Senior Director of Advanced Concepts 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:

This position is part of the Space Systems leadership team reporting to the SVP of Space Systems, and is responsible for a small cross-disciplinary and cross-functional innovation and advanced concepts team whose goal is to catalyze and enable innovation on Planet’s space segment to preserve this area of our business as a major competitive edge. This team is a mix of research scientists and systems engineers/analysts with broad and unique skill sets.

This is a “player-coach” role, and the typical day includes understanding the business model and strategy, managing the teams’ priorities and roadmap, interfacing to other business functions (space systems engineering and operations teams, strategy teams (corporate development, partnerships), data processing pipeline, product management, sales), as well as performing technology assessments, contribution to studies/white papers/proposals, supporting external partnership opportunities and internal design reviews.

Impact You’ll Own:

Managing the roadmap process, which is a partnership with engineering leaders across space systems particularly with the Payload VP, Avionics VP, and Chief Engineer

Attracting, retaining, growing, and fully leveraging creative engineers and scientists

Performing “quicklook” concept studies, feasibility assessments, and technological due diligence on new missions or technologies

Collaborating with the CorpDev and Tech Partnerships teams on partnerships that accelerate Planet’s business strategy and Space Systems technology roadmap

Representing Planet and the Payload team in internal company forums and design reviews, and externally when needed (conferences, customer interactions)

Working with the Space Systems SVP on strategic topics such as assessing acquisitions, RFPs, partnerships, etc

Being an engaged member of the space systems leadership team, for example providing inputs on strategy, priorities, culture, HR issues, etc

What You Bring:

10+ years of experience designing, building, testing airborne or space-based systems

5+ years of experience managing an engineering and/or R&D team, including hiring, mentoring and supervising managers/team leads

A passion for creating innovative pareto-optimal products from conception through development to validation and sustaining

Ability to understand and communicate technology (and its business implications) to various audiences from engineers to non-technical executives

A proven track record of aligning new technology with core business problems, and then maturing these from concept through full production

Experience successfully designing and managing IRAD programs

Practical experience in remote sensing, geospatial image processing, computer vision, software engineering, and/or data science

Demonstrable capacity to quickly learn and analyze complex systems

Ability to communicate and interact with internal leaders to achieve business objectives and drive technology roadmaps

Ability to win the confidence and respect of peers, to build and maintain organizational bridges, and to work effectively through influence

Hands-on can-do attitude, great interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate effectively across many technical teams

BS/MS in optics/instrumentation, physics, EE or relevant scientific/engineering field

What Makes You Stand Out:

Ability to communicate and interact with customers, partners, academia

Experience applying technologies and capabilities in ways not previously anticipated

Experience assessing, selecting, contracting, and managing vendors and partners

Experience implementing computer vision and/or multi-int fusion solutions in cloud environments

Experience with taking products into mass production

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 $164,600 - $270,600.  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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