Mission Design Engineer

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.


Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


Unique opportunity is in the JPL Inner Planet Mission Analysis Group to perform mission design and trajectory analysis for missions to the Earth, Moon, Mars, and more. You will be reporting administratively to the Group Supervisor and programmatically to the Mission Design Manager for Special Programs, but you will have the opportunity to support other JPL projects and tasks as well.

As a JPL Mission Design Engineer, you will plan, design, implement, verify, and operate the flight path for spacecraft, launch vehicles, and atmospheric entry vehicles. You will perform system engineering, mission design, and trajectory analysis for various mission studies including: powered and coast phases of flight in earth orbit as well as interplanetary missions; orbit insertion and entry, descent and landing; orbit design/operations/maintenance and spacecraft disposal; precision formation flying, autonomous rendezvous and docking, and small body proximity operations. Mission Design functions include mission analysis, trajectory design, launch vehicle performance analysis and targeting specifications, spacecraft requirements development, planetary quarantine analysis, analysis of aerodynamic effects and landing site dispersions, and consumables and resource utilization.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, or related technical discipline with typically a minimum of 6 years of related experience; or a Master’s degree in similar disciplines with a minimum of 4 years of related experience; or Ph.D. in similar disciplines with a minimum of 2 years related experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply wide-ranging experience and advanced knowledge in Mission/Trajectory Design to perform highly complex trade studies activities.
  • Ability to evaluate technologies and requirements to develop highly complex Mission Design analysis tools to fulfill project needs.
  • Demonstrated excellent communication skills (both oral and written) with the ability to present technical results to a wide audience.
  • Ability to use creativity and innovation to address critical issues.

Must be a U.S. Citizen with an active Top Secret (TS) clearance based upon Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) within a 5 year scope and must be approved for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) accesses.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated Mission Design related technical leadership skills.
  • Extensive understanding of advanced principles, theories, concepts, and techniques in Mission Design to make contributions to the development of new theories and methods.
  • Highly energized, self-motivated, multi-tasking, organized, detail oriented, with the ability to work on assignments that are complex in nature using considerable practical judgment, making recommendations, managing conflicting schedules, and resolving problems.

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JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.

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Written requests may be mailed to: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Attention: Staffing and Employment Programs, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1720C, Pasadena, CA 91109