Product Engineer, Optical Materials

Company Details

Space factories for Earth-bound products

About Varda

Varda is moving industry into space and bringing real products back to Earth.

SpaceX, NASA, and the rest of the space industry have laid the proverbial railways to orbit. The team at Varda is building on top of this prior work to expand the economic bounds of humankind.

At Varda, you’ll have the opportunity to work at the intersection of ambition and experience. Our team has all worked in aerospace and honed their crafts in the trenches of major established companies. Your work will be valued and evaluated by launch-proven leaders who’ve chosen to apply their talents to manufacturing in space.

While our vision is big, the steps to get there are technically reasonable and operationally feasible. Our conops are clear and use cases have been proven out over decades of ISS-based research and development.

Join Varda to help leverage space for business.

About this role

Varda is forging a new path in the space economy and needs an experienced product engineer, with deep knowledge of optics, manufacturing, and product development in the optics industry.

As one of the early members of the team, your work will shape product development throughout Varda, and define the space economy for years to come.

The ideal candidate is an industry veteran with deep knowledge of both the technical and customer management aspects of lasers, telecom, and broader commercial optics applications. Prior experience in customer management and manufacturing is highly desirable. This is an opportunity in an exciting area of growth for Varda, the role will shape Varda’s product culture, and will play a significant role in establishing the low earth orbit economy.

Responsibilities for this Role

  • Drive internal engineering and external vendors to support optical products
  • Customer-facing; expected to deliver technical presentations and interface with customers to capture and address requirement gaps
  • Hands-on product and process testing to resolve technical challenges and ultimately push the boundaries of product performance, creating a differentiated microgravity product
  • Execute material and failure analysis testing to characterize, trouble-shoot, and ultimately resolve defectivity, nonconformance, and out of tolerance challenges spanning from raw materials to product design challenges
  • Define product and hardware requirements, document supplier requirements, as well as internal and external manufacturing procedures

Requirements

  • Demonstrated customer management and presentation skills
  • Track record of driving product or process development lifecycle in the optics industry, including some degree of program management skills
  • Strong analytical skills, with demonstrated application of statistical analysis methodologies, expertise in statistical process control (SPC), Design of Experiments (DoE), failure mode effect analysis (FMEA), and structured problem-solving methodologies
  • BS/MS degree in science or engineering with 3-10 years of industry experience preferably in the optics or semiconductor industry

Nice-to-Haves

  • Product lead and/or a technical owner in an entrepreneurial environment, especially at a startup
  • A recognized leader in glasses or fiber lasers, with broad knowledge and established industry relationships in optics or end-use applications
  • Ability to model process, analytically, through computational methods, or through other means
  • Ph.D. in Materials Science, Physics, Electrical Engineering, or related fields

Expectations

End of first three months

  • Identify and resolve gaps in test methodologies, including lab build-out as needed. The top two low hanging fruit objectives achievable within three months are setting up an optical characterization setup, and a mechanical testing bench to characterize product mechanical properties
  • Flesh out performance – defect model to estimate optical performance at operating wavelengths. Together with this model there should be scoping out of the experiments to verify and update the model
  • Define product requirements, summarizing input and feedback from customer calls
  • Product design and manufacturing optimization, to ensure the product meets customer requirements

End of first six months

  • Baseline Varda’s product performance (optical, mechanical) in comparison to the industry state of the art. This includes gauge studies or other required activities to validate test methodologies, as well as using external testing facilities
  • Drive collection of key materials characterization, especially for parameters that impact product performance, tie into the microgravity value proposition, or inform manufacturing
  • Establish product inspection methodologies, including incoming product acceptance criteria, and outgoing product acceptance criteria
  • Drive improvement in product performance
  • Define product packaging and handling requirements

End of first year

  • A great candidate will have eliminated raw material impurities and contamination challenges facing Varda suppliers. The expectation for a candidate is that they identified what the impurities are, where they are introduced into the manufacturing pipeline (including at supplier sites), and potential partners and processes to correct these impurities
  • Product meets all specifications that can be achieved without microgravity (dimensional tolerances, optical performance, mechanical properties, environmental stability)
  • Initial product packaging concept is defined, ideally with initial prototype runs at vendors

Tagged as: program management, customer management & presentation, optics industry, science or engineering, optics or semiconductor industry, spc/doe/fmea

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