Lead Propulsion Test Engineer

Lead Propulsion Test Engineer

companyRocket Lab
locationJohn C. Stennis Space Center, MS, USA
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Full Time


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!


Neutron is a medium lift launch vehicle capable of delivering the mega constellations of tomorrow, high assurance payloads, and human spaceflight. As a highly reusable launch platform, Neutron will deliver a highly cost-effective and reliable launch solution leveraging Rocket Lab’s proven execution history with the Electron program. If you’re interested in joining a high performing team, pushing the boundaries with a clean sheet development of re-usable liquid launch vehicle, this is your opportunity!


As the Lead Propulsion Test Engineer you will be responsible for leading the team and engineering work for our Archimedes engine testing and ensuring we achieve functional requirements meet our desired quality and schedule. You will have the scope to direct the team's engineering efforts across multiple disciplines in the best interest of the company to ensure Archimedes success. 


  • Serve as the Manager of the team of engineers and technicians who run liquid rocket engine propulsion tests
  • Design, construct, operate and maintain propulsion test facilities
  • Generate and execute detailed test procedures
  • Review and interpret test data for facility health and engine performance
  • Specify and procure components and propellants
  • Manage vendors and subcontractors
  • Plan and oversee facility schedule
  • Support requirements development in conjunction with the propulsion design team to establish needs for test sequencing
  • Establish requirements for new facility capability
  • Contribute to configuration management, quality, cost, and process control
  • Be an advocate for safety of the test team and the test stand operations


  • 8+ years industry experience
  • Engineering degree
  • Experience from previous employment that meets engineering experience title and skills
  • Demonstrated skills within the rocket propulsion industry where applicable to deliver required company outcomes
  • Proven track record of leading a team to deliver multiple complete and successful engineering projects from conception to operation
  • Broad experience in propulsion testing and operations that may include one or more of the following:
    • Structural design and analysis
    • Cryogenics systems design
    • High pressure gas systems design
    • High fidelity analytical modelling including dynamic fluid models


  • Masters or PhD in an engineering discipline
  • Direct experience with liquid natural gas or liquid methane as a rocket propellant
  • Demonstrated excellence in leading a test program from concept to completion
  • Background of technical expertise in sub-component to full flight system testing
  • Software development for data acquisition and control systems
  • Working knowledge of complex IT systems associated with propulsion testing


  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus.   
  • Regularly required to sit, use hands and fingers, operate computer keyboard and controls, and communicate verbally and in writing.  
  • Must be physically able to commute to buildings 
  • Occasional exposure to dust, fumes and moderate levels of noise. 


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.


For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations. 

Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality.  For more information on these Regulations, click here ITAR Regulations.