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Senior Composites R&D Engineer

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 10, 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.

Sr. Composites R&D Engineer

This is an advanced composites R&D engineering position that requires problem solving, developing and advancing products to >MRL 7, developing and implementing new composite materials and processes, and prototyping light weight and thermally stable space structures.


  • Build pathfinder hardware for new programs ahead of main manufacturing campaigns to mature processes and documentation and demonstrate required performance to specifications
  • Interface with program, design, analysis, operations, manufacturing, quality, and test teams on space hardware programs
  • Deliver high fidelity, well-documented procedures to the manufacturing floor to build flight hardware that meets design requirements and customer specifications
  • Leverage and collaborate with existing composites expertise from across global Rocket Lab
  • Research, qualify, and implement new composites manufacturing processes and materials (film adhesives, pre-pregs, primers, potting adhesives, etc.) where needed to improve capabilities, reduce cost, or improve manufacturability of products
  • Engage with materials and equipment vendors
  • Lead the specification and procurement of new equipment including automated manufacturing tools for composites and/or embedded components such as mechanical and electrical interface point hardware
  • Support test lab procedures, data analysis, and testing as required
  • Support transition of programs into manufacturing as required
  • Support creation and presentation of technical content for program design reviews
  • Technical Writing of work instructions
  • Support Business Development with new proposal estimations and technical customer meetings
  • Leverage industry associations and attend tradeshows to bring back the latest technologies

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

  • BS in Manufacturing, Aerospace, or relevant engineering discipline
  • 5+ years of experience in manufacturing engineering
  • Hands-on experience in design, analysis, manufacturing, or testing composite aerospace hardware and materials
  • Experience with material and process development


  • Graduate degree in a relevant engineering discipline
  • 8+ years of experience in manufacturing engineering or composites development
  • Experience in an R&D or process development environment
  • Experience with Solid Works or equivalent 3D CAD software
  • Experience or knowledge in coupon level testing
  • Experience with automated manufacturing equipment
  • Good verbal and written communication skills


  • Relocation eligible to local area – Albuquerque, NM – depending on position
  • 9/80 schedule
  • Healthcare (medical, dental, vision)
  • 401k match up to 3%
  • 10 paid company holidays and 16 days of PTO
  • Employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)

SolAero by Rocket Lab is based in Albuquerque (ABQ), in the heart of New Mexico. ABQ offers both affordability and easy access to the outdoors and rich cultural centers such as museums and art galleries. With almost 300 days of sunshine a year, but also proximity to secluded ski slopes, there’s something for everyone who loves the outdoors. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to try authentic New Mexican cuisine – a delicious blend of traditional Native American foods mixed with roasted green chiles. Fun fact: ABQ is the hot air ballooning capital of the world! It’s for all these reasons and more that New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment.

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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