flight systems
ground support
radar system

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

The Flight Communications Systems Section (3370) provides cost-effective space communications systems, services, and products for NASA/JPL missions, including direct-to-Earth (DTE) and proximity relay links. The section provides related products and support, including antennas and radio frequency (RF) power amplifiers, for other space RF systems such as radars, radio science, and Global Positioning System (GPS) systems and position sensors.

The section’s objectives are to develop breakthrough, resource-effective, reliable communications technologies and infuse them into JPL flight projects to enhance mission capability and success; adapt and apply these technologies to remote sensing and other science applications; and develop a knowledgeable and capable section of expert engineers through a careful balance of flight implementation, research, and development.

JPL’s Flight Communications Systems Section is looking for a highly motivated and experienced Systems Engineer III to join their Communications System Engineering Group. As a member of this Group, you will have an opportunity to be involved in all phases of product development from early concept and mission formulation, low technology readiness specification and prototyping to engineering and flight model development and implementation, functional and environmental testing, and flight operations support.


  • Provide telecom system engineering support on various flight telecom subsystems for deep-space interplanetary missions, Earth-orbiting missions, and lunar/Mars relay networks.

  • Support key spacecraft-level ATLO tests such as subsystem functional test, ground-station compatibility testing (with the Deep Space Network, Near Space Network, or other commercial providers), and environmental testing.

  • Generate and track verification and validation (V&V) plans for deep-space and near-earth telecommunication subsystems.

  • Support investigations of radio-to-avionics interface idiosyncrasies and issues as the main telecom point-of-contact for the mission.

  • Draft or update telecom functional description documents, comm behavior manager documents, and other design control documents related to the telecom subsystem.

  • Manage requirement changes through Engineering Change Requests (ECR) with Change Control Board (CCB) concurrence and approvals, and draft waivers as necessary.

  • Generate telecom link margin analyses using a statistically-derived design control table and manage and track changes to reduce uncertainties.

  • Track and document mass, power, and data volume specifications and allocations for telecom components and subsystem.

  • Support Hardware Review/Certification Requirements (HRCR) and Certificate of Flight Readiness (CoFR) reviews for flight deliveries of telecom subsystems on mission risk class A thru D.

  • Support the product manager in managing risks, performance error budgets, trade studies, design integration, and maintaining delivery schedules. 

  • Support operations planning including supporting the mission during the early commissioning phase after launch.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering,Computer Hardware Engineering, Computer Science, Aerospace Engineering, Physics or Mathematics with a minimum of 6 years of work related experience, or Master’s degree in a similar technical discipline with a minimum of 4 years of work related experience, or Ph.D in a similar technical discipline with a minimum of 2 years of work related experience.

  • Demonstrated skills in designing, implementing, and testing electronic hardware or instruments that are used within complex spaceflight systems.

  • Experience within a multidisciplinary system engineering ( telecom systems, radar systems, spacecraft systems, avionics systems) or test team (electrical integration, spacecraft assembly electrical, spacecraft functional or telecom compatibility).

  • Demonstrated knowledge of processes that are used to verify/validate the design requirements of systems.

  • Hands-on experience in testing of systems, including test planning, test procedure development, and data analysis, as well demonstrated ability to understand and debug/troubleshoot complex systems.

  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills.

  • Ability to collaborate successfully with other groups, sections, divisions, and organizations, both inside and outside JPL.

  • Ability to react to frequent changes in plans and excel in a rapid pace concurrent engineering environment.

  • Wide-ranging experience and knowledge in one or more of the following areas: Spacecraft Telecom Systems Engineering, Software Defined Radios Design Principles, RF Design, Digital & Analog Hardware Design, Embedded Software and Firmware, and Digital & RF Ground Support Equipment.

  • Ability to support short-term travel to support testing at assembly/launch facilities in the US and abroad.

Desired Skills

  • Knowledge of Laboratory policies and procedures, NASA policies and procedures, and government regulations across a range of applications.

  • Capable of performing spacecraft orbit simulations using analysis software such as SOAP or STK to derive key telecom-related parameters.

  • Experience managing link budgets and reducing link uncertainties.

  • Familiarity with ground station providers and services including the Deep Space Network (DSN), Near Space Network (NSN), European Space Tracking Network (ESTRACK), and commercial providers.

  • Familiarity with requirement tracking and management systems such as DOORS.

  • Thorough understanding of spectral mask regulations and measurement techniques.

  • Understanding of advanced principles, theories, concepts, and techniques in telecommunications including modulation and coding types, hardware including antennas and front-end RF hardware, link design and modeling, networking hardware and protocols, radio testing and test automation.

  • Experience with multipath and ray tracing analyses for base station to rover communication links.

  • Experience using or designing Software Defined Radios (SDR).

  • Experience with development, documentation and execution of radio system tests, including formal validation and verification tracking for fulfillment of requirements.

  • Proficiency with a range of tools for numerical analysis, electronic design, firmware, embedded software, and/or testing automation.

  • Direct experience with flight telecom component development and delivery.

  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and presentation skills, including the ability to interact with project, program, and line management and the engineering team.

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

EEO is the Law.

EEO is the Law Supplement

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

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United States, JPL Campus, Pasadena, California
Posted 2 months ago
Job offer closed
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