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Lead Systems Engineer

Capella Space

Capella Space

Software Engineering
Louisville, CO, USA
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2024

Capella Space stands at the forefront of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite technology and signal intelligence. We provide customers in governments, academia, and commercial sectors with reliable information that enables unparalleled understanding of the world. Our mission is centered on delivering timely and reliable Earth imagery, supporting diverse applications in defense & intelligence, disaster response, energy, environmental monitoring and more. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, Capella Space designs, manufactures and operates an advanced constellation of SAR imaging satellites. Our market-leading SAR satellites are complemented by an unmatched data infrastructure and automated ordering and delivery platform for fast, reliable insights where and when customers need it most.

Recognized for our technological prowess, Capella Space was honored as one of the 10 most innovative companies in Space in 2023 by FASTCOMPANY. Capella Space is an internationally trusted Earth Observation data provider, working closely with the U.S. Space Systems Command, U.S. Space Force, NASA, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the Canadian Government and more to make unclassified, high-resolution SAR data more accessible.

What Makes Capella Unique?

Capella Space is a highly collaborative team environment, providing an opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the space industry, though no prior space experience is needed. We’re looking for people excited about tackling seemingly impossible challenges, learning new skills and concepts, and helping each other achieve success. Our mission and our products are meant to understand the whole world and help everyone in it - regardless of race, creed, or any other distinction. We encourage you to bring your unique perspective to help make us stronger, including applications from those who are traditionally underrepresented in tech.

About the Role & Team

We are seeking a highly skilled and experienced Lead Systems Engineer to lead our team in the design, development, and implementation of advanced spacecraft and subsystems. As the Lead Spacecraft Systems Engineer, you will play a pivotal role in defining the architectures of our next generation satellite systems and driving the success of our space missions by providing technical expertise, leadership, and strategic direction.

This is a technical leadership role on spacecraft and subsystem related projects within Capella where project resources are provided by engineering managers of various disciplines, such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or software engineering teams. This role does not currently include people management but as the company grows and expands could develop into that. This role will report into our Director of Systems and Programs.

In this role you will work closely with project teams as well as senior leadership (VPs and CTO) who set the vision for future spacecraft and subsystem capabilities

This role will sit within the Space Systems team at Capella Space. This team contains a variety of engineering disciplines that design and develop the satellite and payload systems. You will be involved with every aspect of the design of satellite and its subsystems.

Role Responsibilities

  • Lead Spacecraft & Subsystems Design: Oversee the conceptualization, trade studies, design, and development of spacecraft concepts and their subsystems, including propulsion, power, thermal, communications, avionics, and structural subsystems.
    • Managing and developing technical budgets and logical decomposition
    • Interface management
    • Technical requirements definition
    • Technology roadmap
    • Record and communicate design and design decisions
  • Technical Leadership: Provide technical guidance and leadership to multidisciplinary teams of engineers throughout the entire spacecraft development lifecycle, from initial concept to mission deployment. Provide systems engineering mentorship, best practices, and process maturation.
  • System Integration and Testing: Coordinate system integration activities and lead spacecraft testing efforts to ensure compliance with performance specifications, safety standards, and mission objectives. Define and support verification testing and design validation to enable transition to production.
  • Risk Management: Identify potential risks and technical challenges associated with spacecraft systems and develop mitigation strategies to address them effectively.
  • Collaboration: Foster collaboration and communication with internal teams, external partners, and stakeholders to ensure alignment of spacecraft systems with mission requirements and objectives.
  • Innovation and Research: Stay abreast of emerging technologies, industry trends, and best practices in spacecraft engineering and actively contribute to the development of innovative solutions and methodologies.
  • Project Management: Provide input on project timelines, budgets, and resources effectively to ensure timely delivery of spacecraft systems within scope and budget constraints.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a related field.
  • Significant hands-on experience on a small to medium sized satellite development project, ideally having been involved in at least one end-to-end satellite design-to-flight lifecycle.
  • Proven track record of at least 12+ years in spacecraft systems engineering, with progressively increasing levels of responsibility and leadership.
  • Advanced degrees appreciated but not as important as experience on relevant projects.
  • Expertise in spacecraft systems design, integration, testing, and operations, with a deep understanding of relevant technologies, methodologies, and industry standards.
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to inspire, mentor, and develop engineering teams to achieve excellence and innovation.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to effectively collaborate with cross-functional teams and stakeholders.
  • Experience in supporting project management, including budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation, with a focus on delivering high-quality results on time and within budget.
  • Knowledge of spacecraft mission requirements, regulations, and safety standards, with a commitment to ensuring compliance and mission success.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and a proactive approach to identifying and resolving technical challenges and risks.
  • Willing and able to work in a rapidly changing, fast-paced startup environment where a certain amount of uncertainty is part of who we are.
  • Willing and able to collaborate to achieve positive outcomes despite the challenges we face together.
  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Capella 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.


The annual salary range for this role as it is posted is $145,100 - $192,290. The final job level and annual salary will be determined based on the education, qualification, knowledge, skills, ability, and experience of the final candidate(s), specific office location and calibrated against relevant market data and internal team equity. Benefits listed in this posting may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Capella Space.


In addition to an opportunity to take part in an innovative, collaborative and fast-growing business with a highly motivated and skilled team, we also take pride in taking care of our employees. Here are just a few ways that we show our appreciation:

  • We offer up to 100% paid medical coverage, with robust vision and dental plans, comprehensive flexible spending accounts, and supplemental health plans
  • Equity
  • 401K Plan to invest in your long-term retirement planning
  • Generous Parental Leave
  • Flexible Paid Time Off Policy
  • Commuter & Parking Benefits
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Monthly phone stipend
  • Daily provided lunches and stocked kitchens.
  • Furry friends? We’ve got you covered with dog-friendly work environment & them with pet insurance options
  • Equal Opportunity Statement

Capella Space is an equal opportunity employer, committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and upholding equitable hiring practices.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic under federal, state, or local law, including those with a criminal history, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the CA Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance. We actively encourage members of recognized minorities, women, Veterans, and those with disabilities to apply, and we work to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all applicants throughout the interview process. If you need assistance or require an accommodation during the job application process, please notify recruiting@capellaspace.com

To learn more about us, explore our site: https://www.capellaspace.com/ and follow us on X and LinkedIn to see our SAR imagery!