Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lead



Software Engineering
Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Posted on Monday, May 29, 2023

Umbra builds next-generation space systems that observe the Earth in unprecedented fidelity.

Our mission: Deliver global omniscience.

To stay ahead of climate change, geopolitical risk, and other major crises and issues, we need a global understanding of what is changing, where, and how fast. Umbra provides easy access to the highest quality commercial satellite data available, which is an indispensable tool for the growing number of organizations monitoring the Earth. We empower our customers to create the solutions that inform, inspire, and address our planet’s most pressing needs. We’re helping to create a brand new industry that has never meaningfully existed before.

We are looking for a Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lead with senior level space systems experience that spans the full range of spacecraft requirements, design, and test. The Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lead is a technically oriented position that provides both ownership and oversight of spacecraft products. An ideal candidate can fuse traditional spacecraft design philosophies with the agility and flexibility of commercial approaches, to deliver state-of-the-art capabilities and high-quality products. A recognition and emphasis on systems engineering processes that are effective in practice over theory is critical, along with a willingness to dive deep into subject matters and adapt processes as required. An ability to mentor and guide young professionals is also a prerequisite as this position will be responsible for oversight of the Systems Engineering team and have several direct reports. This position also reports to the Director of Spacecraft Operations and requires coordination with leadership across the Space Systems department.

Key Responsibilities

  • Technical oversight of spacecraft products and systems engineering practices across the Space Systems Department
  • Technical ownership and responsibility for quality of spacecraft imagery and other spacecraft products
  • Technical coordination with Flight Software, Hardware, Manufacturing and Ground Software Leads
  • Functional oversight over Systems Engineering team, managing several direct reports
  • Review and release of space systems documentation
  • Review of flight software architectural decisions and algorithms regarding their impact to flight operations
  • Ensure regulatory compliance of ground based and on-orbit operations and manage development of new license applications and modifications
  • Manage interface and relationship with third party space and ground segment operators including government, commercial and foreign entities as required
  • Participate in all product development sessions as key stakeholder
  • Participate in TEMs with partner companies
  • Guide development of system requirements, subsystem specifications, verification plans and other formal documentation

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelors and Masters degree in applicable engineering field
  • 7+ years experience in aerospace engineering
  • Experience with LEO space systems and subsystems
  • Experience with spacecraft imagery and remote sensing
  • Experience with the development of embedded software and flight software
  • Experience developing, documenting and tracking space system requirements
  • Experience with aerospace systems engineering best practices and application
  • Understanding of Agile development practices
  • Effective in providing constructive feedback to junior engineers
  • Excited to share knowledge and experience across the engineering team
  • Enthusiastic about working in a dynamic and fast-paced development environment

Desired Qualifications

  • 12+ years experience in aerospace engineering
  • 5+ years experience in spacecraft imagery analysis and/or image formation
  • Hands-on experience and fundamental knowledge of LEO space systems and subsystems
  • Understanding of software / hardware integration and system architectures
  • Lead systems engineering experience
  • Experience with modeling and simulation tools
  • Experience with Agile software development practices
  • Experience managing a team of engineers


  • Flexible Vacation / Paid Sick Time/ Family Leave
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, Life
  • 401(k) Plan with 3% non-elective employer contribution
  • Stock Options

Umbra is an Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to inclusion and diversity. We take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, Veteran status, or other legally protected characteristics.

Employment Eligibility Verification:

In compliance with federal laws, all hired persons will be required to verify their identity and eligibility to work in the United States by completing the required Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form) upon hire.

ITAR/EAR Requirements:

This position may include access to technology and/or data that is subject to U.S. export controls pursuant to ITAR and EAR. To comply with federal export controls, all persons hired must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. lawful permanent resident, refugee or asylee as defined by 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(3), or must otherwise be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or U.S.Department of Commerce as applicable.

Pay Transparency:
This job posting may span more than one career level. To provide greater transparency to candidates, we share base ranges for all job postings regardless of state. We set standard base pay ranges for all roles based on function and level benchmarked against similar stage growth companies. Final offer amounts are determined by skills, responsibilities and relevant work experience.