About Varda

There are many products that improve the quality of life on Earth that can only be manufactured in space. Our job at Varda is to make those products and bring them back down. We at Varda are proud to expand the economic bounds of humankind.

Here, youโ€™ll have the opportunity to work at the intersection of ambition and experience. Our team has deep experience in aerospace and tech. They have honed their crafts in the trenches of major companies.ย  Your work will be valued and evaluated by proven leaders who have 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.ย 

About This Role

We are seeking a highly talented, self-motivated technical leader to join our rapidly growing startup as the Director of GNC. You will have the leadership opportunity to architect, design and implement full-cycle GNC designs for future reentry vehicles, unlocking the future of space factories with rapid flight and entry for next generation products. You will work closely with a top-notch multidisciplinary vehicle engineering team to develop control and guidance solutions, assess the impact of designs on vehicle controllability and performance, work with the flight software team to implement guidance and control algorithms and navigation solutions into reality. You will own the full cycle of GNC development, from requirements definition and design, supporting functional and system levels tests with hardware-in-the-loop, on-vehicle functionality, to mission planning and on-orbit and reentry operations. We are looking for engineers who enjoy solving complex and open-ended problems, can work effectively in a fast-paced environment and share our passion in creating in-space industry.


  • Develop and deliver highly reliable GNC algorithms, simulations and mission analysis to ensure that the spacecraft, satellite bus, and reentry capsule operate per requirements through the entire mission

  • Design and implementation of autonomous satellite attitude control, collision avoidance, orbital rendezvous, and atmospheric re-entry algorithms

  • Perform trajectory design, optimization, and dispersion analysis for the reentry of a next generation space vehicle

  • Lead and drive trades for the new vehicle capabilities, coordinating with other departments to optimize system complexity and capability trades specifically for GNC (ie GNC sensor and actuator architecture)

  • Own all aspects of GNC development, from initial architecture, design, testing, integration and mission operations, inclusive of tooling, simulation and testing infrastructure, including but not limited to:

  • Interfaces to vehicle software and successful implementation/validation of flight algorithms

  • Interfaces ย to avionics and other subsystems to ensure sensor and actuator sizing, accuracy and qualifications meet system requirements

  • System level budgets for GNC, including but not limited to momentum and pointing, ensure appropriate inputs are captured and documented, ensure final mission requirements are met prior to flight readiness milestones

  • GNC Mission Operations support, tooling required for flight decisions and vehicle operations and validation, and mission support staffing for GNC specialists

  • Develop 6 degree of freedom vehicle simulation using MATLAB/Simulink, integrate with software in the loop, hardware in the loop simulation frameworks. Run Monte Carlo analysis to characterize performance of new features

  • Hold the highest bar for GNC and mission analysis development through tooling, code reviews, process development, testing, training and mentorship for the GNC team

  • Own, drive and develop mission analysis and planning portions of FAA Part 450 regulatory submittals. Work closely with government regulatory partners through relationship and credibility building to ensure Varda is on track to obtain reentry licensing on par with mission cadence.

  • Manage and mentor GNC team development priorities and hiring, career development and growth for GNC team

Basic Qualifications

  • B.S. degree in aerospace, mechanical, electrical engineering, computer, physics, or related field
  • 7+ proven years of experience, or advanced degree with 5+ years of relevant experience
  • At least two years of leadership experience
  • Teamwork, communication, and problem solving in a collaborative environment
  • Scope projects including requirements capture and initial design trades given open-ended problems
  • Demonstrated knowledge in designing, modeling, testing, and flying aerospace guidance, navigation, and control systems
  • Strong software and model development skills, particularly in C++/Python/MATLAB/Simulink
  • Understanding of orbital mechanics, modeling and simulation, and software developmentย 
  • Experience anchoring/fitting first principles models to test data or high-fidelity external simulations
  • Proven system engineering and configuration management skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Understanding of multi-body dynamics, flexible body dynamics, gas dynamics, fluids, and thermodynamics
  • Experience developing and verifying physical models for the purpose of control design, component sizing, and system performance evaluation
  • Experience supporting flight test or flying spacecraft
  • Ability to continuously manage risk and provide solutions with lean software development techniques
  • Experience with project management for cradle-to-grave projects
  • Prior work in a technical leadership role for a launch vehicle or satellite development effort
  • Prior work in a startup or agile development environment
  • Capability to solve complex problems autonomy as an individual or as a member of an integrated team.
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry


ITAR Requirements

  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITARย here.



  • Exciting team of professionals at the top of their field to working by your side
  • Working in El Segundo, CA - an awesome Southern California beach city with quick access to entertainment and outdoor activities
  • Equity in a fully funded space startup with potential for significant growth
  • 401(k) matching
  • Unlimited PTOย 
  • Health insurance, including Vision and Dental
  • Lunch and snacks provided on site every day. Dinners provided twice a week.ย 
  • Maternity / Paternity leave

Varda Space Industries is an Equal Opportunity Employer. ย We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.ย  Candidates and employees are always evaluated based on merit, qualifications, and performance.ย  We will never discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, martial status, mental or physical disability, or any other legally protected status.

Varda Space Industries logo
Varda Space Industries
United States, El Segundo, California
Posted 11d ago
Job offer closed
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