Avionics Firmware Engineer

Los Angeles, California /
Engineering – Electronic Systems /
ABL Space Systems was founded in 2017 by veterans of SpaceX and Morgan Stanley to develop low-cost launch vehicles for the small satellite industry. More importantly, we’re building a launch system we are truly proud of – no gimmicks or over-design, just reliable, rapidly deployable launches. We’re an ambitious team with big goals and, together, we’re determined to prove that reaching space can be simple, efficient, and routine.  

When launch day arrives, we want you by our side

ABL's Firmware Engineers are critical to mission success and integral to nearly every subsystem on the launch vehicle ranging from power distribution to vehicle navigation to propulsion system control.

Solid Firmware Engineers know they are not just programmers, but rather engineers who are capable of operating in both the hardware and the firmware environment.  They are responsible for providing novel solutions in an agile environment while also producing robust, verified code. Great firmware engineers are capable of bridging disciplines to work with the hardware and systems engineers.


    • Perform and lead the firmware development, implementation, and testing on flight hardware including the flight computer, navigation sensors, and other Remote I/O hardware ‍
    • Gather, define, and document requirements to meet existing and anticipated needs across the rocket
    • Develop algorithms capable of meeting safety requirements
    • Develop, analyze and review data to validate and verify system meets specifications and design requirements
    • Ensure system quality and performance through rigorous software test, verification and validation (V&V) techniques
    • Write test plans and testing cases while leading the execution of unit/integration/systems level V&V
    • Partner with vehicle hardware teams to develop requirements (e.g. switches and computers) needed to meet the needs of the vehicle

Near Term Responsibilities

    • Work as the avionics systems level architect and hardware development lead, from component design through integration, test, and operations.
    • Specify, evaluate and test components ranging from batteries and processors to solenoids and IMUs
    • Define and maintain the interface requirements to coordinate across engineering teams
    • Stand up development integrated test bed or "Hardware in the Loop" (HITL), working with the Software, GNC and hardware teams in HITL environment to develop transitions and commands
    • Work with vendors to define system requirements and possible solutions
    • Work with vendors to maximize the benefits of already certified and qualified Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components and systems
    • Develop sensor and support GNC systems requirements
    • Support critical sensor (e.g. IMU) system engineering, integration and test
    • Support critical controller (e.g. Thrust Vector Control Actuators, Throttle Valves) system engineering, integration, and test
    • Work with Software and Integration Checkout teams to stand up racks required to "talk" to the launch vehicle typical launch vehicle Avionics functionality includes:
    • Power systems, budgeting, and battery sizing
    • Redundancy and contingency management, capabilities for "Failure Detection Isolation and Recovery" (FDIR)
    • Telemetry packet encoding and decoding

Basic Qualifications

    • B.S. in Computer Science (CS), Computer Engineering (CE), Electrical Engineering (EE), or similar from an accredited university
    • One of the following: ‍
    • 2+ years experience in the development of aircraft, missile, spacecraft or similar critical flight software
    • 2+ years experience in the development of medical device software
    • 2+ years experience in game development

Preferred Skills and Requirements

    • Demonstrated skills in applications development in at least one or more high-level programming languages (e.g. C, C++)
    • Programming of FPGA or microcontrollers
    • Proficiency in writing software for UNIX/Linux platform ‍
    • Object-Oriented-Design
    • Simulation and Modeling
    • One or more low-level programming languages (e.g. Ladder Diagram, Structured Text, Instruction List)
    • Day of Launch and systems testing support, including vehicle network and switch health verification
    • Demonstrated leadership of or within a small project team either in current role or during project-based team in school

What We Look For

    • 1. Critical thinking: ABL engineers understand the "why" behind all design decisions, operational events and test outcomes.  
    • 2. Ability to deal with ambiguity: there is no roadmap and ABL engineers must be comfortable defining their own pathway to an objective. 
    • 3. End-to-end ownership: projects are delivered fully complete and ready for flight; there is no one to pick up the slack of partially complete work. 

ITAR Requirement
This position requires access to information protected under US export control laws, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and/or the Export Administration Regulations.  As such, US person status (including US citizens, permanent residents, asylees, and refugees) is a required qualification for this position.

Equal Opportunity Employer
We are an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, genetics, or citizenship status (when otherwise legally authorized to work and access export-controlled data) and will not be discriminated against on the basis of such characteristics or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. We encourage applicants of all ages.