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Sierra Nevada Corporation | SNC Sierra Nevada Corporation | SNC

Principal EO/IR Payload System Engineer

  •  Posted 30+ Days Ago
  •   Full time
  •  Louisville, CO
  •  R0008375

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems Business Area develops high performance, innovative components and systems that are changing how we reach, explore, and utilize space. Our capabilities range from spacecraft actuators that power the Mars rovers, to life sustaining technologies that enable humans to live and work in space, and from microsatellites controlled by the Internet to Dream Chaser®, a winged and piloted orbital commercial spacecraft. SNC's Space Systems products innovate, enable and perform.

Job Description

SNC is seeking an experienced and energetic engineering professional to oversee development of a Space-based Electro-Optical EO payload in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The ideal candidate will be a good decision maker that has experience in military EO/IR Payloads, managing programs, and leading/coordinating the engineering activities of others. Good interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with customers are also required. A successful candidate exercises considerable latitude in determining objectives, approaches to assignments, and is interested in leadership role in a growing market.  Job description also includes, but is not limited to:

  • Provides engineering expertise and oversight of vendor-provided EO/IR payloads
  • Works closely with systems and design engineers to rapidly assess conceptual designs, develop solutions, and establish system requirements and performance parameters
  • Contributes to subsystem architecture definition through identification and sizing of components and proposing advanced technology pursuits
  • Develops major EO system level interfaces, system requirements, and verification as documented in specifications, ICDs, and verification plans
  • Communicates results to program management and customers
  • Mentors and technically assists other engineers


The successful candidate will be an experienced Systems Engineer with experience in the design, development and operation of optical space hardware and/or payloads for government and defense applications. This position requires some background in the design of space hardware, to include techniques for addressing impact of operating in the space environment, and testing for compliance with space system requirements. Additional background in the fundamentals of hardware design and/or program team lead responsible for developing and demonstrating next generation EO/IR sensors and systems preferred. Specific job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Manages technical activities for development, test, and fielding of vendor-provided spaceflight EO/IR payloads. Provide system engineering support and advice for team integration on new and existing platforms when required at system level for cost/schedule/ performance impacts
  • Interfaces with all aspects of the team to resolve system engineering issues and actions
  • Tracks user requirements and their translation into system requirements and specifications
  • Demonstrates a working knowledge of optical, electro-mechanical, and software systems and their application in a space operational environment
  • Provides expertise and direction in the development or modification of new capabilities
  • Provides system engineering support and advice for payload to spacecraft integration when required
  • Evaluates project initiatives, designs, and design changes at the system level for cost/schedule/performance impacts; interfaces with all members of a multi-disciplinary product team to resolve system engineering issues and actions
  • Identifies system requirements and works with other engineers and staff to oversee system design, development, integration, and product verification testing at the component and system level
  • Establishes and maintains processes for configuration management of systems; develops and documents system architecture, including relevant user cases
  • Interfaces with host spacecraft Program Manager and payload vendors to ensure requirements are met and expected availability and performance levels are achieved
  • Recommends future direction or projects to management
  • Originates and delivers technical and program briefs to government and contractor personnel at all levels
  • Responsible for providing technical support and system engineering assistance to other elements at the direction of the Program Manager
  • Gathers documentation to support test activities, develops and implements technical test plans
  • Ensures Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) are addressed and assesses the performance of the systems by developing Measures of Performance and Measures of Effectiveness that are used for traceability to ensure specified thresholds stipulated in the requirements documents are met
  • Responsible for reviewing Test and Evaluation Master Plans (TEMPs), conducting Test Readiness Review (TRR) briefs, requesting cost estimates, scheduling tests, and dealing with budget issues that pertain to the systems being tested
  • Plans and oversees payload Systems Engineering reviews (SRR, PDR, CDR, TRR, etc.) and test events for program
  • Provides subject matter expertise and technical support for proof-of-concept, developmental test, operational tests, and factory & acceptance tests
  • Supports testing and test planning of EO/IR Payloads systems across the full range of the Acquisition life cycle.


  • A bachelor's degree in a related area and a minimum of 15 years of engineering experience in the field or in a related area
  • Master's or higher degree in engineering or scientific field preferred
  • Lead experience in designing, testing and deploying a space payload
  • Significant understanding of the space environment
  • Significant experience generating detailed technical documentation
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, collaborative team environment
  • Demonstrated ability as a team player to build consensus among peers and build effective relationships with team members
  • EO/IR payload systems architecture knowledge and integrated payload design expertise
  • EO/IR systems expertise including infrared systems, radiometric analyses, performance calibration methods and measurements
  • Experience with the full systems engineering life-cycle to include requirements definition, architecture, detailed design, test, deployment, and training
  • Experience defining component-, subsystem-, and system-level requirements
  • Experience crafting technical strategies, approaches, or architectures supporting business development and program growth efforts
  • Experience in assuming responsibilities outside the scope of defined tasking
  • Experience building positive customer relationships
  • Experience working in multi-functional teams
  • Active SCI clearance highly preferred but not required


  • This position requires active Top Secret, with SCI U.S. Security Clearance. U.S. Citizenship status is required as this position needs an active U.S. Security Clearance for employment. Non-US citizens may not be eligible to obtain a security clearance.  The Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO), an agency of the Department of Defense, handles and adjudicates the security clearance process. Security clearance factors include, but are not limited to, allegiance to the US, foreign influence, foreign preference, criminal conduct, security violations and drug involvement.
  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.