Job opportunities


Senior Instrumentation & Controls Engineer



Alameda, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2022
The Company
Astra’s mission is to Improve Life on Earth from Space® by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Today, Astra offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch dedicated orbital launch services of any operational launch provider in the world, and one of the industry’s first flight-proven electric propulsion systems for satellites, Astra Spacecraft Engine™. Astra delivered its first commercial launch to low Earth orbit in 2021, making it the fastest company in history to reach this milestone, just five years after it was founded in 2016. Astra (NASDAQ: ASTR) was the first space launch company to be publicly traded on Nasdaq.
The Team
The Ground Systems Development Team focuses on the design, fabrication and deployment of automated test and control systems across the programs and products that Astra builds. We set the standard for the hardware and software that is used to qualify, test and control the products that launch our rockets and spacecraft engines.
Our team touches all aspects of the launch and/or spacecraft systems from the development of custom test equipment used during acceptance and qualification testing to the design of custom hardware products.
The Opportunity
As the Senior Instrumentation & Controls Engineer working on the Ground Systems Development team, your biggest impact will be owning and supporting our hardware and test capabilities for our custom-designed rocket and spacecraft engine products. To achieve this, you support the design, development, and execution of prototype and equipment builds for hardware. Your responsibilities will span defect detection, sensor/transducer verification, full system-level functional testing, and electronic testing. This position will report to the Manager of Test Engineering.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Design and fabrication of equipment used in the validation and end-of-line (EOL) testing of our rocket and/or spacecraft engine hardware.
  • Creation of electrical schematics for custom equipment (AutoCAD Electrical preferred).
  • Design and development of test equipment controls hardware.
  • Development of test software used to perform functional testing of custom avionics hardware (Python preferred).
  • Development of state machines to run on in-house test control software.
  • Design of custom tooling, equipment and test fixtures for board-level and sub-assembly level testing of electronics (Siemens NX preferred).
  • Design of custom fixtures and harnesses to test our rocket and ground system harnessing (RapidHarness preferred).
  • Conduct functional and reliability testing of hardware Processing data logs, identifying trends and anomalies, presenting data and forming conclusions. Identifying issues and appropriate next steps.

Why We Value You

  • 5+ years' experience as a controls engineer, or similar field
  • Advanced experience with control systems or process automation including: *Commercial SCADA control system packages and PLCs such as LabView, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, and/or Modicon. *Design and implementing of system hardware and software. *Field instruments such as thermocouples, valves, pumps, interlocks, flowmeters, furnaces, power supplies, and associated field wiring. *Creatively apply engineering principles and theories to solve technical problems
  • Experience with industrial schematic capture tools
  • Experience designing test fixtures for high mix, low volume manufacturing environments
  • Familiarity with hardware development life cycle, reliability, and compliance testing
  • Hands-on experience with complex electrical or electro-mechanical systems
  • Familiar with test equipment and measurement techniques used to verify and validate product requirements (extensive understanding of instrumentation, interfaces and sensors including DMMs, DAQs, power supplies, oscilloscopes, DIO, GPIB, USB, RS- 422, VISA, UDP, SPI, switch technologies and topologies, accelerometers, RTDs, thermocouples, etc.)
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in an engineering discipline

Desired Multipliers

  • Experience working with PLCs (AB, Siemens, Beckhoff)
  • Familiarity with space systems
  • Familiarity with vacuum systems
  • Experience with soldering and crimping wiring harnesses
  • Self-guidance and the ability to interpret test results and design new tests
  • The desire and willingness to suggest design improvements based on test results, and to take ownership of your work -- this will be YOUR hardware going to space!
  • Experience with PCBA design (Altium preferred)
ITAR Requirements: This position requires compliance with U.S. Government space technology trade restrictions, specifically the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and additional regulations governing satellite, launch vehicle, missile, and other related technologies. All jobs restricted by these regulations will be contingent upon the applicant’s status as a documented U.S. Person or their ability to receive a trade license from the cognizant government agency; in addition to any required company background checks and in compliance with applicable U.S. and California laws. Similarly, positions requiring the ability to work on government contracts or a security clearance are also contingent upon the applicants ability to receive the appropriate clearance and be allowed to work on U.S. government contracts.
You do not need to match every listed expectation to apply for this position. Here at Astra, we know that diverse perspectives foster the innovation we need to be successful, and we are committed to building a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.
San Francisco Applicants: Astra will consider applicants with arrest and conviction records (criminal histories) in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.