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Staff Guidance, Navigation, and Controls (GNC) Engineer

Principal Guidance, Navigation, and Controls (GNC) Engineer/...

Gnc Engineer

GNC Satellite Attitude Determination & Control Engineer (Sta...


Flight Software Engineer

GNC Satellite Attitude Determination & Control Engineer

GNC Engineer, Collision Avoidance

GNC Engineer, Starlink Dish

Senior GNC Engineer - Spacecraft


Group Leader - Space Exploration GN&C

Robotics Software Engineer

Verus Research

Albuquerque, NM 87110

GNC Engineer

Exos Aerospace Systems & Technologies

Greenville, TX 75402

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What Is a GNC Engineer?

Aerospace engineers are involved in the design of aircraft and other flying objects, ranging from missiles and space shuttles to passenger airplanes. A GNC engineer is a form of aerospace engineer. The abbreviation is derived from the fact that they work on the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) systems that power spacecraft.

Education and Requirements

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, aerospace engineers need at least a bachelor's degree to qualify for entry-level positions. Some employers prefer to hire GNC engineers who hold a master's degree. Employers typically look for graduates of aerospace, electrical or mechanical engineering programs to fill GNC engineering positions. Because many aerospace projects are sensitive, GNC engineers are often required to be U.S. citizens or pass security clearances.


GNC engineers are primarily responsible for designing and testing the subsystems that control the flight paths of spacecraft and other aircraft. Much of their work involves running computer simulations to determine how control and flight systems would perform under certain conditions. GNC engineers must also be able to model these simulations for other members of the development team. Because their work involves so much computer modeling and programming, it is critical that aspiring GNC engineers have experience with modeling software such as MATLAB and programming languages such as FORTRAN, C, and C++.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that aerospace engineers in the U.S. earned an average of $104,810 per year as of 2012. Annual incomes for the median-earning 50 percent of aerospace engineers ranged from $81,890 to $127,570. Most aerospace engineers worked for companies involved in aerospace product and parts manufacturing and averaged $98,430 a year. Those who worked in navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing averaged $107,170 a year.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects the number of jobs for aerospace engineers to grow only 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, much lower than the 14 percent projected growth rate for all occupations. This will create only about 4,000 new jobs for the field. However, the bureau expects candidates who have experience in computer modeling, such as aspiring GNC engineers, to have good prospects of finding employment.

2016 Salary Information for Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace engineers earned a median annual salary of $109,650 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, aerospace engineers earned a 25th percentile salary of $85,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $135,020, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 69,600 people were employed in the U.S. as aerospace engineers.

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  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering
  • Minimum of five years of experience performing engineering analysis, modeling and testing of Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) systems
  • Knowledge of sensor and actuator analysis, modeling, and test methodology
  • Strong understanding of launch vehicle Guidance laws or similar
  • Strong understanding of rigid body dynamics and orbital mechanics
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Matlab, Simulink, and C++
  • Experience in low cost commercial space system ventures
  • Self-driven, with a strong background in pragmatic project management, problem solving, organization, inter-team communication skills, and attention to detail
  • Ability and desire to perform in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement
  • Must be able to work varying hours/shifts and available for overtime as well as weekends when needed
  • Must be able to provide proof of US-approved Covid-19 full vaccination status, unless otherwise exempted by an approved reasonable medical or religious accommodation from Virgin Orbit.


Skills we Value

  • Direct experience in development of an orbital control system
  • Understanding of modeling structural dynamics
  • Hands on testing of actuators and sensors
  • Certifications or experience within aerospace, aviation or automotive is highly preferred
  • Excellent organizational skills and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, coaching, and leadership skills
  • Creative problem solver, able to work in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Ability to thrive as a ‘one person team’
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness


ITAR Requirements

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.


Personal Requirements

Our idea of a happy life: build rockets, work with brilliant people, serve purposeful customers, and open access to space. Sir Richard Branson’s belief is “If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success.” From the very start, we have placed top priority on growing and fostering a team of creative, diverse, and talented women and men. 

Search all of our job openings—


Virgin Orbit is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Orbit is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.


