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Autonomous Aerospace Systems Engineer (Early/Mid-Career)

Albuquerque, NM

Job ID: 686180

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Posting Duration:

This posting will be open for application submissions for a minimum of seven (7) calendar days, including the ‘posting date’. Sandia reserves the right to extend the posting date at any time.

NNSA Requirements for MedPEDs:

If you have a Medical Portable Electronic Device (MedPED), such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, drug-releasing pump, hearing aids, or diagnostic equipment and other equipment for measuring, monitoring, and recording body functions such as heartbeat and brain waves, if employed by Sandia National Laboratories you may be required to comply with NNSA security requirements for MedPEDs.

If you have a MedPED and you are selected for an on-site interview at Sandia National Laboratories, there may be additional steps necessary to ensure compliance with NNSA security requirements prior to the interview date.

What Your Job Will Be Like:

The rapid growth and proliferation of autonomous systems technologies provides exciting and impactful opportunities for applying these tools to solve national security problems. The Autonomy for Hypersonics department is applying next-generation intelligence concepts to several components of the national defense domain for hypersonic and missile defense flight systems.

Our organization is actively seeking an Early/Mid-Career Autonomous Aerospace Systems Engineer who has [1] significant interest and knowledge in autonomous system concepts (e.g., uncertainty, perception, decisioning, algorithm V&V in simulation/hardware), [2] experience/familiarity in sensing, control, navigation, and/or dynamical systems, such as flight vehicle mechanics, and [3] formal training in Aerospace Engineering or a closely related autonomous systems field such as Electrical, Computer, or Mechanical Engineering.

If you are passionate about making valuable contributions to a high-impact program, we urge you to apply! You will collaborate with a team of researchers, engineers, and technologists to develop autonomous flight system technologies and to mature them from concept to simulation to flight. In the near-term, you will be supporting projects from the Autonomy for Hypersonics (A4H) Mission Campaign research portfolio. These projects are applying state-of-the-art autonomous systems concepts to sensing, mission planning, and analysis for hypersonic vehicle missions. Long-term, you will be developing autonomous flight solutions for prototype vehicle demonstrations (i.e., flight tests), developing agent-driven simulation and analysis tools for challenging mission scenarios, and creating/executing/leading new projects for applying trusted autonomy to high-consequence missions.

On any given day, one may be called upon to:

  • Collaborate with a team of researchers, engineers, and technologists to develop autonomous flight system technologies and to mature them from concept to simulation to flight

  • Support projects from the Autonomy for Hypersonics (A4H) Mission Campaign research portfolio

  • Develop autonomous flight solutions for launch vehicle demonstrations (i.e., flight tests)

  • Develop physics-based and/or agent-driven simulation and analysis tools for challenging mission scenarios

  • Create, implement, and lead new projects for applying trusted autonomy to high-consequence missions

This position will include simulation, laboratory, and field-testing operations. You will work at Sandia's laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including the Flight Dynamics Laboratory and a newly constructed indoor autonomous systems testbed for prototyping autonomous system hardware, algorithms, and communications. You will be working on highly collaborative teams but will be given responsibility and ownership of a growing body of R&D work as you progress in your career at the Labs. Components of your work will be classified and will consequently require a security clearance. Some travel is required for this position.

Qualifications We Require:

  • An Advanced degree (Master’s or PhD) in Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or a closely associated field

  • Coursework and/or experience with modern applied information science and/or autonomous systems concepts

  • Examples include, but are not limited to, state-of-the-art neural network architectures, reinforcement learning, sim-to-real implementation/testing, systems integration, V&V for autonomous systems, and cooperative teaming

  • Coursework and/or experience with dynamical system modeling, navigation, guidance, or control

  • Experience programming in tools/languages (e.g., Python, C/C++, Matlab, or similar)

  • The ability to occasionally travel

  • The ability to acquire and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance

Qualifications We Desire:

Ideally, one's background would also include some of the following:

  • Coursework and/or application experience with: aerospace flight system modeling and simulation, modern optimization methods/tools, and/or autonomous system path planning/guidance, localization/navigation, and/or control, especially for flight systems

  • Experience with the following:

  • Hardware implementation of algorithms for dynamical autonomous systems

  • Using modern computational methods and platforms, including high-performance computing clusters, Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), and/or neuromorphic computers

  • Using and applying object-oriented programming principles

  • Applying real-time software on embedded processors involving aerospace flight vehicle applications

  • The proven ability to conduct guided research and development in a mostly self-directed manner

  • Strong verbal and written communication as well as technical content presentation skills

  • A willingness to work collaboratively as a member of a multi-disciplinary team in a cooperative and productive fashion

  • The ability to acquire and maintain an SCI-level clearance, which may require a polygraph test; or an active SCI-level Clearance

About Our Team:

Department 05449, Autonomy for Hypersonics, manages the Autonomy for Hypersonics Mission Campaign (A4H), an innovative research portfolio in autonomous systems development and flight demonstrations of technology advancements. This department also supports the research and development of software, autonomy algorithms, prototype hardware, target recognition, and navigation/guidance/control. We actively partner with domain experts, both at the Labs and throughout the nation, to implement high-impact research to meet national defense needs.

A4H is pursuing research and development in autonomous systems to enhance the capabilities of the nation’s hypersonic vehicles as well as other high-consequence systems. A4H enables increasingly agile hypersonic weapons that adapt to unexpected scenarios, empowering the U.S. to respond to threats anywhere in the world without putting our war fighters at unnecessary risk. The challenging flight environment and limited available flight data make hypersonics one of the most complex applications for autonomy. Sandia and its partners are developing algorithms, sensors, and compact computing hardware that compress complex data processing and analysis methods into real-time decisioning tools. The goal of A4H is unprecedented flexibility in response to newly designated targets, evolving target conditions, difficult operating environments, and unexpected flight conditions.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide

  • Extraordinary co-workers

  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world

  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities

  • Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)

  • Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance:

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment need to be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

Salary Range:

$86,300 - $166,800

*Salary range is estimated, and actual salary will be determined after consideration of the selected candidate's experience and qualifications, and application of any approved geographic salary differential.

Job ID: 686180

Apply Now


  • Worklife Balance
  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Generous Paid Time Off
  • Exceptional 401K Savings Plan
  • Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
  • Wellness Programs
  • On-site Amenities
  • Vacation Buy Plan
  • Telecommuting Arrangements*

*with management approval

Life in New Mexico

  • Affordable housing, reasonable cost of living
  • Minimal traffic congestion compared to larger cities
  • Outdoor recreation - Ski, snowboard, hike, etc.
  • Experience rich culture and history
  • International Balloon Fiesta
  • Green chile – NM Cuisine
  • Museums, Parks, Sports

Learn more about Life in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sandia invites you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law, EEO is the Law Poster Supplement, and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Sandia is a drug-free workplace. As a national laboratory funded by a U.S. government agency, we are subject to federal laws regarding illegal drug use. Illegal use of a controlled substance, including marijuana even in places where it does not violate state law, may impact your ability to obtain and/or maintain a Department of Energy security clearance, and may result in the withdrawal of an employment offer or termination of employment.

Sandia is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and providing reasonable accommodation in its application process for qualified individuals with disabilities. If you have difficulty using our online system due to a disability and need special assistance or accommodation, please send an email with your request to the Job Accommodation Specialist in (NM) . Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation are made on a case-by-case basis.