Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Space Optical Instrument Lead

3+ months agoLaurel, MD

Do you have expertise in Optical Instrumentation for spaceflight applications?

If so, we may have the position for you!

We are seeking an experienced individual to lead the development of space optical instrumentation. The successful candidate oversees all aspects of development for a space optical instrument, contributes to optical Instrument proposals, and is the technical point of contact with sponsors for current and future optical instruments.

The Space Science Instrumentation group at APL designs and builds instruments that produce data for scientific research. The team contains expertise spanning all aspects of instrument production including: electrical, mechanical, software, optics, physics and other niche areas. Some examples of our work includes: the PEPSSI and LORRI instruments on the New Horizons Spacecraft, the RBSPICE instrument on the Van Allen Probes Spacecraft, the CRISM instrument on the MRO Spacecraft, and dozens more. We are currently working on instruments for the JUICE, Europa, Psyche, and Lucy Missions.

As the Optical Instrument Lead, you will...

  • Lead a team to develop all aspects of space-based optical instrumentation including optical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal designs.
  • Work with scientists and engineers from the instrument and spacecraft teams to design and document the architecture, requirements, interfaces, and verification methods for optical instruments.
  • Lead / oversee instrument Integration and test, qualification, and calibration.
  • Be the technical point of contact of the instrument development with the sponsor.
  • Lead the engineering aspects of space instrument proposals.


You meet our minimum qualifications if you have...

  • A BS Physics or Optics or equivalent in a discipline related to remote sensing (e.g. Engineering Physics, Astronomy).
  • 10+ years experience in developing optical instrumentation.
  • The ability to perform radiometric and SNR calculations and have knowledge of detectors from the visible to the MWIR.
  • Current knowledge of optical fabrication techniques including vendors
  • Subcontract management experience
  • Experience in both Lead/System Engineer roles and in writing proposals.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a team in a development environment.
  • Can demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To ensure the safety and well-being of the community, APL has established a policy requiring that all staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. All staff members must provide proof of full vaccination or have an approved medical or religious accommodation by their start date.

You will go above and beyond our minimum qualifications if you have...

  • A MS Physics or Optics or equivalent in a discipline related to remote sensing.
  • 15+ years of experience in developing optical instrumentation with some of that time being in space optical instruments.
  • High dollar subcontract management experience.
  • Experience with some optical design tools (e.g. Zemax, FRED, TracePro, Code-V) and mechanical design tools (e.g. ProE).

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. While we are dedicated to solving complex challenges and pioneering new technologies, what makes us truly outstanding is our culture. We offer a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere where you can bring your authentic self to work, continue to grow, and build strong connections with inspiring teammates.

At APL, we celebrate our differences and encourage creativity and bold, new ideas. Our employees enjoy generous benefits, including a robust education assistance program, unparalleled retirement contributions, and a healthy work/life balance. APL's campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at


Job ID: hopkins-6941_24311