Workplace Diversity
Senior Spacecraft Operations Engineer

Senior Spacecraft Operations Engineer

companyRocket Lab
locationAuckland, New Zealand
PublishedPublished: 5/3/2024
Full Time


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!

Position Purpose

Based at Rocket Lab's Auckland Production Complex, New Zealand, the Spacecraft Operations Engineer is responsible for the operations development and on-orbit operations of Rocket Lab’s satellites contracts.

You will support the global Spacecraft Operations team that are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of Rocket Lab’s growing fleet of spacecraft and ensuring that mission objectives and SLAs are met.

The missions are very diverse with operations on Rocket Lab's satellite buses for customers with diverse payloads and roles. From LEO on-orbit manufacturing to deep space/interplanetary missions, LEO constellations, LEO rendezvous, … Supporting the commissioning and orbit raising phases and also for some missions the routine activities or even re-entry.

The Spacecraft Operations team works closely with related teams, such as spacecraft design, AIT, flight software, propulsion, GNC, flight dynamics and ground software development to help improve both the ground and satellite-based capabilities over time.

The space operations experience at Rocket Lab is unique because you will cover a multitude of roles/positions and responsibilities, with the large majority of the technical products being supplied through the vertical integration/in-house.


  • Master's degree (or greater) with applied space ops internships OR Master's degree with 1+ year applied space ops work experience OR 2+ years applied space ops work experience.
  • Direct experience in any of the following: space mission design, satellite subsystems, ground systems, spacecraft command control or spacecraft operations.
  • Understanding of key spacecraft subsystems and their associated components, including attitude determination and control, spacecraft electrical power systems, space-ground communications, on-orbit command and data handling, and thermal control.
  • Understanding of the space environment, orbital mechanics, and rigid body dynamics.
  • Demonstrated success working in a dynamic environment with multiple priorities.
  • Software development (Python/Ruby/C/C++/other high-level languages).


  • Graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering.
  • Prior experience in spacecraft operations.
  • Prior experience in satellite system design.
  • Prior experience in satellite ground systems.
  • Exposure to modern development practices – GIT, CI/CD, cloud infrastructure.
  • Experience with hardware-in-the-loop testing.

If the above sounds like you apply now!


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

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 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.