Senior Trajectory Design Engineer

El Segundo, California, United States

Full Time

3 months ago

Job description

About Varda

The environment of space hold the potential to craft products that profoundly enhance life on Earth. Varda is at the forefront of this endeavor, harnessing the unique environment of low earth orbit to produce these innovations and reintroduce them to our world. Our mission transcends mere exploration; we're expanding the economic horizons of humanity.

At Varda, you'll be positioned at the nexus of ambition and expertise. Our seasoned team, with its rich legacy in aerospace and technology, has honed its skills in the corridors of industry giants. Here, your contributions will be both cherished and critiqued by leaders who, with a wealth of experience behind them, are now devoted to the realm of extraterrestrial manufacturing.

While our aspirations soar high, our path is grounded in technical pragmatism and operational viability. Our conceptual operations are crystalline material processing and reentry, backed by years of research and development anchored in the International Space Station's, and commercial space sectors expansive achievements.

Join Varda, and work to finally create a bustling in-space ecosystem.


About This Role

We are seeking a highly talented, self-motivated Senior Trajectory Design engineer to join our rapidly growing startup. As part of our larger Autonomous Systems team, you will have the technical leadership opportunity to create, design and implement full-cycle mission planning and orbital mechanics profiles for future reentry vehicles, unlocking the future of space factories with rapid flight and entry for next generation products. You will work closely with a top-notch multidisciplinary vehicle engineering team to architect the mission plan and trajectory of the world’s first commercial reentry vehicle, enabling the ability to precision land and return manufactured products to earth. You’ll own and develop modeling and simulation infrastructure and tooling to help sure trajectory design and reentry profile are accurate, reliable, and safe. You will own the full cycle of mission planning and orbital dynamics development, from requirements definition and design to mission planning and on-orbit and reentry operations. We are looking for engineers who enjoy solving complex and open-ended problems, can work effectively in a fast-paced environment and share our passion in creating in-space industry.  


  • Perform trajectory design, optimization, and dispersion analysis for the reentry of a next generation space vehicle 
  • Design spacecraft trajectories and produce orbital analyses for commercial reentry vehicles  
  • Optimize trajectories based on fuel, time, and/or performance characteristics 
  • Work closely with propulsion, software and flight operations teams to ensure vehicle and mission objectives are accomplished in the vehicle design 
  • Design and implementation of autonomous satellite navigational solutions, collision avoidance, orbital rendezvous, and atmospheric re-entry algorithms 
  • Running Monte Carlo analysis to characterize performance of new features 
  • Lead the develop new vehicle capabilities 
  • Support in-orbit operations as trajectory specialist, including coordination with other spacecraft operators and 3rd party entities 

Basic Qualifications

  • B.S. degree in aerospace, mechanical, electrical engineering, physics, or related field 
  • 5+ proven years of experience, or PhD with 3+ years of relevant experience 
  • Demonstrated knowledge in designing, modeling, testing, and flying orbital trajectories or aerospace guidance, navigation, and control systems 
  • Strong software and model development skills, particularly in C++/Python/MATLAB/Simulink 
  • Understanding of orbital mechanics, modeling and simulation, and software development  
  • Experience anchoring/fitting first principles models to test data or high-fidelity external simulations 
  • Proven system engineering and configuration management skills 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Understanding of multi-body dynamics, flexible body dynamics, gas dynamics, fluids, and thermodynamics 
  • Experience developing and verifying physical models for the purpose of control design, component sizing, and system performance evaluation 
  • Experience supporting flight test or flying spacecraft 
  • Ability to continuously manage risk and provide solutions with lean software development techniques 
  • Experience with project management for cradle-to-grave projects 
  • Prior work in a technical leadership role for a launch vehicle or satellite development effort 
  • Prior work in a startup or agile development environment 
  • Capability to solve complex problems autonomy as an individual or as a member of an integrated team. 
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry  


ITAR Requirements

  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you 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. Learn more about the ITAR here.  


  • Exciting team of professionals at the top of their field to working by your side
  • Working in El Segundo, CA - an awesome Southern California beach city with quick access to entertainment and outdoor activities
  • Equity in a fully funded space startup with potential for significant growth
  • 401(k) matching
  • Unlimited PTO 
  • Health insurance, including Vision and Dental
  • Lunch and snacks provided on site every day. Dinners provided twice a week. 
  • Maternity / Paternity leave


Varda Space Industries is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.  Candidates and employees are always evaluated based on merit, qualifications, and performance.  We will never discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, martial status, mental or physical disability, or any other legally protected status.


E-Verify Statement

Varda Space Industries, Inc. participates in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security E-Verify program. The E-Verify program is an Internet-based employment eligibility verification system operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Learn more about the E-Verify program.

E-Verify Notice                                                               Right To Work Notice

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