Principal Data Scientist, Space Systems

Principal Data Scientist, Space Systems

This job is no longer open

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, and The Netherlands.

About the Role:  

The Space Systems division at Planet designs, develops, and operates Planet’s fleet of imaging satellites. We own the full lifecycle of satellite development, from concept to re-entry, and prioritize speed, efficiency, continuous improvement and scale as we field these systems. As a Staff Data Scientist you are responsible for partnering with Space Systems executive leadership and R&D/engineering teams to drive the remote sensing data science strategy that informs our development of next generation satellite hardware. You will be responsible for understanding the end user applications of our systems and products, working as a subject matter expert and embedded ‘product architect’ to inform our engineering roadmap. This will entail collaborating across multiple teams within Space Systems and Planet as a whole to define and derive requirements that will influence satellite design, and performing the necessary analysis to be sure the satellites of today are compatible with the cutting edge applications and products of tomorrow.

Crucially, this is a very visible and cross-functional role requiring excellent collaboration and communication skills and you must demonstrate a strong commitment to Planet’s cultural values, agile principles and leadership through influence to succeed. You will partner directly with the chief spacecraft architect, executive program sponsors, product managers, and spacecraft design teams, and act as a bridge to many more teams including core imagery and data platform engineering teams, analytics and sensor fusion R&D teams, and sales and product marketing teams as necessary.

Impact You’ll Own:

  • Space Systems’ primary product stakeholder and subject matter expert for Planet’s future analytical offerings, acting as the bridge between mission/satellite development and downstream analytics product offerings in order to create a closed loop feedback cycle early on in new mission specification
  • Accountable for ensuring that future satellite capabilities clearly represent and serve Planet’s commercial, technical and product roadmap
  • Liaising with Planet’s product management and product marketing teams to validate imagery product requirements via analysis, and negotiating changes as necessary
  • Converting Planet’s market use cases into specific and actionable remote sensing requirements to inform new remote sensing system development
  • Helping to drive the remote sensing data science strategy to make sure Planet’s new systems are collecting the right information at the right time at the right price to maximize their business and impact value
  • Acting as Planet’s ambassador for future capabilities to potential partners, customers and internal stakeholders as needed
  • Pushing the boundaries of the possible in using automated analytics to derive value from geospatial data, with sensor selection and onboard/edge in mind
  • Supporting the Planetary Variable, analytics SW, the EOLab R&D and other teams on high priority roadmap work as needed
  • Fostering greater consistency of engineering practices across software teams, and providing “golden paths” to support those practices

What You Bring:

  • Demonstrated capability as both leader and individual contributor throughout the journey from design through shipping and operations
  • Passion for identifying opportunities to improve practices, explore solution options, and socializing ideas with colleagues toward fostering common cause
  • Mentorship of engineers and “lifting all boats” in an organization
  • Passion for improving the status quo and making teams work better together
  • A strong interpersonal skill set where team alignment can consistently be delivered and maintained
  • Experience working with synthetic/simulated/surrogate imagery datasets and imaging physics models, and a deep understanding of the strengths and limitations of such tools
  • Experience with remote sensing time series analysis, data structures, and building complex models
  • Vast experience as an end user of satellite imagery for remote sensing, GIS applications, and advanced analytics
  • Exceptional understanding of the current and future needs of analytics and machine learning thresholds for extracting maximal utility out of our satellite data
  • The ability to operate effectively and decisively in an information rich environment with minimal guidance and extended autonomy
  • The ability to make decisions that align with Planet’s technical and strategic roadmap as well as Planet’s core values
  • A willingness to travel to Planet HQ in SF as needed

Benefits While Working at Planet:

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

Some Press About Us: 

Our CEO, Will Marshall featured on TED and featured in a Planet Blog

“Planet: Bringing Space Back Down to Earth”

Tiny, privately owned satellites are changing how we view the Earth features in NBC News

“Planet And Rocket Lab Create Mission Patch To Honor Women In Aerospace” —Planet Blog

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. 


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 interview process, please call Planet's front office at 669-214-9404 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.

Compensation (only applicable for Colorado applicants):

The base pay range targeted for this position in Colorado is: $156,600 - $243,900. This role is eligible for equity.

The actual offer, including the compensation package, is determined based on multiple factors, including experience, location, and other business considerations.

Planet is registered as an employer in many, but not all, states. If you are not able to work from a state where Planet is registered, you will not be eligible for employment.

This job is no longer open
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