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Panel Manufacturing Engineer II

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 24, 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 new site in Albuquerque, NM as part of the SolAero Technologies acquisition, the Panel Manufacturing Engineer I is responsible for developing and maintaining processes for building advanced solar panels for space applications and ensuring they won’t fail on orbit. You will support the Panel Engineering Manager and the Production organization, with deliverables required for internal leadership, board of directors, and investors.


  • Develop a detailed understanding of the design, construction, manufacturing methods and operating principles of series interconnected multi-junction solar cells.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of how external variables such as temperature, strain conditions, and the effects of a space environment can have on the materials used in the manufacture of solar panels.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of parallel gap resistance welding, mechanical fixturing for high throughput assembly, and additive manufacturing techniques.
  • Develop a practical working knowledge of dispense and cure of space grade polymeric adhesives, the methods by which they can be mixed, degassed, and applied. An understanding should be built about the methods by which these materials cure and the factors that drive the effectiveness and rate of that cure.
  • Develop a working knowledge of the electrical circuits used in solar panels and the design constraints thereof
  • Combine the understanding described above to assess current manufacturing capability and work to improve/expand that capability by acquiring/designing/building and qualifying new tools or equipment or modifying/implementing new processes.
  • Use your background with PLCs and process automation to support an automated assembly line
  • Use analysis tools such as Excel, JMP and presentation tools such as Word and Powerpoint to develop thoughtful and correct analyses and conclusions, and present those conclusions to others in a convincing and confident manner.
  • Contribute to the definition of goals, scope of work, budget, needed resources, and schedule of large and small projects and help to execute those projects to completion.
  • Effectively train technicians on the proper use of equipment, and support their work with proper guidance, expertise and help. Document procedures and write work instructions to ensure the proper execution of developed procedures.
  • Develop collaborative working relationships with technicians, engineers, and program managers. Work with technicians and engineers to coordinate and prioritize the workload.

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

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, or equivalent training. 
  • Attention to detail and careful application of engineering rigor are essential
  • 2+ years related experience supporting a manufacturing line in an engineering role


  • Training in data science/automation, experience working with PLC based systems
  • Experience with any programming or scripting is a plus, as is SQL experience
  • Training and experience designing mechanical fixturing
  • Experience developing mechanical processes and fixturing from concept to execution
  • Experience doing Root Cause Analysis using formalized methods like Apollo
  • Experience using Statistical Process Control (SPC) to make process decisions
  • Experience writing technical documentation and technical reports and presenting those reports to technical stakeholders


  • 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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