Disability Connect
Team Lead - In-Space Propulsion

Team Lead - In-Space Propulsion

companyRocket Lab
locationAuckland, New Zealand
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Full Time

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is a vertically integrated provider of small launch services, satellites, and spacecraft components. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. Our team is over 1,500 people strong and we’re adding to it every week. Collaboration is at our core – every idea is heard, and everyone makes a difference. Teams are nimble, decisions are made quickly, and we are action oriented.

While other companies talk about it, we do it!

About the team

The In-Space Propulsion team (ISP) is one of three teams responsible for developing and delivering qualified, flight-ready space vehicle propulsion systems. The other two teams are responsible for spacecraft fluids systems and propulsion system testing, though there is significant overlap and strong collaboration between the three. 

The ISP team takes on system-level and component-level ownership, mostly developed in-house from mission requirement through to integration and beyond, including pre-launch, launch, and on orbit operations support. Examples of past work include the Curie and HyperCurie engines, and currently the team is working on the whole propulsion system for ESCAPADE, a NASA science mission to Mars.  

The team consists of development engineers with a range of experience level and skill sets. Generally, each engineer is expected to be capable of owning a component or system through its development lifecycle and production implementation. This means that the skillset of the team spans systems engineering, design, build, and test, though individuals may have their specializations. The team works hands-on, often alongside technicians, with development, qualification, and flight hardware. Team members interface regularly with stakeholders across the company, including GNC, Manufacturing Engineering, Production, Flight Software, Analysis, and others. 

Key responsibilities

The Team Lead – In Space Propulsion, is responsible for:

  • Leadership and management of individual team members and projects across multiple programs 
  • Upholding high company standards for best practice and quality of work 
  • Technical problem solving, review, and guidance for the team 
  • Making escalated decisions and solving team/company challenges through guidance and resource allocation of direct reports 
  • Managing technical risk within the scope of immediate team 
  • Communicating effectively with leadership and other teams 
  • Planning including staffing and budgetary estimation 
  • Capturing and refining or potentially defining processes that are important to the team’s work and performance 
  • Managing and improving interfaces between the team and internal customers 
  • Support team members with regular 1:1s, coaching on professional development, and performance reviews 
  • Ensuring that the team and individual contributors are working in a way that is in the best interest of the Space Systems business unit and broader company 

Essential skills

  • At least 5 years of work in fast-paced development environment in aerospace or similar industries 
  • At least 1 year of experience in a formal or informal technical leadership role 
  • Strong understanding of best practices for project management, systems engineering, hardware development process, and configuration management 
  • Demonstrable ability to move efficiently through development iterations, balancing cost, quality, and timeline effectively
  • Hands-on hardware testing experience 
  • Excellent grasp of mechanical engineering fundamentals (e.g., stress, strain, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, mechanisms) 
  • Good ability to work under pressure and maintain emotional composure under stress 
  • Engineering degree 

Desired Skills

  • End-to-end rocket engine or spacecraft propulsion system development and operation program leadership 
  • Proven track record of leading a team to deliver multiple complete and successful engineering projects from concept to operation 
  • Has worked on variety of propulsion systems utilizing different storable propellants 
  • Experience with both chemical and electric propulsion 
  • Siemens NX and Teamcenter proficiency 
  • Jama or equivalent requirement management software 
  • GD&T and engineering drawings 
  • NI software and instrumentation hardware 

Rocket Lab Employee Benefits

  • The opportunity to work on innovative and ground breaking technology
  • An employee stock purchase program
  • Access to world leading experts to develop your career
  • Unlimited barista coffee, fruit, and snacks
  • Rocket Lab merchandise – T-shirts, mission patches etc.
  • Discounted health insurance with Southern Cross
  • Additional parental leave entitlements
  • A vibrant team culture with social activities throughout the year

If the above sounds like you apply now!

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.


For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations. 

Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality.  For more information on these Regulations, click here ITAR Regulations.