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Flight Software Lead - Guidance, Navigation, and Control at JHU Applied Physics Laboratory (Laurel, MD)

Does creating software to control interplanetary spacecraft sound exciting to you?

Are you an experienced embedded software developer with an interest in algorithms or guidance & control?

If so, we're looking for someone like you to join our team at APL.

We are seeking a Guidance, Navigation and Control Flight Software Lead to help us develop and implement embedded software to integrate control algorithms into spacecraft flight software. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) Space Exploration Sector develops spacecraft for both National Security applications and NASA funded exploration missions. Our group is a collaborative team of professionals including software developers and embedded system engineers that develop the flight software for JHUAPL-developed spacecraft. This position would be responsible for integrating G&C algorithms and C&DH (Command and Data Handling) elements into our flight software.

As a Guidance, Navigation and Control Flight Software Lead...

  • Your primary responsibility will be the end to end development of the embedded flight software application responsible for integrating the Guidance, Navigation and Control functionality into the spacecraft.
  • You will interface with the spacecraft development team including the Embedded Hardware and GNC Groups to understand the interfaces and requirements necessary to design, implement, and verify the GNC embedded flight software application.
  • You will lead, and collaborate with, a small team of software developers to implement and verify functionality of the flight software.
  • You will design, implement and test software to solve problems in a variety of embedded environments, with an emphasis on modular reuse and modular architectures; maintain the catalog of institutional reusable flight software libraries; contribute to technology evaluation, technology plans, and future group roadmaps.
  • You will work with technical experts at JHUAPL to research, advance, and advocate for emerging software and GNC concepts such as optical navigation algorithms, hardware-based processing, and software design patterns.

You meet our minimum qualifications for the job if you...

  • Have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Electrical or Computer Engineering, or other related field.
  • Have 5-10 years of experience in software engineering, preferably embedded full lifecycle development (requirements development through deployment / operational support).
  • Have experience with embedded software development in C.
  • Ability to communicate system-level solutions and technical direction, both to government sponsors and to team members.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, initiative, and independent follow-through.
  • Are able to obtain Secret level security clearance. If selected, you will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship.

You'll go above and beyond our minimum requirements if you...

  • Demonstrated experience leading teams in full software development life cycle.
  • Are Familiar with flight software libraries, applications, and frameworks including NASA's cFE (Core Flight Executive)
  • Have experience with real time operating systems including RTEMS and  VxWorks an Operating System Abstraction Layers (OSAL).
  • Have experience using Matlab's Embedded Code Generation.
  • Have worked with spacecraft control systems, navigation algorithms or image processing.
  • Are familiar with interfacing to spacecraft sensors and actuators such as  Inertial Measurement Units (IMU), star trackers, thrusters, reaction wheels, torque rods, magnetometers and gimbals.

Why work at APL?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation's most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. With a wide selection of challenging, impactful work and a robust education assistance program, APL promotes a culture of life-long learning. Our employees enjoy generous benefits and healthy work/life balance. APL's campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at

APL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.