Senior RF Engineer, Space Systems

  • 0 yrs
  • $ Not Disclosed / YEAR

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Job Description


This is a rare opportunity to play a key role in Rocket Lab’s evolution into an end-to-end space company that delivers launch, spacecraft, and on-orbit operations. The Space Systems Division is shaping Rocket Lab’s future with Photon, our brand of high-performance satellites, enabling innovative missions in low Earth orbit and beyond including missions for NASA to LEO, the Moon, and Mars and commercial customers including leading the design and manufacture of 17 high power telecommunication spacecraft buses for Globalstar.

Rocket Lab is also growing spacecraft components business, anchored on the acquisition of Sinclair Interplanetary manufacturing reaction wheels and star trackers in Toronto, SolAero Technologies manufacturing solar power and primary structure solutions in Albuquerque, Planetary Systems Corporation manufacturing launch separation systems in Silver Spring, and Advanced Solutions, Inc. provider flight and ground software as a service in Denver. Our component’s business is key to vertically integrating our spacecraft solutions and enabling constellations for customers.


The Senior RF Engineer works independently under the guidance of the RF Engineering Manager and will play a key role in the design and development of Photon RF communications systems for LEO, lunar and interplanetary missions. The Senior RF Engineer will work on the design, development and testing of communications configurations for Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C) and high rate payload communications. The Senior RF Engineer will also provide input into business development proposals and will temporarily provide ad-hoc support to the Photon production team.


Establish Communications System Variants

  • Design and develop standard Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C), and high rate payload communications systems to be used across low Earth orbit (LEO), lunar, and deep space applications.

  • Develop and maintain Interface Control Documents (ICDs) between the spacecraft communications systems and on the ground.

  • Define communications system roadmap.

Business Development Support

  • Select and tailor RF, Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TT&C), and high rate payload communications solutions as appropriate to meet the requirements of business development opportunities.

  • Develop system drawings and schematics.

  • Develop system level RF analyses including link budget analyses.

  • Develop mass budgets and power budgets.

Trade Studies and Market Surveys

  • Conduct trade studies and work with internal technical teams as necessary to establish balanced technical solutions that align with the communications system roadmap.

  • Conduct market surveys and identify suppliers and components.

  • Engage prospective suppliers to ascertain component performance data and assess against system requirements.

  • Shortlist and recommend components and solutions.

Satellite Integration Support

  • Provide support as needed during spacecraft AIT.

  • Provide support as required during production of RF components and modules.


  • Minimum Bachelors in Electrical Engineer, RF communications, Electronic or relevant discipline 

  • 5+ years' of experience in the design, test and integration of RF communications systems.

  • Experience performing RF analyses, including cascaded device analysis and link budget analysis.

  • Working knowledge of modulation and coding techniques.

  • Experience using test equipment including network, spectrum and signal analyzers.

  • Proven communication skills and the ability to build strong working relationships.


  • General understanding of environmental performance standards such as GSFC-STD-7000 and associated qualification and acceptance testing.

  • General understanding of MIL-STD-461.

  • Experience designing and testing ground stations.

  • A solid theoretical and practical understanding of ranging techniques.

  • Experience working on interplanetary missions using the DSN