Spacecraft Systems Engineer

spacecraft systems engineer

Spacecraft construction entails many moving parts, all developed by different teams. System engineers take an overall view, assessing how all these different systems connect.

Attracting candidates who possess US Citizenship and Public Trust Clearance for this sedentary position involving frequent use of computer keyboard and mouse.

Requirements Analysis

Systems engineering gives life to space missions by developing them from an initial concept into a complete blueprint. This work involves analyzing and categorizing requirements so all stakeholders agree on a final version, often called Critical Design Review (CDR) or Operational Readiness Review.

INCOSE recognizes that it is essential that requirements be specified at just the appropriate level of abstraction, neither too broad nor narrow enough for direct implementation, hence the significance of functional analysis at this stage.

Join the Livermore, California team tasked with designing and analyzing spacecraft models and payloads in support of national security missions. You will assist in various areas of systems engineering process like concept development, requirements generation, modeling & simulation analysis as well as other areas.


Spacecraft are complex machines comprised of many individual elements designed by various teams. Spacecraft systems engineers look at the whole to craft a total system design that meets programmatic and technical constraints while fulfilling objectives within programmatic and technical parameters. They then oversee architecture development, building strategy implementation and subsystem integration for maximum effectiveness.

Pre-Phase A architecture serves as the basis for design engineering teams when developing detailed designs (with dimensioned parts, bills of materials, schematics and pin diagrams). Designs created in Pre-Phase A are then evaluated through analysis models, proof-of-concept prototypes or other means in order to conduct a trade study and compare their merits against each other.

Phase B also involves creating a Verification Plan for each subsystem to detect anomalies and test the system before entering Critical Design Review, providing plans for fabrication, procurement and software coding of hardware as well as procurement planning.


Spacecraft systems engineers specialize in multiple fields to define user needs and design solutions that satisfy them. Their contributions play a crucial role in the conception, integration, testing, and operation of space projects ranging from student CubeSats to commercial communications satellites.

Systems engineering in the aerospace industry refers to the practice of designing systems which reliably and cost-effectively perform their intended function, including computer engineering, electronics engineering, power electronics, thermal, and structural design.

Rocket Lab is seeking an outstanding spacecraft systems engineer to work on our Photon satellite program, the world’s first small satellite platform. Working from our headquarters in Long Beach, you will be responsible for several key tasks related to our Photon satellite platform including defining requirements, analyzing performance and managing risk.


Space systems consist of many interlocking elements designed by various teams. A systems engineer oversees this entire endeavor from conception through completion, overseeing its architecture, building strategy and integration of subsystems into its final form.

Systems engineers perform sophisticated analyses to model spacecraft system performance and capabilities, generate technical assessments for intelligence community organizations or external sponsors and mentor junior technical staff.

Critical Design Review and fabrication and procurement of hardware is part of their responsibility, along with creating and preparing a verification test plan for components, subsystems and the entire system for environmental testing purposes. They plan for V&V physical testing during Phase B before conducting the actual tests during Phase D according to this plan.


Spacecraft systems design requires compromises between power requirements and reliability requirements in order to minimise launch cost, and operate successfully under challenging environmental conditions. Therefore, systems engineers often must ‘invade’ power teams and insist upon choosing flywheels over batteries when designing such systems.

Spacecraft systems engineers rely heavily on creativity. They must be open-minded when presented with novel ideas or challenges outside their comfort zone, as well as possess a comprehensive understanding of all subsystems within a system. Being able to work effectively with teams of engineers from diverse disciplines is also key, while in smaller student projects often the systems engineer serves as the project manager themselves.

Scroll to Top