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Senior R&D Engineer

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Other Engineering
Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2023

About The Role

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 site in Albuquerque, the Senior R&D Engineer will be a part of an integrated products R&D group that is responsible for the development of new solar panel products and new process development. You will support the R&D group by solving multi-disciplinary design problems related to new missions, new materials, and new product development.


  • Design, build, and test functional space hardware that powers a wide range of missions and impacts nearly every person on the planet
  • Make hands-on contributions to real hardware that operates in space
  • Develop space solar power technology that is among the highest efficiency and lightest ever made
  • Advance the state of the art in space solar technology
  • Participate in and lead hardware design projects from concept to production
  • Develop, qualify and implement new assembly processes including new equipment and advanced automation
  • Work with and lead multidisciplinary project teams
  • Participate in strategic product road-mapping
  • Become a subject matter expert in various areas of expertise
  • Use organizational skills for leading project teams, managing multiple concurrent projects, and planning, prioritizing and documenting work
  • Develop a strong theoretical understanding of the science and engineering principles that underpin space solar panels and assembly equipment, and use that knowledge to train others, recommend improvements, and conduct meaningful experiments
  • Solve multi-disciplinary electrical, thermal, mechanical, and materials problems for space solar panel products that have to survive in multi-effects environments
  • Use failure analysis methods such as five why, fishbone diagrams, root cause analysis, and FMEA to identify potential causes of failures and develop solutions
  • Document and communicate work product using written and spoken reports and presentations

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

  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering
  • 5+ years of experience in mechanical design
  • Experience in new product or new hardware development


  • Master's or PhD in a relevant subject matter
  • Experience with space solar panels and systems
  • Experience designing mechanical systems for use in the space environment
  • Proficiency using SolidWorks for design concepting and basic analysis
  • Proficiency in geometric dimensioning and tolerancing
  • Experience in the management of technical projects
  • Strong communication skills, with ability to work with multidisciplinary project teams and interact with people of different skillsets, job functions, and abilities
  • Strong organizational skills with the ability to lead projects, manage multiple concurrent projects, and plan, prioritize, and document work
  • Experience and acumen in solving multi-disciplinary electrical, thermal, mechanical, and materials problems for space solar panel products that must survive in multi-effects environments


  • 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, applicant must be a U.S. citizen as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations fromthe U.S Department of State.

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.


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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