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Senior RF Engineer

Planet logo

United States

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, Austria, Slovenia, and The Netherlands.

About the Role:

Planet is working on the next generation small satellite bus that will host a high resolution optical imaging payload (Pelican) and a hyperspectral payload (Carbon Mapper). Planet has continuously iterated and developed small spacecraft communication systems including board level hardware, antennas, and ground station equipment that produce record data rates. Our system consists of transceivers in several bands, as well as a worldwide network of ground stations.

We are seeking an experienced RF and communication engineer to develop our next-generation onboard and ground radios and antenna systems that pushes the frontiers of satellite communications. You will make evolutionary and revolutionary improvements in their performance, reliability and cost, including the design of next-generation S-band through Ka-band radios and a variety of antennas as well as work with vendors on various design projects. You will be responsible for PCB layout projects and interfacing with mechanical engineers to address challenging packaging and thermal issues. You will conduct environmental and EMC testing on communication subsystems and get them ready for flight. You will work closely with systems engineering, missions, and manufacturing teams to ensure mission success.

This is a part-time, three month role with Planet. This role will require you to be physically present at our headquarters in San Francisco, CA, 3+days a week.

Impact You’ll Own:

  • RF hardware circuit design, simulation (Spice, ADS), and instrumentation and testing
  • RF system design, link budgets, and interference analysis
  • EMI testing and mitigation
  • Antenna design, simulation and testing (ADS, HFSS)
  • Digital communications theory and associated signal processing algorithms for both narrowband and wideband data transmission systems
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR) platforms and respective signal processing libraries (ex.: GNURadio)
  • Validation and Verification of radios and antennas pre-shipment and validation of radio performance on orbit after satellite launch

What You Bring:

  • BSEE is required, MS/PhD preferred
  • 10+ years of engineering experience designing and maturing RF/antennas/SDRs to market.
  • Ability to review low-level design decisions and understand their impact to the larger system/mission
  • Exceptional fundamentals in RF/microwave, electromagnetics, and signal processing
  • Proven ability to support and criticize RF layout, RF circuit design and component selection
  • Exceptional knowledge of digital communications theory and associated signal processing algorithms for both narrowband and wideband data transmission systems
  • Proven ability to adapt and learn additional skills to further develop/contribute to the design of a complex system including but not limited to active RF circuits, transceivers, mixers, switches, RF amplifiers, oscillators, detectors, filters, and other building blocks for space and ground station applications

EAR/ITAR Requirements:

This position requires access to export-controlled technology, and as such, and in accordance to applicable law, employment is only open to US citizens, US nationals, lawful permanent residents of the US or persons admitted to the US as an asylee or refugee.

Benefits While Working at Planet:

  • Comprehensive Health Plan
  • Wellness program and onsite massages in specific offices
  • Flexible Time Off
  • Recognition Programs
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Tuition Reimbursement and access to LinkedIn Learning
  • Parental Leave
  • Offsites and Happy Hours
  • Volunteering Benefits

This position requires access to export controlled technology, and as such, employment will be contingent upon the candidate’s ability to access EAR and/or ITAR controlled technology pursuant to an export license approved by the Bureau of Industry and Security and/or the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, if required.

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. Know Your Rights.


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 hiring process, please reach out to [email protected] 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.

Advice from our career coach

As a candidate applying for the RF and Communication Engineer position at Planet, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of RF hardware circuit design, antenna design and testing, and digital communications theory. Here are some key tips to help you stand out as an applicant:

  • Highlight your experience in RF circuit design, simulation, and testing to showcase your technical skills.
  • Demonstrate your expertise in RF system design, link budgets, and interference analysis to show your ability to drive performance improvements.
  • Emphasize your knowledge of EMI testing and mitigation techniques to display your attention to detail and problem-solving abilities.
  • Showcase your experience with antenna design, simulation, and testing tools like HFSS to demonstrate your practical skills.
  • Highlight your proficiency in digital communications theory and signal processing algorithms for data transmission systems to showcase your technical competencies.

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