Virgin Orbit

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FPGA Motor Design Engineer

FPGA Motor Design Engineer

Req No. 
Job Locations 
US-CA-Long Beach
Regular Full-Time

More information about this job

Who we are




At Virgin Orbit, we launch the small satellite revolution, accessing space for missions that were previously unimaginable and fostering new ideas and technologies to create a truly spacefaring civilization. We deliver Virgin’s legendary customer service by pairing technological advancements with a clear focus on our customers’ needs. We build a workplace and a workforce for the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today will launch the industries of tomorrow. We engage a diverse and inclusive community of dreamers and achievers in a shared mission to access space to improve life on Earth. At Virgin Orbit, we boost imagination. Search all of our job openings on our career portal.


Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve as a FPGA Motor Design Engineer (Avionics). If you join us in this position, you will assist in designing, developing, and testing all motor control FPGA designs for avionics components for the LauncherOne small satellite launch program. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Design and implement FPGA-based solutions for our launch vehicle, from vehicle networks to rocket engine control
  • Evolve FPGA infrastructure, develop functional specifications, and implement the new designs.
  • Develop FPGA designs for engine control with DSP applications such as motor control of actuators, rate sampling, interpolation and filtering
  • Assist in the implementation of hardware to support motor control of actuators
  • Help architect trade-offs between FPGA and processor implementations to optimize system performance
  • Develop unit/system test benches and test automation. Experience with ModelSim will be a key to success in this role
  • Work with cross-functional team members to reach common design goals and deadlines
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Performs other duties as assigned

What you bring

If you want to join us, you’d better have all of these…

  • Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering is required
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of FPGA development experience OR a MS in Electrical or Computer Engineering degree with 2+ years FPGA motor control development experience
  • Strong proficiency with VHDL or Verilog, logic implementation, and simulation tools for complex designs
  • Detailed knowledge of current FPGA technologies, having worked with major suppliers’ products such as Xilinx, Altera, Actel, Lattice, Atmel, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement complex motor control design algorithms using FPGAs, adeptly handling placement, routing, and timing constraints
  • Comfortable developing FPGA with an integrated team of hardware and software engineers
  • Familiar with communications links including Ethernet, SPI, I2C HDLC, SDLC and high level protocol interfaces such as TCP/IP, PCI Express
  • Ability to create unit tests and test benches to simulate the design to verify it meets requirements and behaves correctly in corner cases
  • Experience with digital hardware troubleshooting, board bring up, and FPGA bring up
  • Experience with lab equipment including network/spectrum/vector/logic analysers, oscilloscopes, DMMs, etc.
  • Knowledge of general purpose processors’ architecture and hardware/software design trade-offs
  • Highly motivated, with a strong desire to work as a contributing member of the design team and excel in an innovative and fast-paced team environment
  • Possesses good oral and written communication skills
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness
  • Must be able to work all shifts and available for overtime as well as weekends when needed
  • Physically able to handle items weighing up to 25lbs (unassisted)

… and you should probably have a bunch of these, too.

  • Experience with DSP algorithms (ex: digital filtering, CORDIC, trig functions, control loops, etc)
  • Experience with higher level scripting languages (Python, Perl, tcl, etc.) for design automation and testing
  • Knowledge of FPGA configuration architectures
  • Familiarity with source code version control tools (git, SVN, etc.)
  • Experience with mitigating Single Event Effects, particularly Single Event Upsets
  • Understanding of low level C/C++ programming especially at the device driver level
  • Design failure mode analysis and testing
  • Experience in packet processing
  • Experience with electric motor and engine control algorithms
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Ability to thrive as a ‘one person team’

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. In the words of Sir Richard Branson “We believe it’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”

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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.




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