People Matter

Senior GNC Engineer

Varda Space Industries

Varda Space Industries

Other Engineering
El Segundo, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, April 2, 2021

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

As a Varda Guidance, Navigation, and Control Engineer you will optimize our existing GNC software to improve reliability, enable capabilities, and reduce operating cost. You will also perform system analyses, including simulations and Monte Carlo, to satisfy specifications and requirements and to drive system-level architectural decisions. You will own the full life cycle of GNC development at Varda, from design through to unit, hardware-in-the-loop, on-vehicle functionality, and flight testing. You will contribute to a sophisticated multi-degree of freedom aerospace simulation and test framework and develop and maintain design descriptions and supporting documentation.


  • ADCS hardware performance specification 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 space capsule
  • Develop 6 degree of freedom vehicle simulation using MATLAB/Simulink
  • Running Monte Carlo analysis to characterize performance of new features
  • Integration and testing of GNC sensors, actuators, and software in the hardware-in-the-loop environment
  • Design and implementation of ground services necessary to facilitate fully automated maneuver responsibility and maneuver scheduling decisions
  • Monitoring on-orbit system performance; troubleshooting where necessary
  • Coordination with other spacecraft operators, 3rd party agencies, and the US government

Basic Qualifications

  • B.S. degree in aerospace, mechanical, electrical engineering, physics, or related field
  • 3+ proven years of experience, or PhD with 2+ 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

  • Master's degree in engineering or physics
  • 2+ years of experience with spacecraft attitude determination and control system design
  • Experience with AGI STK, FreeFlyer, or similar tools
  • 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

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.