Life @ LM: Meet Travis, a Guidance Navigation Control Engineer


General Atomics pioneers technologies with the potential to change the world. Behind a talented global team of engineers, GA delivers safe, sustainable, and economical solutions to meet growing global demands. Our Engineers have an opportunity to work on first of a kind product lines within an incredible, dynamic environment.

Engineering positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD in engineering or a related technical discipline from an accredited institution and progressive engineering experience. Candidates from mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineering backgrounds must know the fundamentals of engineering system developments, requirements, testing, and integration before getting to the final stages of customer interface and project management.

  • Schedule: Full-Time Salary

  • Job Level: Senior (8+ years)

  • Travel: 0 - 25

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Success Profile

What makes a successful Satellite Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) Engineer at General Atomics? Check out the top traits we’re looking for and see if you have the right mix.

  • Analytical
  • Collaborative
  • Inventive
  • Problem Solver
  • Team Player
  • Creative

Back to Job Navigation (Success)

Date posted 08/26/2021Job ID 32119BRCompany General AtomicsExperience Level Senior (8+ years) Job Title Satellite Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) Engineer City Herndon State Virginia Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time Salary

Job SummaryGeneral Atomics (GA), and its affiliated companies, is one of the world’s leading resources for high-technology systems development ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely piloted aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) designs and manufactures first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS' expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions support critical fleet, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and process and monitoring applications for defense, industrial, and commercial customers worldwide.

We have an exciting opportunity for a Satellite Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) Engineer to join our Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Group located in Herndon, VA. The Tiger Innovations team provides innovative, cutting-edge, security solutions for the United States Government. Our employees provide a multi-disciplinary, sometimes non-traditional, approach to generate innovative solutions to incredibly challenging technical problems in the national security arena. Our areas of expertise are in spacecraft payload and system development (especially in the confines of implementing very large amounts of functionality in extremely small, power-constrained environments); unique system development; ground control and operational software development; embedded software development; and unique cyber capabilities. Key customers include the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.

With consultative direction, this position exercises considerable latitude in determining technical objectives for the review, research, design, development, and/or solution(s) for a designated engineering system(s) or project(s)/program(s).

  • Functioning in an advisory or leadership role participates in the planning and oversight of the successful resolution and implementation of engineering problem(s) and provides direction and guidance to professional and support staff.
  • Formulates technical plans, typically multi-year, for solution(s) development, documentation, and deployment of the engineering solution (s), as well as responsible for meeting various compliance, reporting, and safety standards.
  • Evaluates the integration of the engineering solution within the overall engineering environment; and responsible for planning/overseeing documentation, testing, maintenance, and engineering updates.
  • Communicates with engineering professionals, solution users, and management throughout the solution development cycle; represents the company as a prime technical contact on assigned system(s) or project (s)/program(s); selects, motivates, and develops professional and support staff; interacts with senior internal and external personnel on technical matters requiring coordination between the organizations; anticipates future engineering needs; and, develops new or expands existing business opportunities.
  • Represents the assigned systems or projects(s)/program(s) as a prime technical expert.
  • Advises or directs the activities of assigned project(s)/program (s) to achieve technical objectives.
  • Directs and allocates technical resources and professional staff to achieve objectives.
  • Develops new and/or expands existing business opportunities.
  • Ensures compliance, reporting, and safety standards are maintained.
  • Participates in the planning, selection, retention, and development of the professional staff.
  • Develop guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) algorithms for satellite missions.
  • Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) system design, implementation, simulation and testing.
  • Establish, maintain and execute satellite attitude control simulation software.
  • Analyze the stability and robustness of guidance and control algorithms using control theory and Monte Carlo simulations.
  • Undertake requirements capture, performance trades and design activities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned or required.
We recognize and appreciate the value and contributions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences and welcome all qualified individuals to apply.
Job Qualifications:
  • Typically requires a bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD in engineering or a related technical discipline from an accredited institution and progressive engineering experience as follows; fifteen or more years of experience with a bachelors degree, thirteen or more years of experience with a masters degree, or ten or more years with a PhD. May substitute equivalent engineering experience in lieu of education.
  • Demonstrates a detailed and extensive technical expertise and application of engineering principles, concepts, theory, and practice as well as project and/or program leadership including organizing, planning, scheduling, and coordinating workloads to meet established project deadlines or milestones.
  • Must possess the ability to contribute to the development of new concepts and principles; resolve unusually complex technical problems; serve as spokesperson on projects and/or programs; and be a technical expert in one or more areas of engineering.
  • Strong communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills are required enabling an effective leadership interface with other departments, all levels of management, professional and support staff, customers, potential customers, and government representatives.
  • Customer focused, formulates plans based on the development of innovative new designs in resolving advanced technical engineering problems.
  • Experience in satellite attitude and orbit control systems.
  • Experience with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology, and implementations in satellite systems and their applications.
  • Experience with physics-based modeling of dynamic systems and Monte Carlo simulation analysis.
  • Experience developing software in C/C++ and Matlab/Simulink.
  • Ability to work within a multidisciplinary team environment.
  • Strong communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills are required enabling an effective leadership interface with other departments, all levels of management, professional and support staff, customers, potential customers, and government representatives.
  • Must be able to work on a self-initiated basis and in a team environment.
  • Able to work extended hours as required and adaptable to changing priorities and workloads.
  • US Citizenship is required as is the ability to maintain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
Travel Percentage Required 0 - 25 Relocation Assistance Provided Provided US Citizenship Required? YesClearance Required? Desired Clearance Level Top Secret (SCI access eligible)
Apply Now


