Company Details

Rocket Lab is the global leader in small satellite launch. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. There are endless possibilities for what we can achieve with better access to space, and that access is now a reality thanks to Rocket Lab. 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. While other companies talk about it, we do it!

Systems Engineer, Propulsion & Fluid, Senior

Systems Engineer, Propulsion & Fluid, Senior– Propulsion & Fluidics will be responsible for guiding the multi-disciplinary team developing the Photon satellite bus thruster as well as the liquid and gas plumbing systems for long term space operations. You will spearhead the design, shepherd the it through prototyping, qualification and acceptance, and ensure that these systems meet functional, performance and safety requirements. Responsibility will cover thrusters, for both in-space propulsion and attitude control, tanks as well as pressurant and propellant control.

Day to day you will be working with a team of experienced engineers to concept, design, test, produce and operate the propulsion and fluid systems to deliver successful Photon missions. A baseline version of the systems do exist, but it is receiving a complete overhaul in architecture for increased reliability, performance and operational capability in a space environment – this is the primary responsibility.

This role must deliver a products that are highly adaptable for the different configurations that the Photon satellite bus could fly with. We are looking for a technical leader with experience to achieve the required outcome efficiently. In addition, flight data analysis and review will be required along with contributions to technical decisions for unique missions that could be carried out.


Design and Development 

  • Develop product requirements that function with the rest of the system to meet mission requirements
  • Concept generation ensuring all requirements are addressed
  • Finding component suppliers and leading specification discussions with them
  • Design, build and test development units to validate the concept
  • Detailed design and engineering drawings of the validated concept
  • FMEA of the components, assemblies and system functions
  • Test for failure modes and implement mitigations where applicable to deliver a robust product

Design Validation 

Ensure products achieve functionality at defined milestones through planning, coordinating, executing, reviewing and documenting the following activities:

  • Development through analysis – FEA, thermal, vibration etc.
  • Development testing
  • Qualification through analysis
  • Qualification testing
  • Failure scenario testing


  • Ensure the propulsion functions to the required performance within the parent propulsion assembly, Photon satellite bus, and production operations for the different operational configurations.

Planning and Teamwork

  • Pre plan activities needed to achieve program success
  • Manage project schedules, staffing needs and milestones
  • Co-ordinate your activities and the team activities to achieve project milestones through measurable subtasks
  • Co-ordinate with stakeholders to provide and collect information to ensure program success
  • Ensure activities are visible to management and provide updates on project health and blockers to progress.
  • Responsible for communication of the project to the team and management.
  • Attend meetings relevant to the product application to receive and provide information external to the team
  • Hold meetings to provide information within the team and externally where applicable


  • Follow company practices for activities carried out
  • Create operations and product lifecycle documentation in addition to the detailed design documentation


  • Domestic and international travel may be required
  • Additional duties as reasonably required

Health and Safety

  • Follow company policies
  • Ensure health and safety policies and standard operating procedures are followed
  • Correct PPE is worn in designated areas
  • Near misses and incidents are reported promptly

Skills and Experience 

  • 5 years experience directly related to in-space propulsion systems for satellites
  • Proven track record of methodical communication and managing technical requirements and specifications
  • System operating knowledge with cryogenic liquid and hot gas fluid flows through mechanical systems with ancillary electrical systems
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of propulsion systems and componentry including valves, sensor types, signals and uncertainties in system function
  • Able to interpret information from others and make sound engineering decisions relevant to area of responsibility
  • Able to identify work and information needed to achieve development milestones
  • Experienced working in a multi-disciplinary team
  • Able to make effective decisions between selecting “off the shelf” and purpose built components to achieve requirements.
  • Degree in mechanical/aerospace engineering or equivalent

Desirable Skills

  • 10 years experience directly related to in-space fluid systems for satellites
  • Masters or higher education in mechanical/aerospace engineering or equivalent
  • CAD, FEA, thermal, vibration, FMEA, FTA experience

Important Information:
To conform to US Government space technology export regulations, applicants must be a US citizen, lawful permanent resident of the US, protected individual as defined by 8 USC 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorization from the US Department of State.

Rocket Lab USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, employment with Rocket Lab USA is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status


Tagged as: Photon satellite

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