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Sr. Principal Spacecraft Payload Engineering Lead – Top Secret Clearance Required (Satellite/Space Systems)

Requisition ID: R10094212

  • CategoryCategory: Engineering
  • Location Location: Gilbert, AZ, USA   |  El Segundo, CA, USA  |  Dulles, VA, USA +2 more
  • Citizenship RequirementsCitizenship Required: United States Citizenship
  • Security Clearance TypeClearance Type: Top Secret
  • TelecommuteTelecommute: No- Teleworking not available 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: 1

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.

Northrop Grumman Space Systems is seeking a Spacecraft Payload Engineering Lead to support the ESPAStar product line.

ESPAStar is a highly capable and dynamic line of spacecraft that are referred to as the “freight train to space”. The missions are configured in a product line approach, with the foundation of each program being an ESPAStar that serves as a hosting platform for payloads – sometimes hosting a total of 12-20 individual payloads on a single mission! Every mission has a unique payload loadout, and every payload brings new missions, new technologies, and new customers. Come join our team and help us keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible!

The specific responsibilities of the Spacecraft Payload Engineering Lead is to manage a team of engineers and lead the technical execution of the entire payload manifest associated with their mission specific ESPAStar. Tasking includes development of payload specific accommodation documents, interface control documents (ICDs), support to weekly interface meetings, supervise payload technical design accommodations, lead payload testing during integration & test campaigns, and support on-orbit payload operations.

This position can be located in one of the following sites Gilbert, AZ, Dulles, VA or El Segundo, CA.

More information about the unique and highly capable ESPAStar platform can be found here:

Job Responsibilities:

  • Drive payload technical execution in accordance with Northrop Grumman Systems Engineering processes and best practices

  • Be self-directed while leveraging your technical and leadership skills to help bring payload and platform Interfaces together to produce a spacecraft meeting contractual and mission requirements

  • Function as the primary payload interface for customers, program management, product line engineering leadership, mission assurance, subsystem engineering, and launch vehicle integration teams

  • Develop payload specific Interface control documents governing all mechanical, electrical, and functional interfaces to the host ESPAStar

  • Recognize and mitigate payload related technical issues and risks

  • Play a key role in major program milestone and readiness reviews

  • Working with our customers, aid in the development of operational mission scenarios and payload concepts of operations

  • Support the planning, design, and execution of testing strategies to exercise payload functionality, measure performance, and verify survivability in the extreme launch and space environments

  • Directly support the Launch and On-orbit operations campaign for your designated mission at the launch site and Mission Operations Center

  • Author and provide input to major program data products and other deliverables

  • Assist process improvement initiatives, and incorporate lessons learned to continue to strengthen the ESPAStar product line

  • Lead by example and be willing to mentor, coach, train, guide, direct and advise junior staff

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) discipline and 9+ years of engineering experience OR Master’s Degree in a STEM discipline and 7+ years of engineering experience OR PhD Degree in a STEM discipline and 5+ years of engineering experience

  • Have a strong background in systems engineering to include architectural studies, technical baseline definition, requirements & interface management, hardware/software integration, test planning & execution, or operational support

  • Possess strong leadership qualities, as well as strong verbal and written communication skills

  • Prior experience in technical or project leadership positions

  • Must have U.S. Citizenship with active Top Secret Clearance with the ability to obtain SCI/SSBI

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in engineering, physics, or computer science

  • Active Top Secret clearance with SCI/SSBI

  • Recognized systems engineering subject matter expert (SME)

  • Experience working on aircraft or spacecraft systems

  • Experience in system architecture, CONOPs development, or model-based system engineering

  • Strong People and Technical Leadership Skills

  • Experience with various technical tools such as MATLAB, STK, CORE, DOORS, or CAMEO

  • Experience in any of the following areas is also desired:  orbital mechanics, orbital debris modeling, spacecraft attitude control, power systems and modeling, avionics or digital electronics design, risk analysis, optics, communications , rocket propulsion, thermal engineering, or spacecraft integration and testing

  • Experience with Mission Operations for spacecraft

  • Knowledge of Launch Vehicles, System Safety, System Reliability, Contamination Control, EMI, Space Environments (Radiation, Surface Charging, etc.), and Human Factors is also desired.

  • Experience and/or training in Earned Value Management Systems


This position reports to Gilbert, AZ, USA, however, you are able to work from any of the additional 2 locations listed above.

Salary Range: $112,000 USD - $168,000 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.