Senior Ground Stations RF Engineer
Vast was founded to expand humanity's frontier into the solar system and beyond. We believe that the next step on that journey is enabling manufacturing and habitation in LEO. We are building artificial gravity space stations to make this a reality. If you want to join a team that builds amazing things with the most talented people on Earth, please reach out.
Vast is looking for a Senior Ground Segment Engineer, reporting to the Director of Ground Software & IT, to support the development of the systems that will be required for the design and build of artificial-gravity human-rated space stations. This will be an exempt role located in our Hawthorne location until the end of the year and subsequently transition to our Long Beach location.
As a Ground Segment Engineer you will contribute to all phases of ground segment system development, from initial concept to the operation and support of Vast’s on-orbit missions. The Ground Segment team builds ground stations, selects and integrates ground stations from our partner networks, and works on console in mission operations. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in the design and build of electrical, mechanical, and RF systems, and exceptional troubleshooting and infrastructure integration skills.
- Design and build next-generation ground station networks for the Orbiter and Haven vehicle programs
- Conduct trade studies for ground segment assets and review technical proposals for their selection
- Oversee operations of Telemetry Tracking and Command (TT&C) ground stations supporting our on-orbit vehicles
- Lead the build out of our ground station systems through all phases from site acquisition, frequency license approval (in collaboration w/ legal and RF teams), installation, hardware integration, testing, calibration to operations
- Oversee the health and status of the ground station network during the launch and early orbit phase of spacecraft operations
- Work closely with the Ground Segment Software team to integrate telemetry and telecommand data to and from ground stations with Vast mission operations software systems
- Design and build ground infrastructure for mission operations voice systems
- Comprehensively trade and select for integration ground station providers/networks into Vast’s ground segment infrastructure
- Rigorously test the communications interface between both our ground station and vehicle test hardware and ground station and ground software systems
- Bachelor’s degree in electrical, aerospace, or software engineering, or other engineering discipline
- 3+ years of industry experience designing, implementing and testing system-level communication architecture
- 2+ years of experience with RF tools and equipment such as Receivers, Front-End Processors, Spectrum Analyzers, VNAs, Power Meters, Cable Analyzers, SDRs, etc.
Preferred Skills & Experience:
- Fundamental skills needed to design and build electrical, mechanical, and RF systems
- Ability to creatively solve problems and bring multiple disciplines together while assessing risk and making design and development decisions with incomplete data sets
- Strong sense of accountability and integrity with excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Comprehensive knowledge and experience with the Linux operating system.
- Familiarity with GNU Radio or similar software
- Proficiency in working with software-defined radios (SDRs)
- Extensive experience in using spectrum and vector network analyzers for RF testing and troubleshooting
- Demonstrated expertise in systems integration and complex systems debugging
- Strong grasp of electronics and RF theory, and hands-on experience with electronics hardware, including both analog and digital
- Experience with programming & scripting: Matlab, Python, C/C++, JS, etc
- Experience with full-lifecycle product development
- Solid understanding of telemetry systems
- Capability to manage complex projects, including experience leading technical teams through all phases from concept to completion.
- Superior communication skills, both verbal and written
- Previous involvement with antenna design, radio frequency (RF) systems, and ground station operations
- Prior work on large scale, high reliability systems
- Knowledge of RF demodulation, decommutation, FEC and CRC decoding, IRIG or CCSDS decoding techniques, Best-Source Selecting, for use in RF receiving front-end systems
- Understanding of signal processing - Nyquist, sampling rates, data decimation
- Must be willing to travel as required to domestic and international ground station sites (< 25%)
- Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends when necessary to support launch and mission operations efforts