Summer Internship - Instruments

Job Details

Job ID: 11507

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 have exciting summer internship opportunities in our Instruments Division. The Instruments Division provides engineering and technology leadership in the development of scientific instruments to explore the Earth, planets, and the cosmos beyond. Applications include ground based, airborne, sub-orbital, and space-based instruments and systems. Division capabilities range from instrument conceptual design through implementation and deployment. Our expertise spans all aspects of instrument systems and many technical disciplines including systems engineering; technology research, development and infusion; science and instrument team collaboration; and instrument flight and ground hardware and software.

Instrument Division engineering and research jobs focus on developing observational instruments and enabling technology for NASA/JPL’s Earth, planetary and astrophysics missions. Examples of these include:

  • High-contrast imaging systems like coronagraphs and starshades, used in the search for and characterization of planets around other stars
  • High-performance spectrometers to measure the concentrations and spatial variations of greenhouse gases and thus provide greater insight into their effects on Earth’s climate
  • In-situ and remote sensing instruments, ranging from micro X-ray fluorescence instruments to imaging visible and infrared spectrometers, to explore the geochemistry of and search for life on other bodies in our solar system, notably Mars and Europa; and
  • Sensing and control systems for large segmented telescopes, e.g. the space-based James Webb Space Telescope and ground-based Thirty Meter Telescope, that represent the next generation tools for our exploration of the cosmos

These projects afford opportunities for engineers and scientists to:

  • Participate in all phases of the development of instruments from ideas sketched on napkins to the operation of instruments in orbit. This entails design, build, assembly, test and operation of instruments used to conduct a breadth of investigations in planetary science, astrophysics, Earth science, and human exploration from platforms that include orbiting spacecraft, entry probes, landers, rovers, piloted aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, balloons and ground-based systems.
  • Work with unique equipment for state-of-the-art research in core areas that JPL scientists and collaborators can utilize and customize for their applications. This includes work in JPL’s Microdevices Laboratory, a center for wide-ranging technology research and flight sensor development. MDL is chartered to enable new and better instruments and mission capabilities for innovative NASA and Department of Defense space missions and to enhance U.S. competitiveness worldwide.
  • Share what they have done and learned with the technical community, public, friends and family as NASA and JPL seek to inspire and educate current and future generations

In your role as a summer intern, you will be a valued and contributing member of the teams that conceptualize, design, develop and deliver the scientific instruments and systems that are key to exploring and better understanding our own world, our solar system and the far reaches of the universe.


  • Enrolled in a undergraduate or graduate program pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD graduating December 2020 or later
  • Minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale or equivalent.
  • Studying Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Optical Engineering, or related major.
  • Availability to work full-time for 10 to 12 weeks during the summer of 2020
  • Able to work part-time during school (at least 8hrs per week) preferred

Work Authorization

U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

Connect with Us

Not ready to apply? Connect with us for general consideration.

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.

JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. For more information about "EEO is the Law" click here: eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available at

If you are interested in applying for employment with Jet Propulsion Laboratory and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, contact our Human Resources department at (818) 354-5150 or via email at

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