Virgin Orbit, LLC

Lead Test Engineer, Avionics

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 Lead Test Engineer, AvionicsIf you join us in this position, you will own the qualification and acceptance verification on 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

  • Define verification processes
  • Lead a team of Responsible Test Engineers to support qualification and acceptance engineering
  • Lead the day-to-day operations of anomaly investigations, aggregation of acquired data and reports, and presentation of findings to Engineering and Production teams
  • Execute as the test POC for the design and verification efforts of test systems (complete rack, fixturing, cable harnesses, pneumatic)
  • Lead the execution of professional and traceable documentation, including verification plan(s) and procedures, requirements traceabilities to procedures and results
  • Work with the test system engineering teams to identify and drive implementation of automated production test and simulated mission testing
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Perform other duties assigned

What you bring

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

  • MS in Electrical, Computer, Aerospace or comparable Engineering in a related field
  • Proven Test Engineering skills:
    • 10+ years of hardware test development for production and/or verification of PCBAs using custom electronics
    • Experience authoring test plans in collaboration with design engineers
    • Understanding and experience in environmental testing such as vibration, shock, vacuum and thermal
    • Experience authoring hardware pFMEAs, test system requirements and system dFMEAs
    • Ability to read schematics and troubleshoot PCBAs
    • Ability to work in a clean room facility and follow good safety and ESD practices
    • A passion for developing, diagnosing and fixing HW/SW embedded system integration issues
    • Experience working with communication protocols and sensors in embedded systems
    • Experience providing test data analysis for equipment validation and monitoring test processes for production
  • Proven Project Execution skills:
    • Experience authoring and adhering to product workflows, demonstrated control over production manufacturing or testing
    • Experience working within a team of engineers to deliver testing in a fluid environment, ensuring your team executes with a high level of openness and to deadlines
    • Experience working across engineering groups to drive and develop project requirements and technical specifications, based on user needs
    • Identify key unknowns and quickly close knowledge gaps
    • Deliver the highest value results quickly and iterate towards successive milestones
    • Maintain a high level of customer service for your end-users and colleagues
    • Demonstrated excellent in team motivation and management to achieve schedule goals
    • Experience with a defect tracking database
  • Technology skills:
    • Demonstrable deep knowledge of recent versions of SMC-S-016 and/or DO-160 standards
    • Working knowledge of instrumentation, interfaces and sensors including DMMs, DAQ, Power Supplies, Oscilloscopes, and other lab equipment
    • Hands-on hardware integration experience including installation of electronic components and harness, and troubleshooting components, harnesses and sensors (including acceleration, pressure, acoustic, strain, position and thermal sensors)
    • Experience working with communication protocols including RS-232, RS-422, Fast and Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, I2C, SPI, CAN bus
    • Experience working with motor driver and linear and switching power regulators
    • Experience working with industrial sensors including RTDs, thermocouples, and 4-20mA transducers.
    • Demonstrated experience with project management tools in agile environments (e.g. jira, confluence)
  • Enthusiasm to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness
  • Must be available for overtime as well as weekends when needed
  • Must be able to stoop, bend, crawl, and being able to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Physically able to handle items weighing up to 25lbs (unassisted)
  • Must be a U.S. person as defined by the ITAR (22 CFR §120.15).
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space.
  • Ability and desire to perform in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment.
  • Self-driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement, inter-team communication skills, and attention to detail.
  • 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.

  • Strong documentation capabilities, including traceability principles
  • Proven knowledge of communication protocols and instrumentation hardware abstraction layers such as Ethernet, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, UDP, & DAQmx
  • Experience with distributed version control systems
  • 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

Salary Range

$120,000 - $150,000

Total Rewards at Virgin Orbit

At Virgin Orbit, we are STRAIGHT UP, which means we encourage honest and transparent communication. Our goal is to help you interpret the pay range you see and understand that compensation is much more than simply base pay.  Individual compensation packages are based on candidate-unique attributes, including, but not limited to, skills, experience, qualifications, and other job-related factors.  Cash compensation is only part of the total reward package, and the range reflects a strong market-based salary.  Some jobs may also be eligible for bonus, overtime pay, weekend work compensation and differentials.  In addition to cash compensation, all Virgin Orbit teammates are eligible for equity which includes stock options and/or RSUs (Restricted Stock Units) and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). 


At Virgin Orbit, you work alongside some of the best and brightest, on the coolest premier dedicated small satellite launch service.  We also know that benefits and belonging are an important piece of your total rewards package.  At Virgin Orbit we offer some of the best around:


  • Robust time off with holiday shut down between Christmas and New Year
  • Better than market 401k including a Safe Harbor plan
  • Superior health and welfare benefits offering an average 90% of benefits premiums paid, including some plans with zero employee contributions
  • Financial wellness through Northstar which includes your personal financial advisor
  • Paid parental leave
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • A variety of optional benefits such as pet insurance and discounts, and remote and/or hybrid opportunity for some positions
  • Health Reimbursement program providing up to $3,000 max per year for eligible teammates 
  • Employee Resource Groups, Virgin cultural gatherings and success celebrations, professional growth opportunities, and more!


At Virgin Orbit, pay and total rewards is about offering competitive programs for any stage of your life and career. We constantly look for opportunities to enhance our programs and reward our teammates and we update our benefits offerings regularly.

Other Requirements:

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.