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2023 Internship – Space Science Instrumentation Design, Build, and Test Engineers – Systems, Optical, Mechanical, Structural, and Thermal Disciplines

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Job Description


Do you want to design and build unique scientific instruments for NASA spacecraft that will enable groundbreaking scientific discovery throughout the solar system and beyond?

Are you passionate about ensuring our nation’s security and want to contribute to space-based defense systems?

Do you want to work in a team setting with other engineers of all disciplines on space flight hardware development programs?


We are seeking engineers of all disciplines ready to take on new challenges with us as we lead APL efforts for space flight instrument production in support of scientific discovery.  You will join the Space Science Instrumentation team of multi-disciplinary staff including systems, optical, mechanical, structural, and thermal engineers in conjunction with the Space Science Electronics team that provides the electronics, FPGA, and software expertise.  Together we design, build, test, and deliver science instruments to spacecraft missions throughout the NASA portfolio – recent missions include instruments for Parker Solar Probe, DART, Europa Clipper, Dragonfly, and more.


As a space instrumentation engineer, you will:

  • Support instrument concept development, proposals, prototyping, design, build, and test activities, culminating with delivery of an instrument to a spacecraft and ongoing technical and operational support.
  • Perform the necessary modeling, analysis, and test activities to finalize the design and prove that each instrument meets science, operational, and interface requirements prior to delivery.
  • Systems engineers will lead the instrument development process and orchestrate interfaces, requirements, trade studies, and qualification/calibration activities.
  • Optical engineers will analyze and design telescopes covering a wide range of applications and detectors, then build, align, test, and calibrate optical instruments.
  • Mechanical engineers will design and build structures for all types of instruments including intricate particle detectors, optical assemblies, mechanisms, and electronics packaging.
  • Structural engineers will design, analyze and test space flight hardware to static and dynamics loads.
  • Thermal engineers will design, analyze, and test space flight hardware to the operational thermal limits of each mission.


You meet our minimum qualifications for the job if you...

  • Are pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Mechanical, Optical, or Systems Engineering (or a closely related field).
  • Have excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills, and have demonstrated success while working within a team environment.
  • Have strong technical experience as demonstrated in at least one internship, research experience, or project outside of the classroom.
  • Are willing and able to support shift work occasionally (5%) during Integration and Test events.
  • To access APL’s facilities and networks, U.S. Citizenship or permanent resident status may be required, subject to applicable laws.
  • 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 requirements if you...

  • Have experience working on hardware design and development.
  • Are able to obtain a Secret security clearance. If selected, you may be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship.

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 www.jhuapl.edu/careers.


About Us

APL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, occupation, marital or familial status, political opinion, personal appearance, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.


APL is committed to promoting an innovative environment that embraces diversity, encourages creativity, and supports inclusion of new ideas. In doing so, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals of all abilities, including those with disabilities. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in any part of the hiring process, please contact Accommodations@jhuapl.edu. Only by ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard are we empowered to be bold, do great things, and make the world a better place.

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