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Flight Termination Systems Lead

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


Neutron is a medium lift launch vehicle capable of delivering the mega constellations of tomorrow, high assurance payloads, and human spaceflight. As a highly reusable launch platform, Neutron will deliver a highly cost-effective and reliable launch solution leveraging Rocket Lab’s proven execution history with the Electron program. If you’re interested in joining a high performing team, pushing the boundaries with a clean sheet development of re-usable liquid launch vehicle, this is your opportunity!


As the Flight Termination Systems Lead you will be responsible for all aspects of Flight Safety System (FSS) and Flight Termination System (FTS) architecture, system design, verification, certification per regulatory requirements, and flight operations. A major focus area of this role with be the Neutron reusable launch vehicle currently in development. You should be organized, a good communicator, and excellent at identifying and solving problems related to the integration of complex systems. You should be familiar with all, and well versed in at least one, of the many engineering disciplines which are part of a flight termination system: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, structural and thermal analysis, environmental test, and collaboration with government entities for product certification.


  • Design, analyze, and test components for Flight Termination Systems including power sources, processors, valves, and ordnance
  • Lead hardware qualification efforts for Flight Termination System components
  • Develop, or lead the development of, system and component level testing requirements, specifications, procedures, and documentation
  • Lead analysis activities and support the development of documentation to meet requirements on a per-launch basis
  • Manage, mentor, and support direct or indirect reports to be motivated, effective, and efficient in their roles
  • Proactively identify capability gaps and work to fill them through internal collaboration or external recruitment
  • Lead, manage, and support meetings with Launch Sites, Range Safety, and Government agencies (FAA, CAA, Federal Ranges)
  • Develop flight safety requirements and mission rules across global launch sites
  • Work with Rocket Lab's internal teams to assess and modify trajectories as informed by analysis
  • Create informed project plans and budgetary estimates as inputs to program management functions, track progress against milestones, and react to change quickly and appropriately
  • Proactively identify and solve technical challenges to allow projects to proceed at pace


  • 3+ years’ experience with POST2, ASTOS, RRAT, or similar trajectory optimization software
  • 5+ years’ prior experience working with launch sites and executing launch operations
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or related technical discipline
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively liaise and collaborate with external stakeholders
  • Demonstrated success with highly detail-oriented projects


  • Experience working with licensing requirements (CFR 413/414/440/450, AFSPC 91-710. RCC 319/324)
  • Experience working with military and commercial ranges, FAA AST, ATC, USCG
  • Ability to translate specifications and functional descriptions into fully operational automated test hardware and software
  • Strong hands-on hardware troubleshooting and software debugging skills
  • Proficiency in data acquisition, signal conditioning, data communication and system interface design
  • Ability to learn new software skills/languages/applications quickly
  • Familiarity with use of test equipment (e.g. logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, function generators, power supplies)
  • Familiarity with environmental testing: Thermal, Vibration, Shock, Humidity, Vacuum, etc.
  • Proficiency in general test software development environments
  • Knowledge of manufacturing qualification and process controls and the differences between commercial, automotive, military, and space grade EEE parts
  • Experience with root cause failure analysis
  • Familiarity with microcontrollers is a plus
  • Familiarity with ordnance systems is a plus
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Proven track record of leading a team to deliver complete and successful engineering projects
  • Ability to work to deadlines within a high-pressure environment


  • Ability to travel and communicate outside of work hours
  • Must be able to work extended hours and/or weekends as needed 


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)
$140,000$170,000 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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