👷 Senior Spacecraft Operations Engineer - NZ

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About Rocket Lab
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. Our team is 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.

While other companies talk about it, we do it!

About the role
Rocket Lab is seeking a Spacecraft Operator to support the development of the space operations capability in NZ and supporting on-orbit operations of Rocket Lab’s Photon satellites, as well as mission operations for MethaneSAT. This role is focused on space operations and requires a strong ops/science payload background as well as a breadth and depth of experience working with operator training and certification.

The Spacecraft Operations team is responsible for maintaining the health and safety of Rocket Lab’s growing fleet of spacecraft and ensuring that mission objectives and SLAs are met.  The team’s goal is to maximize the value Rocket Lab can create from a constantly changing fleet of diverse spacecraft. The Spacecraft Operations team also works closely with related teams, such as the spacecraft design, AIT, flight software, RF etc, to help improve both the ground and satellite-based capabilities over time.


  • Develop scripts, software, and tools to automate day-to-day operations of Rocket Lab’s Photon satellites
  • Work with the launch operations team, flight software team, and other design teams to develop operational plans for Photon missions
  • Respond to issues and anomalies across the fleet
  • Lead science mission planning and on-orbit operations as Flight Director
  • Lead the training of new spacecraft operators, develop the MethaneSAT space operator training system, lead the certification of spacecraft operators (both internal RL and external), develop/manage mission operations handover to the mission ops host, and manage the shadow operations plan
  • Schedule mission operations to maximise science payload efficacy
  • Work to improve the efficiency of satellite operations through automation and metrics-based decisions

Essential skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical, mechatronics, electrical engineering, or any related discipline
  • Significant spacecraft operations experience essential.
  • Involved in training and certification of spacecraft operators
  • Understanding of orbital mechanics and spacecraft systems
  • Expertise in one or more of: spacecraft operations, spacecraft power systems, attitude control systems, orbital mechanics, propulsion, thermal design, RF communications, embedded software, or a similar relevant field

Desirable skills

  • Science payload space operations preferred
  • Mission operations planning preferred
  • Software development (python/ruby/other high-level languages)
  • Exposure to modern development practices – git, CI/CD, cloud infrastructure (AWS/GCP )
  • Flight director experience ideal

Important Information
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 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/01/23/2020-00574/international-traffic-in-arms-regulations-us-munitions-list-categories-i-ii-and-iii

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

New Zealand, Auckland

Posted a month ago