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Senior Development Engineer - Electron Propulsion

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Auckland, New Zealand
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 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

While other companies talk about it, we do it!

About the team

Our Senior Development Engineer - Electron Propulsion is part of the Electron Propulsion Development (EPD) team which is one of three development teams in the Electron Engineering organisation responsible for the design and development of the Electron launch vehicle. The other two teams are Avionics Development and Vehicle Development, with each development team having their Manufacturing Engineering counterpart(s).

The EPD team takes on all development activities (design, test, and analysis) associated with the Rutherford and Curie engines, under the overarching goals of increasing performance and reducing cost. 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 to production implementation & support. This means that the skillset of the team spans systems engineering, design, analysis, build, and test, although each member 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.

About the role

A senior engineer in the EPD team at Rocket Lab holds technical responsibility for multiple products across the Rutherford and Curie engines, with daily tasks including:

  • Identifying, planning, and executing product and process improvements through design, analysis, and test.
  • Technical problem solving, review, and guidance for the team.
  • Identifying, dispositioning, and mitigating technical risk.
  • Establishing engineering requirements for a product or process, and demonstrating compliance via engineering documentation.
  • Developing engineering standards within the team.
  • Reviewing and approving drawings, specifications, reports and dispositions across the team.
  • Informally leading small groups of engineers working towards a common goal.
  • Upholding high company standards for best practice and quality of work.
  • Training and mentoring junior members of the team. 

Essential skills

  • 5+ years of experience working in a fast-paced development environment. 
  • Excellent grasp of mechanical engineering fundamentals (e.g., stress, strain, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, mechanisms). 
  • Experience working with CAD (NX preferred), PLM, EBOM and configuration management tools (Teamcenter preferred). 
  • Can generate concise, detailed engineering documentation with minimal feedback & review. 
  • Experience reviewing and approving technical content. 
  • Ability to work effectively and maintain professional behavior when timelines are tight. 
  • Hands-on hardware testing experience. 
  • Engineering degree. 

Desirable skills

  • Experience working in a highly regulated industry (e.g., aerospace, medical). 
  • Avionics design, development and/or testing experience. 
  • Rocket engine or spacecraft propulsion system development experience. 
  • Has worked on variety of liquid propulsion systems utilizing different propellants. 
  • Jama or equivalent requirements management software. 
  • Programming in Python, LabVIEW, MATLAB or equivalent. 
  • Experience with NI TestStand software or equivalent. 
  • Experience supporting an existing product in production. 

Rocket Lab Employee Benefits:

  • The opportunity to work on innovative and groundbreaking technology.
  • An employee stock purchase program.
  • Access to world leading experts to develop your career.
  • Unlimited barista coffee, fruit, and snacks.
  • Rocket Lab merchandise – T-shirts, mission patches etc.
  • Discounted health insurance with Southern Cross.
  • Additional parental leave entitlements.
  • A vibrant team culture with social activities throughout the year.

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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