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Senior R&D Engineer - Qualification & Reliability

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Other Engineering
Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2024

About The Role


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!


Rocket Lab’s Space Systems team is responsible for every satellite and satellite component made by Rocket Lab: from complete satellites destined for missions to the Moon and Mars, to the individual components and subsystems that make up a satellite like solar panels, flight software, reaction wheels and star trackers, separation systems, radios, and more. Our Space Systems team is made up of engineers, technicians, and designers who design, create, and put together our own satellites for missions across the commercial, government, and defense sectors, or who build and assemble satellite hardware and software that supports other satellite missions.


Based out of Rocket Lab's site in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Senior R&D Engineer - Qualification & Reliability, will work in an R&D environment and lead space qualification, confidence, and reliability testing work critical to the introduction of new technologies, materials, and processes. You will support the R&D group by solving multi-disciplinary design problems related to new missions, new materials, and new product development.


  • Develop both a theoretical and practical working knowledge of environmental tests related to qualification and reliability testing of multi-junction solar cells for space and terrestrial applications and the governing standards and specifications used in the industry.
  • Design and use of electrical circuitry and hardware to enable environmental testing of multiple solar cell devices simultaneously.
  • Develop both a theoretical and practical working knowledge of the entire suite of test equipment used to characterize and rate the performance of multi-junction solar cells, including Quantum Efficiency, Pulsed and Continuous Illuminated Current-Voltage, Dark Current-Voltage, Transfer Length Measurement, Electro Luminescence, Reflectance, Absorptance, Emissivity, Mechanical bend/breakage, Capacitance, etc.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of the design, construction, manufacturing methods, and operating principles of series interconnected multi-junction solar cells and how changes to any of these may affect the performance or reliability of these devices in various operating environments (LEO/GEO orbits, interplanetary, terrestrial, etc.)
  • Develop a detailed understanding of how environmental factors such as temperature, illumination intensity, illumination uniformity, spectral characteristics, particle and UV radiation, atomic oxygen exposure, thermal cycling, thermal shock, humidity, ESD, mechanical shock/vibe, etc. influence the operation and performance of multi-junction solar cells and integrated products.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of semiconductor bandgaps, their influence on light absorption, light emission, photogenerated current production, and voltage production in solar cells.
  • Identify the important parameters that can be extracted from an IV curve such as short circuit current, open circuit voltage, fill factor, shunt resistance, series resistance, ideality factor, and the phenomena that are responsible for variability in the above parameters.
  • Combine the understanding described above to investigate solar cell device failure mechanisms to root cause.
  • Combine the understanding described above to allow accurate definition of the problem or need, identification of the correct measurement method to address the need, efficient and correct use of the measurement tool, and meaningful and high-value analysis of the data.
  • Combine the understanding described above to plan, manage, and execute qualification, confidence, and reliability testing campaigns.
  • Analyze and interpret test data utilizing tools such as Excel and JMP and confidently present thoughtful and correct analysis to team members.
  • Interact with other R&D and manufacturing engineers to plan and execute required testing activities.
  • Interact with outside vendors to develop required tools and equipment for testing activities.
  • Report results both internally and externally with presentations and formal reports utilizing tools such as PPT and Office
  • Develop strong working relationships across the organization.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of the customer base and design/operation requirements for space and terrestrial solar cells.
  • Develop the tools and experience needed to take ownership of projects and provide technical leadership for the organization.


  • 5+ years of electrical experience in the characterization of diodes/semiconductors.
  • Bachelor's degree in engineering


  • Master's or PhD in physics, electrical engineering, materials science, or related field.
  • Experience with semiconductor product qualification and reliability testing.
  • Experience in solar cell device/product development is a plus.
  • Experience with solar cell device design/theory is a plus.
  • Experience in a production-oriented manufacturing facility is a plus.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and an ability to work in a team environment.


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.

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.


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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