Optical Test Engineer at Planet

Posted on:
February 23, 2023

🔭 Our mission & vision

Job Description

Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites in history. This constellation delivers an unprecedented dataset of empirical information via a revolutionary cloud-based platform to authoritative figures in commercial, environmental, and humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company and data company all rolled into one.

Customers and users across the globe use Planet's data to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world’s toughest obstacles.

As we control every component of hardware design, manufacturing, data processing, and software engineering, our office is a truly inspiring mix of experts from a variety of domains.

We have a people-centric approach toward culture and community and we strive to iterate in a way that puts our team members first and prepares our company for growth. Join Planet and be a part of our mission to change the way people see the world.

Planet is a global company with employees working remotely world wide and joining us from offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, Germany, and The Netherlands.

About the Role:  

Our Payload Group is looking for an Optical Test Engineer to help us execute ground-based optical payload testing in collaboration with satellite design, manufacturing, camera operations, calibration and other system engineers in helping test, manufacture, develop and troubleshoot telescopes and camera assemblies for our constellations. 

We are responsible for system-level analysis, operations, simulations, development, and test of our Earth observation payloads. Our group works at the intersection of hardware, software, and product engineering teams in the Space Systems division. 

The role will appeal to candidates that enjoy getting hands-on with camera, sensor, and telescope technology while interfacing with experts in photography, science, systems engineering, and operations.

Impact You’ll Own:

Coordinating and executing key optical manufacturing activities, such as optical metrology and alignment activities for telescope and sensor integration and troubleshooting

Understanding and executing warm and cold alignment and performance testing of imaging spectrometers, telescopes, and end-to-end instruments

Writing test plans and performing analysis of measured data for alignment and calibration of imaging systems

Developing and expanding upon test software and electrical ground support equipment (GSE) for the characterization and automation of alignment and performance testing

Coordinating and performing optomechanical manufacturing activities, such as bonding and fixturing

Organize and participate in integration & test activities in cleanroom environments

What You Bring:

3+ years relevant experience in assembly, integration, alignment, and test of optical instruments, telescopes, and/or optics in fields such as defense, aerospace, automotive, biomedical, or related

Experience with imaging spectrometers, in particular a mastery of related optomechanical testing (telescopes, focal planes, camera, electrical)

Experience leveraging scientific Zemax, ANSYS, MATLAB, Python and/or C/C++ in a Unix/Linux/AWS environment to automate yourself out of the way

Experience in recording detailed and accurate test descriptions and data summaries

Experience with collecting large amounts of data, data storage and data manipulation

Hands-on, can-do attitude, great interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate effectively

Educational background in Optical Engineering (or relevant experience) required (AS/BS preferred)

What Makes You Stand Out:

Experience working with flight hardware for space, including familiarity with safety and contamination processes

Competency in mechanical assemblies, soldering PCBs and proficiency in reading both electrical drawings & schematics

Experience in driving the definition and execution of Ground Support Equipment (GSE)

First hand experience working with external vendors, suppliers, and integrators

Practical experience troubleshooting and debugging complex systems

Associates, Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate in EE, CS, or relevant scientific/engineering field

Benefits While Working at Planet:

Comprehensive Health Plan

Wellness program and onsite massages in specific offices

Flexible Time Off

Recognition Programs

Commuter Benefits

Learning and Tuition Reimbursement

Parental Leave

Offsites and Happy Hours

Volunteering Benefits


The US base salary range for this full-time position at the commencement of employment is $114,100 - $142,600.  Additionally, this role might be eligible for discretionary short-term and long-term incentives (bonus and equity). The final salary range is determined by job related experience, skills and location.  The range displays our typical hiring range for new hire salaries in US locations only.  Your recruiter can share more about the specific salary range for your preferred location during the hiring process.


Why we care so much about Belonging. 

We’re dedicated to helping the whole Planet, and to do that we must strive to represent all of it within each of our offices and on all of our teams. That’s why Planet is guided by an ultimate  north star of Belonging, dreaming big as we approach our ongoing work with diversity, equity and inclusion.  If this job intrigues you, but you’re thinking you might not have all the qualifications, please... do apply!  At Planet, we are looking for well-rounded people from around the world who can contribute to more ways than just what is listed in this job description.  We don’t just fill positions, we aspire to fulfill people’s careers, most excited about folks who are motivated by our underlying humanitarian efforts.  We are a few orbits around the sun before we get to where we want to be, so we hope you’re excited to come along for the ride. 

EEO statement:

Planet is committed to building a community where everyone belongs and we invite people from all backgrounds to apply. Planet is an equal opportunity employer, and committed to providing employment opportunities regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. 


Planet is an inclusive community and we know that everyone has their own needs. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation during the interview process, please call Planet's front office at 669-214-9404 or contact your recruiter with your request. Your message will be confidential and we will be happy to assist you.

Privacy Policy: By clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this job posting, I acknowledge that I have read the Planet Data Privacy Notice for California Staff Members and Applicants, and hereby consent to the collection, processing, use, and storage of my personal information as described therein.

Privacy Policy (European Applicants): By clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this job posting, I acknowledge that I have read the Candidate Privacy Notice GDPR Planet Labs Europe, and hereby consent to the collection, processing, use, and storage of my personal information as described therein.

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