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Principal Spacecraft Systems Engineer (Defense/Intelligence)

Terran Orbital Corporation

Terran Orbital Corporation

Software Engineering
Irvine, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 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 Spacecraft Systems Engineer to join our growing team. Reporting to the Systems Engineering Manager, the Principal Spacecraft Systems Engineer will lead, work closely with, and be an integral part of a multidisciplinary team leading the cradle-to-grave technical definition of our products and missions. You will architect key elements of mission operations, system functional behavior and performance, and detailed design for all subsystems that support innovative, high-capability small satellites. Your work will synthesize and integrate subsystems, including space propulsion subsystems, high data rate radios, encrypted communication devices, radar systems, phased array antennas, and other satellite payloads, to name a few.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leading and working closely with hardware, software, mechanical, mission operations, and other systems engineers to design and develop optimal architectures and detailed solutions to complex space domain missions
  • Leading concept of operations development, architecture definition, mission operations baselines, and mission operations procedures
  • Collaborate with Program and Product management to implement and manage schedules, knowledge management, configurations, and change management documents
  • Participating and leading the technical discussions with customers and suppliers to ensure mission success
  • Lead and take responsibility for technical reviews to ensure appropriate milestone maturity meets internal and external expectations
  • Managing requirements to ensure maturity, feasibility, proper flow-down and traceability, requirements verification, and requirements validation
  • Perform mission, system, and vehicle level trade studies to balance risk, cost, and performance
  • Supporting assembly, integration, and test activities including build procedures, test plans/procedures, and other verification and validations execution activities
  • Develop systems engineering artifacts that support requirements and architecture development; modeling and simulation; cybersecurity; network operations; interoperability; verification and validation testing; and enterprise deployment and capability monitoring
  • Participating in team discussions involving vehicle architecture and design for future projects
  • Establish standard operating procedures that support mission assurance, risk mitigation, and contingency plans to assure required mission “up time” for all ground activities
  • Collaborate with engineering teams to define interfaces; integrate mission applications and data storage; and verify Terran Orbital enterprise capabilities
  • Implement life cycle systems engineering best practices

Qualifications and Skills

  • BS or MS in engineering field with focus on Aerospace or other engineering discipline with 10+ years work experience or demonstrated equivalent
  • Technical leadership experience across one or multiple areas in the space domain
  • Demonstrated ability to make complex critical decisions in a timely manner
  • Demonstrated experience and success with one or more of the technical areas listed above
  • Experience leading day-to-day operations on complex programs or large functional organizations, with proven collaboration and coordination skills across internal and external stakeholder organizations
  • Experience with risk, issue, and opportunity management
  • Understanding of how people, process, tools, systems, and leadership concept of operations operate to achieve goals
  • Proven ability to deliver effective communication verbally, written, and through well-crafted presentations across all levels of an organization
  • Impeccable attention to detail and sense of urgency
  • Ability to self-govern with minimal supervision, establish workload priorities, and to utilize efficient time management practices to achieve assigned tasks
  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 22 CFR §120.15 or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State

Additional Differentiators

  • Demonstrate experience and success with technical leadership of launched or operational space domain systems and architectures
  • Government/military/defense industry experience a plus
  • Demonstrate experience and success with space-based encrypted communications architectures and devices, as well as knowledge of standards for geospatial intelligence data and products
  • Demonstrate experience and success with space-based reliability, availability, and maintainability, and safety
  • Demonstrate experience and success with space-based optical systems and applications
  • Demonstrate experience and success with space-based remote sensing systems
  • Demonstrate experience and success with rendezvous proximity operations and docking
  • Familiarity with MATLAB, S.T.K., and Linux platforms
  • Familiarity with satellite system budgets, including mass, power, and link budgets


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

Salary Range $130,000-$200,000

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 lifting or moving objects up to 10 pounds and occasionally lifting or moving objects up to 25 pounds.

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].