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Principal GNC Engineer

Varda Space Industries

Varda Space Industries

El Segundo, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, July 1, 2023

About Varda

There are many products that improve the quality of life on Earth that can only be manufactured in space. Our job at Varda is to make those products and bring them back down. We at Varda are proud to expand the economic bounds of humankind.

Here, you’ll have the opportunity to work at the intersection of ambition and experience. Our team has deep experience in aerospace and tech. They have honed their crafts in the trenches of major companies. Your work will be valued and evaluated by proven leaders who have chosen to apply their talents to manufacturing in space.

While our vision is big, the steps to get there are technically reasonable and operationally feasible. Our conops are clear and use cases have been proven out over decades of ISS-based research and development.

Join Varda to help leverage space for business.

About This Role

We are seeking a highly talented, self-motivated Principal GNC engineer to join our rapidly growing startup. You will have the technical leadership opportunity to architect, design and implement full-cycle GNC designs 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 on to develop control and guidance solutions, assess the impact of designs on vehicle controllability and performance, work with the flight software team to implement guidance and control algorithms and navigation solutions into reality. You will own the full cycle of GNC development, from requirements definition and design, supporting functional and system levels tests with hardware-in-the-loop, on-vehicle functionality, 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.


  • Design GNC sensors and actuators architecture with inputs from other vehicle engineers, including sizing of reaction wheels, torque rods, IMU/GPS, and star trackers
  • Design and implementation of autonomous satellite attitude control, collision avoidance, orbital rendezvous, and atmospheric re-entry algorithms
  • Perform trajectory design, optimization, and dispersion analysis for the reentry of a next generation space vehicle
  • Develop 6 degree of freedom vehicle simulation using MATLAB/Simulink
  • Running Monte Carlo analysis to characterize performance of new features
  • Lead the develop new vehicle capabilities
  • Support in-orbit operations as a GNC Mission 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
  • 8+ proven years of experience, or PhD with 4+ years of relevant experience
  • Demonstrated knowledge in designing, modeling, testing, and flying 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.