Aerospace Controls Systems (GNC/ACS) Engineer

attitude control systems, aerospace, ACS, GNC, Systems engineering, Engineering, Control system
Full Time
Depends on Experience
Work from home available Travel required to 10%.

Job Description

Do you want to fly the James Webb Space Telescope?

Are you passionate about spaceflight? Can you break down complicated systems into basic electrical, mechanical, thermal, and software interactions? If you are a collaborative engineer excited to strengthen operations of NASA’s next flagship mission, then you want to join our team of 40 engineers preparing to fly the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Flight Operations Team is working in partnership with NASA Goddard, observatory contractor Northrop Grumman, and system vendors across the globe to create a premier JWST mission operations team. The team conducts real time operations, sustaining engineering, and operational product development/testing. As a flight systems engineer, you will oversee all aspects of operations for systems under your supervision. You will lead the response during anomalies, and work with other experts to assess problems and advance solutions.

The current opening is for a controls engineer on the Flight Systems Engineering (FSE) team. Initial focus will be the Attitude Control System (ACS). The ACS engineer ensures accurate spacecraft pointing using reaction wheels, gyros, and star trackers; and employs thrusters to unload reaction wheel momentum and maintain a proper orbit. As the ACS responsible engineer, you will learn all aspects of ACS operation and design to become one of the team’s foremost experts. Related systems include Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC), Propulsion, and Thermal Control.


The Space Telescope Science Institute is at the forefront of spaceborne scientific exploration through operation of NASA’s flagship class missions including Hubble (in-flight), James Webb (nearing flight), and Nancy Grace Roman (in-development) space telescopes.

STScI is located on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland. An easy commute from the rolling hills of Maryland horse country, the campus is minutes from the lively downtown cultural center and the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Named one of the best places to work by Baltimore Magazine
  • Outstanding benefits including generous annual PTO: 24 vacation days, 3 personal days, and 12 sick days. Explore our benefits:
  • Great work/life balance


  • Apply engineering principles, industry standards, company process, and knowledge of vehicle dynamics, propulsion, classical/modern control and estimation theory to perform tasks to advanced program goals
  • Oversee the Attitude Control System (ACS) during normal operations
  • Lead ACS anomalous operations response including troubleshooting and advancing solutions
  • Work with other subsystem engineers providing controls expertise as need
  • Coordinate with technical and programmatic contacts with NASA and industry partners
  • Document designs, analyses, and test results
  • Develop and test operational products and procedures
  • After mastering ACS, move on to propulsion and other spacecraft systems with the objective of becoming a JWST Systems Supervisor

Performance standards that a candidate must have to be successful in this position include:

  •  Teamwork capabilities within small- to medium-sized groups
  •  Interpersonal communication skills - this position requires the ability to collaborate with personnel from engineering, management, and external partners
  •  Ability to effectively articulate technical challenges and solutions
  • Written and oral communication skills - this position requires ability to create clear technical documentation of analyses, methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Residence
  • Bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline and 5+ years' experience in spacecraft system operations or operations experience on a complex system that has high consequences in the event of failure. Advanced degrees can substitute for some years of experience.
  • Control systems education and/or experience
  • Software development experience to solve complex problems, implement process improvements, or automation (e.g. Python, C++, Java, Matlab, etc.)
  • Individuals with experience from other fields who possess related basic qualifications are encouraged to apply


  • Proven record of troubleshooting problems to root cause and providing solutions
  • Experience designing, developing, and/or working with hardware
  • Technical knowledge of spacecraft systems and operations (e.g. attitude control, propulsion, communications, electrical power, thermal control)
  • Commitment to continuous improvement and innovation


  • Flexibility including shift work during launch rehearsals and spacecraft commissioning
  • On call/off hours as needed for anomaly response
  • Limited travel to Goddard Space Flight Center and the observatory contractor site in California

TO APPLY: This position is available immediately. Applications received by January 18, 2021will receive full consideration. Applications received after this date will be considered until the position is filled. You are requested to complete an on-line application through the STScI website at

Direct Link:

Currently, we are in the Highly Restricted On-site Presence status for our staff through June 30, 2021. This reflects the evolving COVID-19 environment and current work from home phase for most of the staff. In this position, your onsite presence at the Muller building will be required for some essential work as scheduled from the start of your employment.The health and safety of our staff is the primary concern. We have a high level of scrutiny for any on-site staff and all of our current COVID-19 protocols and procedures are  in effect. Unfortunately, we cannot arrange an onsite visit prior to your decision.

Offers of employment can be extended and new hires will on-board virtually.  We will then ship systems to you or you can pick them up to enable working from home. If applicable, relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported but employees are required to be resident in the Baltimore-Washington area within a limited timeframe.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements that are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

STScI sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to create a first-rate community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at EOE/AA/M/F/D/V Voted to the Baltimore Magazine Hall of Fame in 2020 – Top 25 Places to Work in


Dice Id : RTX1d86d5
Position Id : 0002094
Originally Posted : 4 weeks ago
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