Environmental Defense Fund

Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems

Job Locations US-Various | US-MA-Boston | US-CO-Boulder | US-NY-New York | US-Various | US-CA-San Francisco | US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 1 month ago(7/10/2020 3:53 PM)
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With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


You are applying for a job with MethaneSAT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Environmental Defense Fund.


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 MethaneSAT Mission Systems are comprised of MethaneSAT mission operations command/control, mission planning, data processing, and communications capabilities.  It will use Cloud services to provide the computing, data archiving and operational interfaces between these functions. These systems are under development by project team members to meet a Launch Readiness date of July of 2022. The command and control development and on-orbit commissioning operations are the responsibility of Ball Aerospace, the flight systems integration contractor. Post commissioning operations will be transitioned to the New Zealand located Mission Operations Center and team responsible for long term MethaneSAT Mission Operations. The mission planning tools, science data processing algorithms and software, and science data product operations is the responsibility of the Harvard based science team. MethaneSAT, LLC is responsible for providing the Cloud Service architecture and services as well as managing the end data products for the various user communities.


The Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems will be responsible to lead mission systems and operations development, to ensure operational readiness for launch, and to provide overall supervision of all aspects of mission operations.The Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems will report to MethaneSAT LLC Chief Executive, Dr. Steven Hamburg, and will work closely with other MethaneSAT, LLC staff, key contractors, and EDF staff. 


Key Responsibilities 


The Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems will be responsible for the following:

  • mission systems and operations meeting technical, schedule and cost goals
  • minimize operational risks
  • commissioning and long term operations meet EDF and external stakeholder mission goals
  • continuous improvement to increase data return and reduce cost
  • meet regulatory license, security and data protection requirements
  • regular status communications to EDF executive leadership and to the MethaneSAT donor groups
  • manage budget and resource allocation 

To accomplish these, the Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems will provide the overall leadership for the mission systems development to include:

  • Ensuring all teams understand and are working to a common set of requirements
  • Ensuring development and validation of the commissioning operations and mission operations nominal and contingency plans
  • Assessing progress of the individual mission systems, and where required, leading the resolution of requirements, interface and schedule problems
  • Managing the development and successful execution of the integration, test, and launch readiness of the mission systems and operations
  • Ensuring the successful transition from Ball Aerospace to NZ Mission Operations
  • Ensuring operations readiness to support all phases of operations

Post MethaneSAT on-orbit commissioning the Senior Director, MethaneSAT Mission Systems role transitions to being responsible for:

  • All mission operations and data products are generated safely and efficiently to meet mission goals
  • All operations, data management and information exchanges meet MethaneSAT regulatory license requirements 
  • Improving scientific productivity and reducing operations costs
  • Budgets and expenditures are understood and managed


  • At least 12 years of scientific or earth remote sensing satellite systems engineering, system development and operations experience with demonstrated progressive responsibility
  • At least 5 years in operations management
  • Demonstrated experience leading teams and collaborating with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds and experience.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An understanding of lean operations capabilities, requirements and risk management
  • Engineering or technical degree
  • Experience managing complex budgets
  • Strong ability to work independently on a multi-disciplinary team of internal and external stakeholders, using independent judgment required to plan, prioritize, and organize diversified workload.
  • Affinity for a fast-paced work environment.
  • Respect for economic and cultural diversity and ability or experience working with diverse groups of people.
  • A high degree of diplomacy to manage and influence key stakeholders, teams, and new, developing partnerships.
  • Must be eligible to work in the US without sponsorship. MethaneSAT, LLC is unable to offer employer-based sponsorship at this time.

Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, MethaneSAT, LLC is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

MethaneSAT, LLC is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.


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