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Senior Spacecraft Engineer

Mid-Senior Level | Full-time
Engineering | livermore, CA | 09/21/2023

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is important for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Pay Range

$198,630 - $306,096 Annually

$198,630 - $255,060 Annually for the SEL.4 level

$238,380 - $306,096 Annually for the SEL.5 level

Job Description

We have an opening for a Senior Spacecraft Engineer to lead multi-disciplinary teams in concept development, requirements generation, preliminary system design, and performance analysis for the Z Program’s Space Science and Security Program (SSSP). In this position you will have the opportunity to take a leading role in both analytical intelligence programs and design of advanced space payloads. You will collaborate with scientific and engineering personnel as well as senior management to design flight systems to support national security, commercial and science missions; and manage a range of activities within the portfolio concentrated on using proven capabilities for mission areas such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); space situational awareness (SSA); communications; and other missions. You will coordinate with DOE and other intelligence community stakeholders to provide expert technical knowledge to answer questions critical to United States national security. You will have project management responsibility for defining and implementing the intellectual, programmatic, and supervisory functions necessary to ensure the successful execution of the program’s research agenda and the development of a broad range of interfaces with current and potential sponsors. This position is in the National Security Engineering Division (NSED) within the Engineering Directorate.

This position will be filled at either level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level. 

You will 

  • Lead a multi-disciplinary team including engineers, scientists, intelligence analysts, and technical staff to achieve specific technical goals relevant to lab mission areas in space systems.
  • Define system and sub-system requirements for applications in collaboration with APLs, Chief Technologist, and project systems architects on multiple programs, establishing technical milestones and business plans for program execution, tracking costs and managing entire projects to budget.
  • Develop and guide the execution of strategies that enhance the ability of the lab to address new opportunities in space flight hardware, utilizing advanced technical knowledge of space systems engineering and best practices in the aerospace community.
  • Develop new and novel strategies for addressing pressing national security issues in technology and intelligence.
  • Interface directly with management and external sponsors to communicate technical milestones and solicit input from technical leaders in the space program.
  • Communicate results through formal technical reports, presentations and peer-reviewed scientific journals as appropriate.
  • Participate in strategic planning and help develop an integrated strategy for space program activities consistent with the goals of the SSSP and Z Program, under consultative direction.
  • Partner with U.S. Government sponsors, other organizations, and technology leaders to provide technical input, and develop and refine new concepts that support national priorities.
  • Responsible for personnel management, staff and performance management activities, performance feedback to the appropriate managers, and mentor junior technical staff to promote professional development.
  • Maintain appropriate security in a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) environment for information and systems that are under the APL’s direct control.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SEL.5 level

  • Influence and interact directly with senior leaders at U.S. government agencies to develop new mission architectures and demonstration systems.
  • Provide guidance and strategic vision for scientific and technical direction of projects within the Space Hardware and Engineering Assessments Programs. Brief work to senior management on overall impact and approach.
  • Guide strategic technical decisions made by senior management and external customers. Represent the Laboratory on external high-level scientific or technical committees.


  • Ability to secure and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Master’s degree in Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or related field or the equivalent combination of education and related experience.
  • Significant practical experience and theoretical depth in one or more technical areas related to spacecraft engineering. These areas may include but are not limited to systems engineering, high-TRL optical flight hardware, communications and telecommand, mission and orbit design, power and computer systems, thermal control, structures, guidance navigation and control, and propulsion.
  • Significant experience managing and leading multidisciplinary (scientists, engineers, and analysts) project teams effectively, including systems engineering, resource, and project management.
  • Significant experience conducting research and analysis related to national security issues.
  • Substantial experience with programs and projects for National Security mission applications, subject matter expert knowledge and understanding of National Security mission requirements and related issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain effective relationships with laboratory technical experts and coordinate with other U.S. government agencies. Ability to travel as necessary to meet with and present analyses to sponsors, stakeholders and counterparts.
  • Ability to perform classified work in classified workspaces.
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate and collaborate with other personnel in achieving project objectives.
  • Expert verbal and written communication skills necessary to effectively present, explain, and advise senior management and external sponsors, including preparing and presenting proposals and reporting results.

Additional qualifications at the SEL.5 level

  • Expert knowledge in how national-level priorities drive investments and decision-making by funding agencies with execution and acquisition authority.
  • Extensive experience managing and leading multidisciplinary (scientists, engineers, and analysts) project teams effectively, including systems engineering, resource and project management as well as demonstrated ability to motivate and collaborate with other personnel in achieving project objectives.
  • Extensive experience conducting research and analysis related to national security issues, including extensive experience with Intelligence Community and Department of Defense needs and practices, including SCI security marking, intelligence oversight and compliance, and related security and safety practices.

Qualifications We Desire

  • PhD. in Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, or related field.
  • Experience managing and leading multi-million-dollar research and development project portfolios.
  • Detailed knowledge of industrial spacecraft engineering processes, troubleshooting, standards, and practices.
  • Detailed knowledge of how U.S. government agencies evaluate and acquire new systems, preferably gained from directly supporting national security space organizations through previous military service, a long-term assignment or employment at a U.S. government agency or equivalent combination of related experiences.
  • Experience in the development and use of MBSE tools, methods, and techniques, as applied to spaceflight systems.
  • Requires subject matter expert knowledge (often recognized internally and externally) of highly advanced concepts spanning one or more areas in science, technology, or engineering.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position, open to Lab employees and external candidates.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. Also, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship. 

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position must pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

How to identify fake job advertisements

Please be aware of recruitment scams where people or entities are misusing the name of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to post fake job advertisements. LLNL never extends an offer without a personal interview and will never charge a fee for joining our company. All current job openings are displayed on the Career Page under “Find Your Job” of our website. If you have encountered a job posting or have been approached with a job offer that you suspect may be fraudulent, we strongly recommend you do not respond.

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Equal Employment Opportunity

We are an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing all with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

We invite you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

Our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please use our online form to submit a request. 

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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