Virgin Orbit, LLC

Senior FPGA Firmware Engineer (Embedded Systems)

Job Locations US-CA-Long Beach
Req No.
Regular FT


Long Beach, CA



Job Type:


Who we are




At Virgin Orbit, we are launching the small satellite revolution, enabling missions that were previously unimaginable. We are delivering Virgin’s legendary customer experience by combining advanced technology with a diligent, hard-working team. We have built a workplace and a workforce of the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today are launching the industries of tomorrow. We have engaged a diverse and inclusive community of doers and dreamers alike, empowering all those working today to build satellites and constellations that will change the world.


At Virgin Orbit, we are opening space for good. 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 Senior FPGA Firmware Engineer (Embedded Systems) within our awesome Avionics Team. If you join us in this position, you will assist in the design, development, and verification of high-performance Avionics hardware for the LauncherOne small satellite launch program. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. You will see the hardware you’ve designed and touched fly into space.


This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Work with a team of hardware, software, propulsion, and integration engineers to implement a set of requirements in order to design avionics hardware to assure mission success and safety to the public and crew.
  • Assist in the development and integration of avionics sensing, control, and processing boards.
  • Serve as the technical engineer to define, model, analyze, design, build, and test board-level analog and digital circuits.
  • Select electrical components. Work with manufacturing, production, and purchasing, to source and assemble printed circuit board assemblies.
  • Support environmental test as needed, including thermal, vibration, shock, EMI/EMC, and radiation tests on hardware components.
  • Participate in and lead design reviews, technical reviews, trade studies, analyses, and data reviews.
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world, and worlds beyond, a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members

What you bring

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

  • B.S. in Electrical or Computer Engineering or related field with 5+ years of direct experience in FPGA development
  • Demonstrated firmware development skills in real-time embedded systems
  • RTL development for FPGA with VHDL
  • Hands-on experience with FPGA debug techniques at all levels: simulation, unit level, system
  • Knowledge of FPGA verification frameworks
  • Experience with Timing constraints, Timing analysis and Timing closure, SDC format
  • Working knowledge of protocols using Ethernet, ideally IPv4, UDP, PTP and NTP
  • Background with Actuator control architectures; development, deployment, tuning
  • Experience with SpaceWire communications
  • Bus and network architectures, packet data and ICD development
  • Experience customizing and integrating IP Cores
  • Experience implementing serial and bus interfaces
  • Familiarity with signal processing, digital filtering techniques
  • C programming of Microcontrollers, PIC, Atmel
  • Working knowledge of Python in the context of automation and data capture
  • General experience with programming or scripting languages (C/C++, Matlab, Python) for spontaneous development of lab support tools
  • Direct hands-on experience with analog, digital and mixed-signal circuit analysis, simulation, design, test, and debug
  • Drive to constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members.
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness/weirdness
  • 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.

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

  • Experience with Verilog and System Verilog
  • Experience with PCI bus
  • Knowledge of signal integrity, power, grounding and general board layout principles
  • Proficiency with a schematic capture and PCB design software (Altium, OrCAD)
  • Familiarity with IPC-A-600/610, DO-254, DO-178C, NASA-STD-8739, or similar standards
  • Familiarity with analog and digital filters, power regulation, and amplifiers
  • Familiarity with requirements and test methods for harsh environments including thermal, vibration, shock, EMI/EMC, and radiation. Familiarity with one or more of the following standards: SMC-S-016, DO-160, MIL-STD-810G.
  • Experience with designing safety critical hardware components and performing failure mode effects analyses.
  • Experience integrating software, hardware, and programmable logic in embedded systems
  • Experience working with a variety of development teams including software, test, propulsion, structures, and operations.
  • 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. 


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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.