Ground System Engineer IV

Job Details

Job ID: 11322

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.




We invite you to join the Communications Ground Systems Section (333) within the DSN Systems Engineering Group (333F). In this role, you will work with and support an international team of individuals who implement, operate, monitor and deploy high-power RF transmitter, transmission systems, low/high voltage power supplies for Deep-Space (planetary) spacecraft and Near-Earth spacecraft tracking. We seek a self–motivated individual that can work independently and within a team environment, be able to strategically lead teams, and initiate and lead tasks that need to be performed across a spectrum of disciplines.


As the Uplink Systems Engineer, you will oversee the technical aspects of personnel tasked with maintaining operation of the DSN’s worldwide network of ground-based antennas, specifically with a focus on earth to mission communications. Your leadership and technical expertise will be integral to the success of the DSN. Specifically, you will be responsible for:

  • Leading system engineering for the Deep Space Network’s (DSN) Uplink Service (commanding and ranging), which provides technical contributions for all system and service architecture updates, requirements updates and operations performance issues.
  • Contributing to the operation, maintenance, implementation, and upgrades to DSN uplink systems.
  • Supporting standard DSN activities (cost, design, test and delivery reviews).
  • Leading and overseeing the deployment of technical solutions to DSN issues by working with multi-disciplinary teams implemented by JPL's DSN staff (JPL engineering, Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España (ISDEFE) who manage the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) who manage the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, and Peraton who manage both the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex and the DSN Test Facilities).
  • Leading the long-standing Uplink Corrective Action Team, which addresses all uplink issues in the DSN. Work closely with DSN Service Management and Flight Project end users to identify and interpret uplink system performance, existing and new requirements and their impacts on the uplink systems.
  • Interacting with the uplink controller software and remote control software.
  • Working with program management at JPL to negotiate system down times for maintenance and upgrade needs.
  • Helping to determine needed resources for DSN uplink maintenance and upgrade activities including documentation.
  • Maintaining a safe working environment and a strong customer focus.
  • Responsible for continuous process improvement, setting goals and ensuring that they are achieved.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Physical Sciences, or Mathematics with a minimum of 9 years of professional experience Master’s degree in similar disciplines with a minimum of 7 years of related experience; or PhD in similar disciplines with a minimum of 5 years related experience.
  • Multidisciplinary technical background including expertise in ground-based uplink design & test standards and practices.
  • Familiarity with the principle transmitter system components/technologies (amplifiers, receivers, antennas, etc.), their functions, interfaces and integration & test techniques. Demonstrated leadership and team-building skills.
  • Familiarity with uplink signal coding standards (CCSDS, etc).
  • Deep understanding and working knowledge of one or more of the following:
    • Klystrons, Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers and other vacuum electronic microwave amplifiers used in high-power ground transmitters.
    • High Voltage Power supplies and an understanding of High Voltage breakdown in waveguide (arc detection) at high RF power.
    • System level considerations for ground to space communications, including command signal protocols.
    • Effects of antenna designs and performance on uplink communications.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in writing and verbally and a high comfort level in presenting technical results.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact cooperatively with multiple levels of technical and program management and the technical workforce.
  • Organized, inquisitive, results oriented self-starter, who can see both the broad picture and dive down into detailed problem analysis as needed.
  • Available for occasional domestic and foreign travel.
  • US Citizen.


Preferred Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to perform and lead teams in Ground-based Antenna microwave systems design, with specific emphasis on uplink systems, integration and test for flight projects and/or key research and development tasks for internal and external customers.
  • Familiarity with and knowledge of flight Telecom Systems in order to be able to debug ground and spacecraft communications subtle performance related issues
  • Demonstrated ability to work on and lead multi-disciplinary teams
  • Working knowledge of state of the art
    • Ground-based uplink and transmitter systems
    • RF components such as filters, switches, diplexers, arc-detectors, and circulators used in transmitter systems

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