Senior Director, Spacecraft

Planet Labs San Francisco , CA 94118

Posted 1 week ago

Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites in history. This constellation delivers an unprecedented dataset of empirical information via a revolutionary cloud-based platform to decision-makers in commercial, environmental, and humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company and data company all rolled into one.

Customers and users across the globe use Planet's data and machine learning-powered analytics to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world's toughest challenges.

As we control every component of hardware design, manufacturing, data processing, and software engineering, our office is a truly inspiring mix of experts from a variety of domains.

We have a people-centric approach toward culture and community and we are iterating in a way that puts our team members first and prepares our company for growth.

Join Planet and be a part of our mission to change the way people see the world.

We are currently seeking a Director of Spacecraft to lead Planet's spacecraft platform development. In this role you will be responsible for the team who designs, develops, prototypes, and supports the multiple systems that fly Planet's Earth imaging payloads. Planet is vertically integrated across our systems, horizontally integrated across multiple spacecraft platforms & product lines, and uniquely positioned between traditional aerospace and consumer electronics engineering. As part of the space systems management team, you will be responsible for the execution and alignment of engineering efforts as well as the development of the engineering and quality assurance processes and teams.

The Role:

  • Reporting to the SVP of Space Systems you will work alongside payload, manufacturing, operations, mission systems (ground segment), systems engineering, and program management teams.

  • Managing a team of 35-40 engineers across embedded software (incl FPGAs), electrical, mechanical, thermal, guidance & controls, and RF communications disciplines.

  • Providing on-orbit support and maintenance engineering for the two existing spacecraft platforms developed and operated by Planet (Dove, SkySat).

  • Working closely with internal customers (Product/Operations) to maintain a core technology roadmap to ensure Planet bus platforms are reliable, adaptable, and cutting edge to support new business needs.

  • Creating a strong spacecraft engineering culture through thoughtful recruiting, mentoring and career development, creating interdependencies to drive collaboration, and improving engineering flow (process/communications/etc).

  • Working with your peers and the support of a systems engineer/spacecraft architect/program manager on the execution of complex spacecraft development and production programs.

The Must Haves:

  • 5+ years of Director level engineering management and design experience in bringing complex, technologically sophisticated products to market

  • Strong decision making skills and intuition, and an ability to act quickly while exercising sound judgment

  • Strong fundamental understanding of aerospace and embedded systems

  • Solid understanding of the product development lifecycle process, including analysis and design, development tools and technologies, release and version control, contemporary testing methodologies and deployment management

  • Experience taking a product from concept phase through prototyping, launch and maintaining operations

  • Strong communication skills, writing and interpersonal abilities, positive attitude, diplomacy and persuasiveness, analytical ability, judgment, and managerial skills

  • Demonstrable core values of fairness, inclusivity, and compassion

  • Demonstrable experience providing mentorship and career development for both hardware and embedded software engineers

  • BS in Aerospace/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering or similar

The Nice to Haves:

  • Experience in Agile / Lean development and testing automation methodologies as well as processes for software systems

  • A history of establishing and maintaining strong relationships with vendors, contract manufacturers, and electronics manufacturing services

  • Experience with consumer electronics/electromechanical products, user-facing software including web and mobile applications

  • A keen hands-on attitude and first hand experience building and testing hardware and software

  • Software development and programming knowledge is a plus

Some press about us:

Our CEO, Will Marshall's TED Talk

"Tiny Satellites ushering in the New Space Revolution" Bloomberg Businessweek

"The All-Seeing Eye in the Sky video" Bloomberg Businessweek video

"Planet And Rocket Lab Create Mission Patch To Honor Women In Aerospace" Planet Blog

Join Us:

Planet is headquartered in San Francisco, California, Earth. If you are feeling inspired, check out our website www.planet.com/careers and apply. Be sure to include a cover letter to let us know why you think you'd be a good fit and feel free to mention anyone you have previously worked with at Planet.

We are committed to building a diverse team and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.


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Senior Director, Spacecraft

Planet Labs