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Planet Labs // commercial satellite network
San Francisco, CA    Posted: Monday, May 16, 2022
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Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, & 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, & humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company & data company all rolled into one.

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

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

We have a people-centric approach toward culture & community & we strive to iterate in a way that puts our team members first & prepares our company for growth. Join Planet & 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:  

As a Lead for the Orbits R&D team, you will lead a small team of dedicated engineers responsible for the Flight Dynamics & Mission Planning on Planets fleet of satellites. The Flight Dynamics disciplines of this team include constellation design, orbit determination, maneuver design & execution (with propulsion & differential-drag), & conjunction assessment & mitigation. Mission Planning is concerned with the scheduling of imaging & contacts for Planets Dove & SkySat constellations. The large operations research problem has a direct impact on fulfilling the business needs in an automated manner of the worlds largest heterogenous constellation of Earth Observation satellites. 

You will be responsible for leading a highly-motivated, autonomous, & resourceful team to solve complex problems like:

  • Onboard state estimation & maneuver planning for low altitude, low thrust spacecraft
  • Distributed, "real-time" scheduling systems for the world's largest constellation of high resolution Earth Observation satellites
  • Shared-resource optimization for multi-mission heterogeneous constellations

You will help with design, iteration & implementation of such systems, performing first principles technical analysis & developing systems to support the mission critical responsibilities of the team. Our team interfaces across a variety of problems, systems & organizations (external & internal). You will work across organizations to align on company objectives, create quarterly goals for the team & provide support to meet those goals. Over time, you will gain an excellent understanding of a breadth of complex systems, & will contribute to strategy & future innovations at Planet.

What You Bring:

  • Advanced degree in Aerospace Engineering, or related technical field
  • 4+ years of experience solving problems in space related industries
  • Strong background in astrodynamics / orbital mechanics
  • Experience in solving large-scale optimization problems
  • Experience working in cross-functional teams (systems, product, strategy etc.), leading design & development of internal tools/systems to achieve high-level objectives
  • Ability to context switch across multiple projects & systems
  • Strong programming background in Python/C++
  • Proficient with software engineering tools & processes (version control, code review, regression testing, debuggers, Jenkins, JIRA, agile)

What Makes You Stand Out:

  • PhD in Aerospace Engineering with 3+ years, or 6+ years of industry experience
  • Experience mentoring juniors into thriving engineers
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas/information to a wide audience (technical engineers, internal stakeholders, executives & external customers)
  • Experience leading small, high-functioning teams across multiple disciplines
  • Knowledge of State Estimation & Uncertainty Quantification
  • Experience with Geomatics or Meteorology/Cloud forecasting/modeling
  • A strong understanding of attitude determination & control systems

Benefits While Working at Planet:

  • Comprehensive Health Plan
  • Wellness program & onsite massages in specific offices
  • Flexible Time Off
  • Recognition Programs
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Learning & Tuition Reimbursement
  • Parental Leave
  • Offsites & Happy Hours
  • Volunteering Benefits

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. 

Were dedicated to helping the whole Planet, & to do that we must strive to represent all of it within each of our offices & on all of our teams. Thats why Planet is guided by an ultimate  north star of Belonging, dreaming big as we approach our ongoing work with diversity, equity & inclusion.  If this job intrigues you, but youre 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 dont just fill positions, we aspire to fulfill peoples 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 youre excited to come along for the ride. 

EEO statement:

Planet is committed to building a community where everyone belongs & we invite people from all backgrounds to apply. Planet is an equal opportunity employer, & committed to providing employment opportunities regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, childbirth & breastfeeding, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, & local laws. 


Planet is an inclusive community & we know that everyone has their own needs. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation during the interview process, please call Planet's front office at 669-214-9404 or contact your recruiter with your request. Your message will be confidential & we will be happy to assist you.

Privacy Policy: By clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this job posting, I acknowledge that I have read the Planet Data Privacy Notice for California Staff Members & Applicants, & hereby consent to the collection, processing, use, & storage of my personal information as described therein.

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