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Sr. / Principal Engineer: Guidance Navigation Control – Space / Satellite Systems (Gilbert, AZ or Dulles, VA)

Requisition ID: R10107459

  • CategoryCategory: Engineering
  • LocationLocation: Dulles, VA, USA
  • Citizenship RequirementsCitizenship Required: United States Citizenship
  • Security Clearance TypeClearance Type: None
  • TelecommuteTelecommute: Yes-May consider hybrid teleworking for this position
  • ShiftShift: 1st Shift (United States of America)
  • Travel RequirementsTravel Required: Yes, 10% of the Time
  • Relocation AssistanceRelocation Assistance: Relocation assistance may be available
  • Number of Positions AvailablePositions Available: 2

At Northrop Grumman, our employees have incredible opportunities to work on revolutionary systems that impact people's lives around the world today, and for generations to come. Our pioneering and inventive spirit has enabled us to be at the forefront of many technological advancements in our nation's history - from the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean, to stealth bombers, to landing on the moon. We look for people who have bold new ideas, courage and a pioneering spirit to join forces to invent the future, and have fun along the way. Our culture thrives on intellectual curiosity, cognitive diversity and bringing your whole self to work — and we have an insatiable drive to do what others think is impossible. Our employees are not only part of history, they're making history.

We have an opening for a Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Engineer to join our team of qualified, diverse individuals in the Tactical Space organization. This position will be located in Dulles, Virginia or Gilbert, Arizona.

GNC is designing, building, and testing spacecraft subsystems for a mix of DoD, NASA, and commercial customers. We are leaders in innovative solutions to the rapidly growing/evolving fields of space based autonomous rendezvous and docking and rapid design/production of small satellites. We are seeking a highly talented and ambitious Engineer to take responsibility for the GNC solutions with an emphasis on Rendezvous and Proximity Operations. Applications include the groundbreaking Mission Robotic Vehicle, Mission Extension Pod, and DoD programs which involve enhanced capabilities such as mission life extension services, in-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection, and relocation of client spacecraft.

The Spacecraft GNC Engineer will work within the GNC subsystem team and is expected to perform a combination of duties that include:

  • Design and analyze relative guidance solutions for Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO)
  • Design, analyze, and tune sequential filters (e.g. Kalman filters) for relative navigation applications
  • Design, develop, test, and verify flight algorithms for the GNC subsystem and support flight software qualification testing
  • Develop and test GNC Simulation and Spacecraft Flight Software using C/C++ and MATLAB/Simulink
  • Analyze and test the spacecraft GNC subsystem performance using simulations and other analytic tools
  • Perform analysis to support early design phase concept development including actuator sizing and placement, sensor selection and placement, attitude and position guidance, rendezvous, proximity operations and docking analyses, and predicted performance assessments
  • Develop simulation models for sensors (e.g. star tracker, rate gyro, accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, sun sensors, optical sensors, LIDAR, laser range finders), actuators (e.g. reaction wheel, torque bar, thruster, CMG), system dynamics (e.g. rigid body, multi-body, orbit mechanics, flexible models, propellant slosh), and the space environment (e.g. atmospheric, solar radiation pressure, third-body gravity, geopotential)
  • Communication is a key element of your role and all GNC engineers are expected to:
  • Apply engineering principles, industry standards, company process, and knowledge of vehicle dynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, classical/modern control, and estimation theory to perform tasks to advanced program/project goals
  • Document designs, analysis, and test results and create presentation materials
  • Present designs, analysis, and test results to internal and external customers
  • Work well within small- to medium-sized groups

This position can be filled at the Principal or Sr. Principal level.

Basic Qualifications:

Sr. Principal Engineer:

  • BS Degree in a STEM field (ideally Engineering, Physics, or Math) with at least 9 years of experience (7 years with Masters, or 4 years with Ph.D).  Experience can be considered in lieu of degree
  • Direct spacecraft/satellite GNC experience performing design, analysis, HW and I&T, or (possibly) flight operations.
  • Experience with RPO algorithms, practices and planning strategies
  • US Citizenship is required as well as the ability to obtain a DOD Clearance

Principal Engineer:

  • BS Degree in a STEM field (ideally Engineering, Physics, or Math) with at least 5 years of experience (3 years with Masters, or 0 years with Ph.D). Experience can be considered in lieu of degree
  • Direct spacecraft/satellite GNC experience performing design, analysis, HW and I&T, or (possibly) flight operations
  • US Citizenship is required as well as the ability to obtain a DOD Clearance

Preferred Qualifications:

  • MS or PhD degree in engineering, physics, or math
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.25
  • Proficiency in MATLAB/Simulink and C/C++
  • Experience in centroid tracking, image processing, and RPO computer vision
  • Experience with RPO practices and strategies
  • Experience implementing GNC algorithms on embedded systems
  • Prior work experience in related field
  • Proficiency in Microsoft office suite, version control tools such as SVN or Git
  • Experience with Model Based Systems engineering, digital transformation tools such as the Atlassian suite.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving abilities
  • Active TS/SCI Clearance

The Northrop Grumman Tactical Space Division is a strategic partner specializing in commercial and classified partnerships with the design, delivery, operation and sustainment of satellites and human spacecraft.  We support science and space exploration through our various partnerships, including NASA’s Artemis program with the goal to return humans to the Moon in 2024 and the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) program that has discovered more than twenty confirmed plants.  Recognized as an industry leader, we also develop highly specialized space and satellite components. 

Northrop Grumman offers a competitive and robust benefits program.

As a full-time employee of Northrop Grumman, you are eligible for our robust benefits package including:


Dental & Vision coverage


Educational Assistance

Life Insurance

Employee Assistance Programs & Work/Life Solutions

Paid Time Off

Health & Wellness Resources

Employee Discounts

Flexible Schedules (For example the ability to work a 9/80 work schedule, which allows an employee to work a nine-hour day Monday through Thursday and take every other Friday off of work)

For more details please visit our total rewards site or chat with one of our recruiters to learn more.





Space System

NoVASpace /  AZSpace






Salary Range: $90,400 USD - $135,600 USD
Salary Range 2: $129,700 USD - $194,500 USD

Employees may be eligible for a discretionary bonus in addition to base pay. Annual bonuses are designed to reward individual contributions as well as allow employees to share in company results. Employees in Vice President or Director positions may be eligible for Long Term Incentives. In addition, Northrop Grumman provides a variety of benefits including health insurance coverage, life and disability insurance, savings plan, Company paid holidays and paid time off (PTO) for vacation and/or personal business.

The health and safety of our employees and their families is a top priority. The company encourages employees to remain up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. U.S. Northrop Grumman employees may be required, in the future, to be vaccinated or have an approved disability/medical or religious accommodation, pursuant to future court decisions and/or government action on the currently stayed federal contractor vaccine mandate under Executive Order 14042

Northrop Grumman is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, making decisions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected class. For our complete EEO/AA and Pay Transparency statement, please visit U.S. Citizenship is required for most positions.

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What's great about
Northrop Grumman

  1. Be part of a culture that thrives on intellectual curiosity, cognitive diversity and bringing your whole self to work.
  2. Use your skills to build and deliver innovative tech solutions that protect the world and shape a better future.
  3. Enjoy benefits like work-life balance, education assistance and paid time off.

Did you know?

Northrop Grumman leads the industry team for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most complex and powerful space telescope ever built. Launched in December 2021, the telescope incorporates innovative design, advanced technology, and groundbreaking engineering, and will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.