for a range of LEO and deep space missions. You will be instrumental in using the wealth of on-orbit data from our many successful missions to ensure the reliability, robustness, and performance of our satellite programs. The ideal candidate will be familiar with both mission systems engineering and satellite software and hardware, as well as have a proven record of leading engineering teams in fast-paced environments.


  • Work directly with the Space Systems Chief Engineer in technical decision-making processes and guide technical development across all Space Systems disciplines
  • Co-chair along with the Space Systems Chief Engineer in technical reviews, engineering change, and configuration management process adherence
  • Guide systems engineering processes and facilitate technical trades across the system
  • Identify technical issues and proactively implement resolutions to mitigate schedule and cost impacts
  • Lead mission definition, including mission design, operational concepts, and orbit selection
  • Guide development of systems engineering products, spacecraft architecture, trade studies, requirements development, verification, and validation plans
  • Identify vendors and oversee spacecraft component selection
  • Provide technical mentorship to team members and monitor technical integrity of all team members’ contributions
  • Contribute to the vision and strategy for growing the Space Systems division in collaboration with executive and business development teams
  • Contribute to proposal development
  • Develop, monitor, and adhere to efficient program budgets, schedules, and resource plans

YOU’LL BRING THESE QUALIFICATIONS (Note: you must meet every qualification in order to be considered):

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, math, or related discipline.
  • 10+ years of experience in satellite design, development, test, and operations across multiple flight projects/programs
  • Active TS/SCI security clearance or, ability to obtain and maintain one
  • Experience taking a product from concept phase through prototyping, launch, and operation


  • 15+ years of experience in satellite design, development, test, and operations
  • Master’s, PhD, or other advanced degree in engineering, physics, math, or related discipline
  • Demonstrated leadership of space systems engineering teams
  • Demonstrated breadth and depth across multiple spacecraft engineering disciplines
  • Broad understanding of the spacecraft component supply chain and broad network of vendor relationships across the supply chain
  • Proficient in key mission design, detailed analysis, and engineering management tools: 3D CAD software, STK, Matlab, NX, SPICE, JAMA, Teamcenter, etc.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Ability to travel regularly, including international travel
  • Experience with:
    • Low and high budget space system development
    • Deep space missions
    • Spacecraft and spacecraft subsystem design, environment definition, and design approaches
    • Spacecraft power and energy budgets, link budgets, ground segments, and data processing
    • Spacecraft pointing and geolocation budgets
    • Spacecraft rate, attitude, and momentum closed loop control systems
    • Cabling/harness, electronic board, and avionics design
    • Spacecraft and spacecraft subsystem fabrication, assembly, and test
    • Flight and ground software development, test, and verification
    • Ground instrument and payload interfacing interface
    • EEE part performance, application, failure modes, test methods, reliability, and supply chain quality
    • Computers, programming languages, scripting tools, and automation

The expected salary range for the position is displayed in accordance with the California Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Final agreed upon compensation is based upon individual qualifications and experience. 

In addition to base salary, Rocket Lab offers a comprehensive total compensation package based on individual qualifications and experience, which may include cash or equity incentives. Employees will also be eligible for medical, dental, vision coverage, 401(k) retirement plan options, and to purchase discounted stock through Rocket Lab's Employee Stock Purchase Program.

Base Pay Range (CA Only)
$225,000$275,000 USD

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 [email protected].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 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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