Avionics Chief Engineer

  • Full Time
  • USA
  • Posted 2 months ago
  • US Citizenship or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Ability to drive to the test site in Mojave, CA as required

Company Details

At Virgin Orbit, we launch the small satellite revolution, accessing space for missions that were previously unimaginable and fostering new ideas and technologies to create a truly spacefaring civilization. We deliver Virgin’s legendary customer service by pairing technological advancements with a clear focus on our customers’ needs. We build a workplace and a workforce for the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today will launch the industries of tomorrow. We engage a diverse and inclusive community of dreamers and achievers in a shared mission to access space to improve life on Earth. At Virgin Orbit, we boost imagination.

Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve in the capacity of Avionics Chief Engineer reporting directly to the VO Avionics Senior Director. This position will interface closely with the Avionics Department Leader and the Chief Engineer’s Office to maintain an integrated Avionics technical baseline. The chosen candidate will be a proven technical leader with experience across the development, production and operations of complex launch vehicle systems. Excellent communication skills and an ability to function and lead the Avionics team at a detailed level is a must. The ideal teammate/leader will understand, help and motivate engineers and operations teammates in relation to technical efforts, formulating higher level trades and determining best paths forward. An ability to construct a strategic path for the technical team in regards to issues, technical matters and processes is a necessity. This position requires an agile and resilient leader who is able to quickly harness an understanding of the technologies, tools and processes needed to successfully develop, produce and operate Avionics systems within a space launch system. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission


  • Partner with Avionics functional leaders to focus on technical developments in Avionics and also reach across the organization to ensure overall mission integrity.
  • Conduct Avionics performance trade studies to optimize system performance.
  • Ensure that the Avionics component and system level development/qualification plans meet VO pedigree requirements.
  • Evaluate the risk and impact of vehicle design modifications to ensure mission success and safety.
  • Perform top level technical analysis as required.
  • Develop effective, streamlined technical approaches for system development, test and operations.
  • Effectively communicate vehicle design requirements across the organization.
  • Work with subject matter experts to resolve technical design challenges.
  • Work with both technical and non-technical counterparts in the customer community.
  • Maintain close technical coordination with Virgin Orbit Chief Engineer to ensure that all projects maintain technical consistency.
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Performs other duties as assigned
  • Ability to travel 10% of the time
  • Ability to drive to the test site in Mojave, CA as required

What you bring

If you want to join us, you’d better have all of these…

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering or in “STEM” Majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
  • Relevant technical experience in launch vehicle design and operation with direct hardware experience
  • Experience with one or all of the following: Avionics System Design, liquid propulsion systems, composite structure, structural design and manufacturing, systems engineering and analysis
  • Knowledge of full life cycle systems engineering principles
  • Proven ability to lead, motivate and build teams
  • Experience in a test and evaluation environment
  • Excellent interpersonal skills complemented by strategic thinking and a strong commercial acumen
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness
  • Must be able to work all shifts and available for overtime as well as weekends when needed

… and you should probably have a bunch of these, too.

  • Masters degree preferred in Electrical Engineering or in “STEM” Majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
  • Experience in low cost commercial space system ventures
  • Experience with air launched space launch vehicles
  • Experience with commercial licensing of space launch operations
  • Prior experience establishing and / or maintaining a vehicle configuration management system
  • Broad management experience / skills base in areas such as resource planning, proposal writing, technical project management, risk management and business development
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Ability to thrive as a ‘one person team’

ITAR Requirements

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.

Personal Requirements

Our idea of a happy life: build rockets, work with brilliant people, serve purposeful customers, and open access to space. Sir Richard Branson’s belief is “If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success.” From the very start, we have placed top priority on growing and fostering a team of creative, diverse, and talented women and men. In the words of Sir Richard Branson “We believe it’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”

Virgin Orbit is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Orbit 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, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.


Tagged as: lead/motivate/build, commercial space system ventures, air launched space launch vehicles, commercial licensing, vehicle configuration management system

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