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Optical Navigation Lead (III)

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) is looking for a qualified engineer to lead the creation and implementation of an Optical Navigation system for a deep space mission that will spend seven years touring the inner solar system and explore the main asteroid belt. Launch is expected in early 2028, followed by 6.5 years of operations.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

LASP at the University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest research institutes at the University of Colorado Boulder. With a focus on solar, stellar, space plasma, atmospheric and planetary sciences, LASP employs both experimental and theoretical approaches to answer key science questions. Since its inception in 1948, LASP has developed, operated, and analyzed the data from scientific instrumentation for solar science, Earth atmospheric, planetary, deep-space, and Earth-orbiting spacecraft missions investigating the Sun, all eight planets, Pluto, and beyond. The progressive development of research capabilities and the use of innovative technologies in pursuit of emerging research initiatives ensures a continued leadership role for LASP in today’s growing “new space” era.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

You will work as part of a flight dynamics team helping to plan and fly a multi-asteroid encounter mission. You will work with other team members to define the needs and capability of the Optical Navigation system as well as estimating it’s performance. Responsibilities include:

  • Develop the image processing algorithms, tools and processes.
  • Define the OpNav observing strategy.
  • Technical representative for ConOps related to OpNav.
  • Develop the orbit determination algorithms, tools and processes.
  • Technical representative for OpNav uncertainties and performance.
  • Technical representative for OpNav analysis, integration and test campaign.
  • Primary POC and interface for the imaging instruments used for OpNav.
  • Understand everything that influences OpNav: Spacecraft systems, Instruments and ConOps.
  • Train others on principles of OpNav, as well as how to use tools and perform operational tasks.
  • Thoroughly document and present all work.

What You Should Know

  • Travel: Possible domestic travel required to visit camera manufacturer. International travel required for milestone reviews, TIMs, final testing, or launch site activities (estimated two trips per year, maximum).

What We Can Offer

  • The salary range for this full-time position is $109,166.67 - $141,995.31.
  • We offer a generous retirement plan that includes 200% matching for the first 5% contributed with immediate vesting. Relocation assistance is available per institute guidelines.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be ambitious. Be groundbreaking. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • BS/BA in engineering or applied science and 5+ years working on spacecraft development and/or operations.
  • Understanding of optics and camera performance.
  • Understanding of orbital mechanics.
  • Understanding of statistical analysis.
  • Familiarity with methodology of ground-based and on-board deep-space navigation.
  • Experience working with star catalogs.
  • Familiarity with spacecraft development cycles.
  • Familiarity with Systems Engineering principles.
  • Strong written and verbal communication.
  • Strong organization skills.
  • Experience with scripting and/or programming.
  • Experience with Git version control software.
  • Experience with SPICE toolkit.

What We Would Like You to Have

  • MS/PhD in engineering or applied science and/or 10+ years working on spacecraft development and/or operations.
  • Operational deep-space mission experience.
  • Expertise in Python scripting.
  • Expertise in C/C++ programming.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Cover letter
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

Review of applications will begin immediately and remain open until filled.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: