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2023 PhD New Grad - Space Control Applications

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Job Description


Do you want to become an expert in the defense of our Nation’s critical space infrastructure?


Perhaps you heard about the standing up of the United States Space Force in December 2019, the first new military service in over 70 years? Did you hear about the formation of the United States Space Command in August 2019? There is even a Netflix comedy series called Space Force that debuted a few years ago. Maybe you asked yourself why all of this is happening?


Check out the CBS 60 Minutes episode The Battle Above, the CNN documentary War in Space, and the Defense Intelligence Agency 2022 report on Challenges to Security in Space to learn more.


The Space Control Applications Group of the APL Space Exploration Sector primarily focuses on the Space Control mission area that has three components:

  • Space Domain Awareness – knowledge and characterization of space objects and the operational environment upon which space operations depend
  • Defensive Space Control – active and passive means to protect United States and coalition partners’ space capabilities from attack, interference, or unintentional hazards
  • Offensive Space Control – deterrence of adversary hostile actions in space by fielding capabilities that negate an adversary’s use of space

Our group tackles these challenges by developing a wide array of technology solutions for data fusion, dynamic sensor tasking, mission optimization, machine learning, modeling and simulation, mission concept development, system validation, performance assessments, photonic systems, remote sensing, space object signatures across the electromagnetic spectrum, space warfighting operations, battle management, command and control, and multi-intelligence fusion.


Our staff come from diverse backgrounds and heavily leverage programming skills (e.g. C, C++, Matlab, Python) and modeling skills (e.g. Systems Tool Kit, Astrogator, Thermal Desktop, PTC Creo). We hire from many disciplines including engineering, physics, astronomy, applied mathematics, and computer science.


If you are a PhD and willing to learn about space and a completely new warfighting domain and you enjoy computer simulations, programming, and more importantly want to be a part of building payloads and spacecraft, you might very well be the perfect addition to our group!


Since we support defense and intelligence community customers, all personnel must undergo a security screening process to obtain a Top Secret clearance and primarily work in classified environments.


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

  • Possess a PhD in any Engineering discipline, Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Computer Science, or related technical field
  • Are skilled in technologies related to space control applications
  • Are willing and able to occasionally travel to sponsor locations
  • Are able to obtain an Interim Secret Clearance by your start date and can ultimately obtain a Top Secret/SCI security clearance. If selected, you will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship
  • 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'll go above and beyond our minimum requirements if you...

  • Hold a current Top Secret clearance with SCI adjudication
  • Have research experience in one of many group disciplines mentioned above
  • Have internship experience in national security

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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