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Principal Chief Engineer - Spacecraft

Terran Orbital Corporation

Terran Orbital Corporation

Irvine, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2024


Be more than just an employee number! Join Terran Orbital, a leader in innovation, manufacturing, and operations in the satellite industry. We are a pioneer in the miniaturization of space technologies and the delivery of responsive space solutions. We are a unique, fast-growing, and trusted team focused on quickly and economically designing, building, launching, and operating state-of-the-art satellites for advanced mission constellations.

Terran Orbital is seeking an experienced Principal Chief Engineer - Spacecraft to join our growing team as a key leadership team member. The Chief Engineer will be a key member of the engineering leadership team that works closely with functional engineering teams and program managers as a technical authority to ensure product integrity that meets customers’ needs with technical excellence. The Chief Engineer will also support the development of solutions, provide input to technical cost proposals, drive affordability, and ensure the technical integrity of delivered products with rigor thru design, testing, and technical issue resolution. The Chief Engineer will also serve as a technical authority for the organization and provide technical leadership for the development roadmaps, engineering standards, process, and tool development, incorporating best practices and lessons learned across the portfolio.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Act as a hands-on leader, providing technical expertise and guidance across projects
  • Ensure technical integrity and technical rigor of spacecraft designs, analysis, testing, and investigations
  • Support program key driving and risk areas
  • Lead and advise independent Non-Advocate Reviews for projects, programs, and missions to ensure business, customer, and supplier success
  • Provide leadership for the Engineering and Failure Review Boards
  • Provide leadership, mentoring, and guidance to the engineering teams
  • Liaison with Components and Modules Group
  • Establish best practices, frameworks, guidelines, standards, processes, and tools
  • Participate and lead the technical discussions with customers and suppliers to ensure mission success
  • Develop and maintain client network and relationships with senior-level customer counterparts
  • Guide architecture trades to find balanced solutions for technical, schedule, and cost
  • Support the sales and business development teams in the development of technology strategy by adding technical excellence to proposals and presentations
  • Maintain working knowledge of industry engineering practices, tools, and trends
  • Identify and engage meaningful technical inputs from other enterprise contributors and external experts, as needed, to provide optimal focus and skills for challenging and specialty technical topics

Qualifications and Skills

  • Bachelor of engineering or a related field is required; advanced degree preferred
  • 10+ years of experience in spacecraft/subsystem product development and operations
  • 5+ years of aerospace experience working in a technical leadership role
  • Ability to resolve and close technical issues and challenges with competing demands
  • Subject matter expert in one or more Spacecraft and Design Engineering domains. Familiarity with other engineering processes, disciplines, and subject matter authorities
  • Experience in one or more of the following: analog and digital electronics, Communications, Optical or RF missions, and payloads, digital data processing and edge networking, spacecraft mission operations
  • Experience with processes on failure investigation (root cause analysis, corrective action definition, failure review boards, etc.)
  • Experience supporting the technical evaluation of design and requirements verification
  • Experience in different phases of aerospace component and system development cycle and mission life cycle experience including concept development, detail design, design reviews, manufacturing and AIT, operations, and anomaly investigations
  • Familiarity with industry standards, including TOR, GEVS, AIAA, MIL-STD, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully multi-task across portfolio demands
  • Per the requirement of certain Terran Orbital facilities, the applicant must be eligible to obtain and maintain a US TS/SCI Security Clearance and all unique accesses required to work at such facilities


  • 100% Company-paid comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage for you and your dependents
  • Employee Equity Incentive Program
  • 401(k) Match
  • Unlimited PTO

Salary Range $150,000-$250,000

Your actual level and base salary will be determined case-by-case and may vary based on the job-related qualification, knowledge, skills, education, and experience. In addition to base salary, we offer equity for each employee, 100% covered medical, dental, and vision coverage, a 401(k) match, unlimited flex time off, covered life insurance, maternity and paternity leave, tuition reimbursement, employee referrals, and lots of swag!

About Terran Orbital

Terran Orbital is a leading manufacturer of satellite products primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries. Terran Orbital provides end-to-end satellite solutions by combining satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations, and on-orbit support to meet the needs of the most demanding military, civil, and commercial customers. Learn more at www.terranorbital.com

Physical Demands

An employee must meet the physical demands described to perform the essential functions of this job successfully. In performing the duties of this job, the employee is routinely required to sit or stand for long durations of time, in addition to bending, reaching, and walking. This would require the ability to lift or move objects up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift or move objects up to 25 pounds. This position is generally sedentary, with substantial computer usage.

Work Environment

The job operates in a professional office environment but in a manufacturing company. This job routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, and scanners.


To comply with U.S. Government space technology export regulations, the applicant 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. In addition, please note that this position may require a current United States National Security clearance or eligibility for such a clearance.

Terran Orbital is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We consider applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, disability, genetic information, or membership in any other group protected by federal, state, or local law.

If you need assistance or accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at [email protected].