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GNC Engineer II - Mission Design

GNC Engineer II - Mission Design

companyRocket Lab
locationAuckland, New Zealand
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Full Time

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is a vertically integrated provider of small launch services, satellites, and spacecraft components. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. Our team is over 1,500 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

Based out of Rocket Lab's Auckland, NZ office, the GNC Engineer – Mission Design is responsible for general mission design including trajectory design and optimization, auto-sequence planning & design, Monte Carlo analysis, configuration management, and any other mission design, launch operations, verification and validation tasks as required.Key Responsibilities:

  • Assisting with trajectory optimization/design for launch vehicle orbital missions.
  • Assisting with auto sequence design (maneuvers, telemetry, ground station contacts), implementation and verification for orbital flight, stack tests and wet dress rehearsals
  • Analysis and missionisation of optimised 3DOF trajectories for implementation in 6DOF and flight scenarios
  • Monte-Carlo analysis pre-flight, launch day and post-flight analysis
  • Design and verification of spacecraft separation sequences and dynamics
  • Assisting with all areas of GNC development and maintenance for Electron, Neutron and/or other programmes including
    • Core GNC R&D (Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
    • Vehicle parameter modelling / prediction and/or configuration control
    • 6DOF simulator design and development
    • Launch and HITL operations

Essential skills:

  • 1+ years of relevant experience
  • Master’s degree or higher in Aerospace Mechatronics or equivalent qualification (Bachelor’s degree can be considered for Engineer I level)
  • A thorough fundamental understanding of 3DOF rocket dynamics
  • A thorough fundamental understanding of orbital mechanics
  • Experience with optimization for launch-vehicle or spacecraft missions

Desirable skills:

  • 3+ years of experience 
  • Experience with GMAT or STK
  • Experience with software development in Python or MATLAB
  • Experience in development/implementation of a basic 3DOF propagator for LEO, lunar, or interplanetary trajectory from fundamental equations of motion

Rocket Lab Employee Benefits:

  • The opportunity to work on innovative and ground breaking technology
  • An employee stock purchase program
  • Access to world leading experts to develop your career
  • Unlimited barista coffee, fruit, and snacks
  • Rocket Lab merchandise – T-shirts, mission patches etc.
  • Discounted health insurance with Southern Cross
  • Additional parental leave entitlements
  • A vibrant team culture with social activities throughout the year

If the above sounds like you, apply now!

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.


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 ITAR Regulations.