  • Healthcare

  • Pension, 401(k)/Retirement Plans

  • Competitive Pay

  • Multiple product lines means a variety of work

  • Paid Time Off

Back to Job Navigation (Rewards)

“The company is growing, has a very good reputation and had open positions in my area of expertise (aircraft design/design methodology development).”
– Peter, Senior Staff Engineer

“We don't ascribe to quotas; we do ascribe to securing the BEST talent to enrich our culture toward healthy diversification and active/viable community service. We are STEM advocates.”
– Debra, CSSBB: Staff Engineer

“Every day is different, with different problems to solve and many programs to support. I am a problem solver and have always been motivated by the tough questions.”
– Scott, Laser Scientist

“I work in the Components Engineering and Obsolescence Management Dept. Our efforts are saving General Atomics several millions of dollars by proactively leading and informing the company of all these decisions which significantly impact production, sustainment and new designs.”
– John, Staff Engineer

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Engineer job gnc

About Varda

Varda is moving industry into space and bringing real products back to Earth. 

SpaceX, NASA, and the rest of the space industry have laid the proverbial railways to orbit.  The team at Varda is building on top of this prior work to expand the economic bounds of humankind. 

At Varda, you’ll have the opportunity to work at the intersection of ambition and experience. Our team has all worked in aerospace and honed their crafts in the trenches of major established companies.  Your work will be valued and evaluated by launch-proven leaders who’ve chosen to apply their talents to manufacturing in space.  

While our vision is big, the steps to get there are technically reasonable and operationally feasible. Our conops are clear and use cases have been proven out over decades of ISS-based research and development. 

Join Varda to help leverage space for business.   

About this Role

  • Learn how to design, build, test, and fly spacecraft including satellites and atmospheric reentry vehicles
  • Full ownership of the vehicle including the satellite bus on orbit and the reentry capsule trajectory
  • Ability to grow and develop with the vehicle and the company as we build Varda together


  • Ability to scope projects including requirements capture and initial design trades given open-ended problems.
  • Develop 6 degree of freedom vehicle simulation using C++ and/or MATLAB/Simulink
  • ADCS hardware performance specification including reaction wheel and torque rod sizing, sensor noise, and performance characteristics
  • Perform trajectory design, optimization, and dispersion analysis for the reenetry of a space capsule 
  • Mission specific analysis for customer launch and in support of business development

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in physics or an engineering discipline
  • Software development experience in MATLAB, Simulink, C, C++, and/or Python
  • Strong understanding in the development of spacecraft or similar vehicle navigation systems


Varda Space Industries is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.  Candidates and employees are always evaluated based on merit, qualifications, and performance.  We will never discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, martial status, mental or physical disability, or any other legally protected status.  

Life @ LM: Meet Travis, a Guidance Navigation Control Engineer


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