Space Systems Engineer (R&D Engineer 4)

What You Will Do
We are seeking a skilled professional with end-to-end experience to join our collaborative and dynamic team in the role of Space Systems Engineer. As a member of the Space Instrument Realization Group (ISR-5) and a collaborative member of project leadership team(s), your role will be to work directly with sponsors and other partners to develop complex science and national security space missions from the ground up. You will translate mission objectives into technical requirements and lead system integration efforts for advanced space systems, including satellite space vehicles. The ideal candidate is a recognized technical expert with experience in the development, testing, and operation of space systems. This position has a heavy emphasis on the iterative development of mission design, architecture, and requirements in cooperation with sponsors and customers and requires extensive customer-facing communication. The candidate will report to all levels of internal and external management on project execution and progress, including technical collaboration with industry partners. The Space Systems Engineer 4 will develop innovative techniques and approaches to meeting mission requirements and ensure the mission functionality required to deliver space instruments and capabilities. The candidate should have extensive experience initiating and leading activities across multiple engineering disciplines, setting strategic direction for an engineering/technical organization, and managing large, complex, and/or high-risk projects. The candidate should have experience solving complex problems, defining and applying industry best practices, and setting engineering standards. The Space Systems Engineer collaborates with other industry experts to develop new state-of-the-art skills and project capabilities.

The Intelligence and Space Research (ISR) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been designing, building, and operating highly innovative ground, air and space-based measurement and detection systems for nearly 60 years. We solve some of the most challenging scientific and national security problems facing the world today. Our interdisciplinary teams of engineers, technicians, and scientists work, learn, and succeed through a highly creative and dynamic R&D environment. We build, fly, operate, and analyze data from measurement systems deployed to space for verification of international nuclear treaties. We develop innovative, unique sensors, as well as ground, airborne, and space hardware/software systems for basic scientific missions, nuclear nonproliferation, space situational awareness, and remote sensing. In addition, we lead experiments on NASA missions, including the Curiosity and Perseverance Mars Rovers, Van Allen Probes, and IBEX.

On any given day, you may be called to:
  • Meet with sponsors and other partners at all levels of leadership to conceive iterative practical solutions for mission objectives in tightly constrained engineering environments.
  • Derive technical requirements from mission objectives. Evaluate technical requirement impact to overall project scope and available resources.
  • Brief leadership on project status, resource availability, risk posture, requirements burndown, and any other deliverables.
  • Collaborate with team members to brainstorm and apply innovative solutions to complex and challenging technical problems.
  • Define requirements to meet national level needs, influence strategic directions, and lead technical decision-making for large, complex projects.
  • Develop and implement project management plans for moderate to large, high-risk projects. Lead the development of scope, schedule, and budget. Define deliverables at the project or program level. Manage large, complex, and/or high-risk space projects involving multiple task capabilities and organizations.
  • Write and maintain requirement documentation and coordinate integration activities across multiple contributors and partners.
  • Lead peer review across organizations or disciplines and participate in external peer review.
  • Serves as technical resource and mentor to staff across the division.
  • Develop and implement plans for new and significant project development opportunities. Lead development of technical sections of large, complex proposals.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

Communication & Teaming:
Demonstrated ability to build effective, intellectually diverse teams and interact with internal and external networks. Interact effectively with senior-level management and sponsors. Superior written, oral, and presentation skills. Demonstrated record of fostering a mutually respectful and inclusive work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.

Technical Experience:
Expert knowledge and experience in one or more space engineering disciplines. Demonstrated ability to create and apply specialized, state-of-the-art engineering and scientific principles, techniques, methods, and tools to provide solutions for an extensive and diverse range of project deliverables. Extensive experience in troubleshooting complex system-level problems.

Systems Engineering Expertise:
Deep expertise in defining and deriving requirements for technical solutions to space instrument and/or space vehicle systems. Demonstrated ability to set standards for documentation for complex project requirements, deliverables, and changes.

Quality Engineering Experience:
Experience with quality engineering processes and best practices. Expertise in applying and creating processes and procedures that contribute to product quality and mission assurance.

Project Management:
Advanced knowledge of all aspects of project management of technical or operational work, including defining work scope, schedules, budgets, priorities, and performance milestones. Ability to direct strategic investments and guide successful completion of major programs.

Demonstrated record of commitment to safety, security, environment, and quality.

Education/Experience: Position requires a Master's Degree in Engineering, preferably from an ABET accredited institution, and 12 years of related experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and relevant experience.

Desired Qualifications:
  • Past experience developing one or more space systems from the ground up, including refining mission objectives, writing and developing iterative requirements with leadership, and assisting in the development of technical solutions based on those requirements
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate technical detail concisely to leadership teams
  • Candidate should a recognized expert in engineering best practices and project planning
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse team members to problem solve and identify solutions
  • Active Q and/or SCI clearance

Work Environment:

Work Location: The work location for this position is onsite and located in Los Alamos, NM. All work locations are at the discretion of management.

Position commitment: Regular appointment employees are required to serve a period of continuous service in their current position in order to be eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the time required, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. The position commitment for this position is 1 year.
Where You Will Work
Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:
  • PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Free basic life and disability insurance
  • Paid childbirth and parental leave
  • Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)
  • Learning opportunities and tuition assistance
  • Flexible schedules and time off (PTO and holidays)
  • Onsite gyms and wellness programs
  • Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)
Additional Details

Directive 206.2 - Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2. Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

Clearance: Q or Q/SCI (Position will be cleared to this level). Selected applicants will be subject to a background investigation conducted by or on behalf of the Federal Government, and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter. This position requires a Q clearance. and obtaining such clearance requires US Citizenship except in extremely rare circumstances. Dependent upon the position, additional authorization to access classified information may be required, which may or may not be available to dual citizens. Receipt of a Q clearance and additional access authorization ultimately is a decision of the Federal Government and not of Triad.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing. Although New Mexico and other states have legalized the use of marijuana, use and possession of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. A positive drug test for marijuana will result in termination of employment, even if the use was pre-offer.

Regular position: Term status Laboratory employees applying for regular-status positions are converted to regular status.

Internal Applicants: Regular appointment employees who have served the required period of continuous service in their current position are eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the required period of continuous service, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. Please refer to Policy Policy P701 for applicant eligibility requirements.

Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 1-505-664-6947, option 2.