Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Careers

Principal Design Engineer

Goleta, CA
Engineering and Sciences

Job Description

Job ID: JLH20181409-47569

At Northrop Grumman, our employees have incredible opportunities to work on revolutionary systems that impact people’s lives around the world today, and for generations to come. Our pioneering and inventive spirit has enabled us to be at the forefront of many technological advancements in our nation’s history - from the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean, to stealth bombers, to landing on the moon. We look for people who have bold new ideas, courage and a pioneering spirit to join forces to invent the future, and have fun along the way. Our culture thrives on intellectual curiosity, cognitive diversity and bringing your whole self to work — and we have an insatiable drive to do what others think is impossible. Our employees are not only part of history, they’re making history.


Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation-related systems to customers around the world. Our main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures.

Working Environment
The position is available at the NGIS facility in Goleta CA, part of the Northrop Grumman, Innovation Systems - Space Component Division, which specializes in deployable systems for spacecraft such as solar arrays, instrument booms, and various extendible support structures.

As a Principal Structures and Mechanisms Engineer at NGIS – Goleta you will be responsible for creating and implementing deployable structures and mechanical actuators at the cutting edge of space technology.  You will have ownership of your work from the concept creation through the design and analysis phases and may also participate in the manufacturing, testing, and integration of the systems.


  • Create, prototype, design, and analyze structures and mechanisms for moving mechanical assemblies such as solar arrays, booms, and other support structures and mechanisms for satellite subsystems.
  • Develop and refine components and subsystems utilizing design skills, hand calculations, and finite element analysis or other modeling tools as needed.
  • Perform detailed 3D designs; generate CAD drawings and related documents, and support manufacturing and assembly of components.
  • Document test plans and procedures requirements.
  • Participate and present in internal and external (customer) design reviews.
  • Strive for the highest possible structural performance that is also cost effective and assures complete reliability.
  • Manage and track multiple priorities while maintaining a focus towards common project goals of the program team, matrix organization, and customers.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Mechanical, Astronautical, or Aerospace)
  • 6 years of applicable experience in mechanical design and closed-form analysis with some understanding of finite element analysis software
  • Strong communication skills, oral and written.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team environment.
  • Ability to multitask and organize/prioritize job assignments in a fast-paced and gated-release engineering development environment.

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Master's Degree in applicable area.
  • Demonstrable problem solving skills with hands-on project experience.
  • Candidate has detailed mechanical design knowledge of structures, mechanisms, release and drive actuators, and material selection.
  • Proficiency with mechanical computer aided design (CAD) software, preferably design and analysis experience with PTC Creo Parametric 2/3.
  • Spacecraft/aerospace Materials experience for metals, adhesives, thermoplastics, etc.
  • Working knowledge of applicable manufacturing processes such as machining, finishing, and rapid prototyping.
  • 4 or more years of direct Mechanical Engineering experience, preferably in the spacecraft or aerospace industry, with significant project ownership.
  • Must be self-motivated with excellent technical communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in an integrated team and adapt to change and dynamic requirements.
  • Strong communication and analytical skills and discipline with the ability to organize and prioritize job assignments and tasks.
  • Practical understanding of GD&T (ASME Y14.5-2009)
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint…).
  • This description can be filled at one level lower grade, 12S, with a BSME and 2-4 years of experience.

Additional Requirements

  • ITAR Requirements: To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.


Northrop Grumman is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, making decisions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected class. For our complete EEO/AA and Pay Transparency statement, please visit U.S. Citizenship is required for most positions.


Job Type: Full Time
Desired Travel: less than 25%
Years of Experience: +10 Years
Education: Masters
Expertise: Engineering
Group: Space