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Lead Recovery Engineer

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Friday, September 22, 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!


The Lead Recovery Engineer position will initially be based out of Rocket Lab's headquarters in Long Beach, CA. This person will develop a high performing team that is responsible for the design and development of all offshore Recovery assets needed to support Neutron downrange landings. You will interface with critical teams within the Neutron development team including Ground Systems, GNC, Software, Avionics, Mechanical Systems and Propulsion.  Your team will be responsible for successful Neutron Recovery program designs and hardware to enable development, testing, flight, and recovery. 


  • Guide a small team of engineers through the early stages of developing the Neutron Recovery program
  • Own critical Recovery system designs, analysis and other technical details as needed to support the objectives of the team
  • Serve as technical expert for marine system designs required for Neutron Recovery
  • Provide strategy on development plans including what hardware to build and how tests are performed in order to maximize the program’s available resources towards meaningful progress on Neutron
  • Build and maintain relationships with key vendors and contractors as needed through the Recovery system lifecycle
  • Collaborate heavily with Rocket Lab Engineering teams to ensure all systems are operational to support Neutron Recovery
  • Support Recovery system fabrication and testing both remotely and onsite as needed at Wallops Island as well as other facilities


  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical, naval, marine, electrical, systems or aerospace engineering, or related field
  • 5+ years professional experience designing, building, operating or maintaining complex mechanical, marine or electrical hardware
  • Experience successfully leading a team through a challenging technical project or program


  • 5+ years professional experience in Maritime or Aerospace field
  • Experience designing and building complex, multi-disciplinary systems including;
    • Electrical, Mechanical, Hydraulic, Fluids, or Marine Systems
  • Experience leading teams of engineers to successful outcomes on challenging projects with tight timelines and budgets
  • Past work experience, internships, or projects related to aerospace vehicles/payloads, automotive, aircraft, or marine assemblies
  • Self-motivated and directed with keen attention to detail
  • Ongoing drive for continuous improvement in all aspects of work
  • Detail oriented, organized, and demonstrate a high sense of urgency
  • Ability to work in fast-paced, high stress and remote environments
  • Ability to work autonomously, prioritize work, and make resource allocation recommendations that involve risk and uncertainty


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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