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GNC Engineer, Navigation and State Estimation (Starlink)

SpaceX

SpaceX

Redmond, WA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.

GNC ENGINEER, NAVIGATION AND STATE ESTIMATION (STARLINK)

At SpaceX we’re leveraging our experience in building rockets and spacecraft to deploy Starlink, the world’s most advanced broadband internet system. Starlink is the world’s largest satellite constellation and is providing fast, reliable internet to 2M+ users worldwide. We design, build, test, and operate all parts of the system – thousands of satellites, consumer receivers that allow users to connect within minutes of unboxing, and the software that brings it all together. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Starlink’s potential global impact and are looking for best-in-class engineers to help maximize Starlink’s utility for communities and businesses around the globe.

As an engineer on this team, you will bring a passion and expertise in areas like control theory, state estimation, orbital mechanics, spacecraft systems design, optimization, and software development to join the Starlink guidance, navigation, and control (GNC). Come help us write the autopilot algorithms for thousands of satellites (the world's largest constellation!) and more than one million user terminals, enabling access to high speed broadband internet in all corners of the world.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Design, analysis, implementation of onboard angular and positional navigation logic for satellites, consumer antennas, and other Starlink devices.
    • Star tracker and signals based attitude determination and inertial propagation.
    • GNSS and signals based positioning and inertial propagation.
  • Orbit determination of starlink sats and other objects of interest.
  • Onboard estimation of payload alignment errors to maximize received inbound/outbound signal power.
  • Space weather modeling and thermospheric density estimation and forecasting, to improve resilience of constellation against environmental factors.
  • Work with hardware engineers on the design and specification of future navigation sensor packages, including both COTS solutions and in-house development.
  • Model derivation and high fidelity simulation for development and validation of prototype features.
  • Implementation, validation, unit testing, and deployment of production software (C++) pertinent to the systems described above.
  • Provide engineering and data review support for hardware development, network level performance monitoring, special projects, and customer support team.

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor's degree in aerospace, physics, or an engineering discipline.
  • Software development experience in C++.
  • Experience in technical analysis scripting and visualization via Matlab or Python.
  • Experience with generalized state estimation algorithms.
  • Experience with attitude determination and/or GNSS positioning.

PREFERRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE:

  • Master's degree or PhD in physics or an engineering discipline.
  • Demonstrated project or professional experience in state estimation, feedback control, robotics, antenna design and actuation, or similar.
  • Direct experience with inertial navigation systems.
    • Star tracker spot detection, pose estimation, propagation and filtering, and general firmware development.
  • Direct experience with GNSS.
    • Multi-GNSS measurement models.
    • Loosely/tightly coupled state estimation.
    • Carrier phase compensation and integer ambiguity resolution.
    • Ionospheric compensation and modeling via radio occultation measurements.
    • Externally supplied constellation ephemeris + clock augmentation.
    • PPP/RTK.
    • Experience with GNSS receiver and antenna hardware and integration (time synchronization, PTP, PPS, receiver firmware and RTCM protocol).
  • Direct experience with generalized "signals of opportunity" ranging observations and navigation.
  • Linux development experience.
  • Strong understanding of classical dynamics, modeling and simulation, and software development.
  • Capable of identifying and solving complex problems with little to no supervision or direction.
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry.
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, autonomously driven, and demanding start-up atmosphere.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:

Pay range:
GNC Engineer/Level I: $120,000.00 - $145,000.00/per year
GNC Engineer/Level II: $140,000.00 - $170,000.00/per year

Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k)-retirement plan, short & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.

ITAR REQUIREMENTS:

  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.