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Director, Flight Safety & Mission Assurance



Long Beach, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2023

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 Director of Flight Safety, reporting to the CTO, to found the Vast flight safety organization. You will recruit the team who will assure safe design, build and operation of the crewed Vast space stations. This will be an exempt role located in Long Beach.

As the founding leader of the team, you will have the unique opportunity to define the culture and operation of the flight safety team. You will create new processes that touch all parts of the company, across all phases of development and, from initial concept to the operation and support of Vast’s on-orbit missions. The Flight Safety team reviews critical designs, manages risks, ensures public safety, defines flight rules and will internally certify the space stations for crewed use. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of team leadership in an aerospace engineering field with a flair for risk management and a keen eye for regulatory requirements.


  • Define team scope and recruit a world-class flight safety team
  • Work with teams to identify, record and mitigate risks
  • Liaise with regulators, customers and government agencies and facilitate tight coordination between the internal and external teams
  • Define and tailor flight safety requirements for crewed vehicle design
  • Derive vehicle reliability and mission reliability metrics
  • Collaborate the vehicle level certification story
  • Define flight safety requirements and mission rules such as launch commit and docking commit requirements
  • Root cause off-nominal testing results, guiding teams with investigation framework and reviewing targeted testing
  • Draw together vehicle deorbit models from internal sources and present to external regulators
  • Create framework for assessment of space weather and its impact on station operations
  • Work with GNC to address conjunctions and avoidance maneuvering
  • Work closely with the Ground Segment and Software teams to define critical telemetry selection to ensure successful flight and post-flight analysis understand and respond to a range of off-nominal situations and outcomes

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical, aerospace, or other engineering discipline
  • 6+ years of industry experience managing risk and certifying systems within a regulated environment
  • 3+ years of experience leading system, reliability or other technical engineering disciplines

Preferred Skills & Experience:

  • Experience working with launch sites or space vehicles in an operations capacity
  • Experience in mission control for satellites or launch vehicles
  • History working with regulatory bodies and meeting licensing requirements
  • Strong track record in building relationships with external partners and regulators
  • 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
  • Experience defining Fault detection, isolation, and recovery (FDIR) in systems to ensure crew safety
  • Experience in GNC and flight simulation
  • Debris modeling and participation with flight or other anomaly investigations

Additional Requirements:

  • Must be willing to travel as required to meet with domestic and international regulators (< 20%)
  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends when necessary to support launch and mission operations efforts
Base salary will vary depending on job-related knowledge, education, skills, experience, business needs, and market demand. Salary is just one component of our comprehensive compensation package. Full-time employees also receive company equity, as well as access to a full suite of compelling benefits and perks, including: 100% medical, dental, and vision coverage for employees and dependents, flexible paid time off for exempt staff and up to 15 days of vacation for non-exempt staff, paid parental leave, short and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, free catered meals and snacks and beverages, access to a 401(k) retirement plan, One Medical membership, ClassPass credits, personalized mental healthcare through Spring Health, and other discounts and perks.


The person hired will have access to information and items subject to U.S. export controls, and therefore, must either be a “U.S. person” as defined by 22 C.F.R. § 120.62 or otherwise eligible for deemed export licensing. This status includes U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), and asylees and refugees with such status granted, not pending.
Vast is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Vast 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.