Mission Planning Engineer – MethaneSAT, LLC

MethaneSAT, LLC, an affiliate of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is launching a new, high performance, purpose-built satellite—MethaneSAT—to map and measure oil and gas methane emissions worldwide, with the potential to assess emissions from the full range of man-made sources. The satellite will enable us to gather methane emissions data on a global scale and with data from other sources, locate and quantify these emissions. Data from MethaneSAT will help EDF reduce methane emissions by 45% by 2025 and holds the potential to help reduce the temperature of our planet by as much 0.5 degrees C by the end of the century. This could be the most impactful environmental project yet conceived.


Overall Function 


The Mission Planning Engineer will work with our stakeholders, scientists, engineers, and partners to support the successful operation of the MethaneSAT spacecraft to enable delivery of scientifically accurate and impactful data products to a global audience. The MethaneSAT Mission Operations are comprised of satellite command and control, health and safety monitoring, mission planning, and communications to operate the spacecraft in orbit. It will use cloud-based services to provide the computing, data archiving and operational interfaces between these functions. On-orbit commissioning operations are the responsibility of the flight systems integration contractor. Post commissioning operations will be transitioned to a New Zealand-based Mission Operations Center and team responsible for long-term MethaneSAT Mission Operations.

The Mission Planning Engineer will own the day-to-day mission planning system and processes for MethaneSAT, incorporating stakeholder needs, engineering assessments and analysis of system performance to ensure the effective target collection by the mission. Working across several organizations, both internal and external, this position will strive to understand problems, build solutions, and collaborate with the MethaneSAT team to support efficient and productive mission operations. 

This position will report directly to the Sr. Director, Mission Systems for MethaneSAT, LLC, and will work closely with other MethaneSAT, LLC staff, key contractors, and EDF staff.


Key Responsibilities 


The Mission Planning Engineer will be responsible for the following:

  • Managing MethaneSAT daily mission planning operations in alignment with EDF, MethaneSAT, LLC and external stakeholder mission goals and objectives.
  • Collaborating effectively with internal and external stakeholders to determine the needs for mission planning and distill these into processes and tools within the mission operations system.
  • Navigating differing needs and priorities while working closely with the Science Team, Operations Leads, EDF, MethaneSAT, LLC and other stakeholders to achieve timely delivery of MethaneSAT mission planning products.
  • Participating in stakeholder engagements, including demonstrating our mission planning process and presenting the roadmap for improvements in collaboration with the MethaneSAT team.
  • Participating in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.
  • To accomplish these, the Mission Planning Engineer will provide the overall oversight for mission planning to include:
  • Ensuring the mission planning process and software are aligned and are working to a common set of mission objectives.
  • Leading the development, improvement, and maintenance of the mission planning software within the mission operations system.
  • Supporting pre-launch development and validation of the nominal mission planning software, procedures and contingency plans.
  • Ensuring the capture and resolution of testing, technical, and operational anomalies and issues within the mission planning system.
  • Supporting the successful transition from flight systems integrator-led to New Zealand-led mission operations. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering discipline with at least 6 years’ experience; MS in a science or engineering discipline preferred (MS can substitute for up to 2 years’ experience).
  • At least 4 years of scientific or earth remote sensing satellite systems engineering, system development and operations experience with demonstrated progressive responsibility.
  • Past or current experience in satellite mission operations. Specific experience in mission planning and/or satellite attitude control preferred.
  • Experience in software development in one or more languages. Experience working in R, python and Linux preferred.
  • Ability to conceptualize and work through complex technical problems.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated experience collaborating with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds and experience.
  • Excellent communication skills including presentation skills required.
  • Strong ability to work independently on a multi-disciplinary team, using independent judgment required to plan, prioritize, and organize diversified workload.
  • Affinity for a fast-paced work environment.
  • Must be a US person (citizen, green card holder); MethaneSAT, LLC is unable to offer employer-based sponsorship for this role at this time

We offer a strong total rewards package encompassing competitive salary, robust benefits, and professional development opportunities consistent with a modern global organization. We take into account factors such as candidate experience, skills, training, internal team equity and local norms.

Please note that pay ranges are country specific. As a result, the stated currency is not meant be converted into any other currency.

Pay range

$138,000 - $146,000 USD/Yr.


Regular Full Time


Remote - US


April 26, 2024

Apply now

Put your passion and skills to work for the planet. Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, and we need people like you to help us build a vital Earth — for everyone.

We’re Environmental Defense Fund, a fast-paced nonprofit with a growing staff of more than 1,000 people in nearly 30 countries. We deliver game-changing solutions that cut climate pollution and strengthen people’s ability to thrive despite the effects climate change is already having. We work wherever we can have the most impact, from local communities to top companies to governments worldwide, and even in space.

Our culturevalues and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion make EDF an exciting and meaningful place to work. Every job here makes a difference. Won’t you join us?