Space Systems Engineer

  • Planet
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Aug 13, 2020

Job Description

Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites in history. This constellation delivers an unprecedented dataset of empirical information via a revolutionary cloud-based platform to authoritative figures in commercial, environmental, and humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company and data company all rolled into one.

Customers and users across the globe use Planet's data to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world’s toughest obstacles.

As we control every component of hardware design, manufacturing, data processing, and software engineering, our office is a truly inspiring mix of experts from a variety of domains.

We have a people-centric approach toward culture and community and we strive to iterate in a way that puts our team members first and prepares our company for growth. Join Planet and be a part of our mission to change the way people see the world.

Planet is headquartered in San Francisco, California, Earth.

About the Role:  

Planet efficiently and safely operates several medium and high resolution spacecraft constellations. Managing these valuable assets is a highly technical feat and the teams that do so consist of skilled engineers from a variety of backgrounds, having collectively worked on more than 30 space missions. Together, these teams support spacecraft commissioning and anomaly resolution, maintaining uptime and fleet performance, lead and execute on-orbit experiments and special activities, analyze spacecraft data, and develop tools and processes to support efficient multi-mission operations. 

Our goal is to minimize manual operator oversight, so a large part of this role will be automating ongoing mission operations and optimizing workflows. You can anticipate working in a close collaborative environment, frequently communicating with hardware and software experts to understand anomalies, develop procedures and shape the way we do operations. Our team is the first to detect and triage anomalous behavior, therefore an understanding of how each spacecraft subsystem relates to one another is important. Expect to be in the middle of it all, as the work of the Mission Ops team is essential to Planet’s success. 

The Responsibilities:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of a spacecraft bus, and how it is operated
  • Develop automated responses and processes for any manual operations
  • Build and edit python scripts to carry out activities on a spacecraft
  • Monitor all spacecraft for proper operation, responding to all off-nominal contingencies (telemetry limit violations, configuration and status changes, subsystem and operational anomalies, etc)
  • Participate in on-call rotation in support of spacecraft uptime

What You Bring:

  • Bachelor's Degree in an Engineering, Software, or Science related field from an accredited college or technical school
  • Fundamental understanding of aerospace, automotive, device or other fleet / distributed systems
  • Experience with Python scripting, PSQL (or SQL equivalent), command line interface, and Git version control
  • Demonstrable experience in exploratory data analysis and visualization
  • Strong troubleshooting, analytical skills and the enthusiasm to dig down rabbit holes to debug issues
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to triage, prioritize, and execute several independent tasks in an operational environment
  • Problem solving oriented and self starter attitude

What Makes You Stand Out:

  • Previous satellite operations, space mission experience or space systems integration & test experience  
  • Experience in process automation or workflow management (design, software development, or business related)
  • Experience in risk assessment/management, failure investigation and root cause methodologies
  • Experience using project management tools and issue trackers



Some Press About Us: 

Our CEO, Will Marshall featured on TED and featured in a Planet Blog

“Planet: Bringing Space Back Down to Earth”

Tiny, privately owned satellites are changing how we view the Earth features in NBC News

“Planet And Rocket Lab Create Mission Patch To Honor Women In Aerospace” —Planet Blog

Why we care so much about Belonging. 

We’re dedicated to helping the whole Planet, and to do that we must strive to represent all of it within each of our offices and on all of our teams. That’s why Planet is guided by an ultimate  north star of Belonging, dreaming big as we approach our ongoing work with diversity, equity and inclusion.  If this job intrigues you, but you’re thinking you might not have all the qualifications, please... do apply!  At Planet, we are looking for well-rounded people from around the world who can contribute to more ways than just what is listed in this job description.  We don’t just fill positions, we aspire to fulfill people’s careers, most excited about folks who are motivated by our underlying humanitarian efforts.  We are a few orbits around the sun before we get to where we want to be, so we hope you’re excited to come along for the ride. 

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