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Senior Program Manager, Ground Segment Development

BlackSky Global

BlackSky Global

Seattle, WA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Senior Program Manager, Ground Segment Development

About Us:

BlackSky is a geospatial intelligence solutions provider that enables organizations to task, collect, and transform data from earth observation, global sensor networks, mobile devices, and social media to deliver on-demand insights about places, events, and assets that are critical to their operations. BlackSky provides satellite collection, data, and cloud based -processing and analytic solutions to organizations that are capitalizing on the exponential growth of a wide range of sensor and collection platforms for delivering the next generation of GEOINT and location intelligence solutions. BlackSky has extensive expertise and capabilities in commercial remote sensing, multi-source analytics, cloud computing, open source software development, Amazon Web Services, and big data geospatial analytics. BlackSky provides solutions to commercial and government organizations with relevant programs with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), US. Army, and U.S. Air Force Research Labs.

BlackSky is looking for a highly skilled Program Manager to lead the strategic and tactical development of the ground system hardware and software, as we work to build and optimize our global ground station network. This position helps to ensure the ground segment operates to its fullest potential and serves to collaborate with technical leads and architects to define the strategic expansion of the network. As a key leader of the ground team, you will balance engineering and program management trades and work across communications, software, test, and infrastructure engineering disciplines. The ground system represents a highly complex and optimized integrated software and hardware system. This role is responsible constructing detailed project plans and driving and communicating high level business decisions alike and needs to be comfortable working detailed and big picture paths in parallel.

The ideal candidate excels in an environment of competing priorities and has an instinctive ability to distill complex technical challenges into goals and directives that motivate a team and drive actionable results. The role is responsible for crafting requirements and performance metrics from top level plans for the ground software and hardware systems and ensuring that the team has all necessary components to execute the plan. As a small team, this candidate needs to be willing to dive into the details of the day to day and work processes as needed to grow the capability. The candidate has a demonstrated ability to think creatively about cost and schedule, considering the bigger picture ground network development. This candidate also has the vision to generate roadmaps and distill high level business goals into actionable hardware and software plans. Additionally, the candidate is confident challenging assumptions from team members and vendors alike in favor of the best path to a program’s success and willing to dive into technical details as needed to work and understand a problem space. This position requires an independent thinker who is consistently striving to learn, grow, and lead.

This role is hybrid and expected to be in the Seattle Office a minimum of two times per week and as needed to support development activities. We may also consider candidates local to our Albuquerque or Herndon offices on a case-by-case basis.


  • Manage, develop and support vendor relationships with partners to ensure uptime, maintenance support activities, and maintain production operation for BlackSky’s commercial ground station network.
  • Serve as a liaison between technical and business teams to drive the strategic development of the BlackSky ground network in line with key business requirements.
  • Serve to coordinate and distill highly technical and evolving requirements associated with the network, network performance, and system design into objective metrics for the team to track and perform against.
  • Develop, plan, and drive optimization into the ground system in both hardware and software development. Support planning activities for the integrated Ground and Command and Control team, leveraging waterfall and agile program principles as needed.
  • Maintain Software Development Roadmaps and work to integrate planning into JIRA.
  • Evaluate, author, develop, and present detailed project plans for new site locations, establish strategic partnerships and develop plans for new site launches to production in line with our capacity plans. Present to management recommendations for development efforts that align to the business objectives and meet or exceed business targets.
  • Collaborate internally to communicate, commit and champion new development efforts and sustainment efforts to keep the ground station network uptime performance needed to support the constellation.
  • Build and manage the plan to test and validate the equipment ahead of site deployment and demonstrate risk reduction strategies. Work with cross-functional teams to pull burn down risk in the plan with testing and validation milestones.
  • Optimize, define, and partner with internal teams to purchase, catalog, test, and track equipment across existing and upcoming sites. Define and develop processes that increase efficiency and manage cost to a budget.
  • Support, define, and track the integrated hardware and software development plans with collaboration from Software Engineering Management
  • Serve as point of contact for the ground station equipment and resources and work to allocate them effectively amongst stakeholders, managing key business objectives and priorities.
  • Other job-related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or other technical discipline.
  • Minimum of four years of experience with project management in both agile and waterfall efforts with integrated hardware and software deliverables.
  • Experience managing and developing from the ground up detailed budgets, schedules, and developing resourced plans.
  • Minimum of five-to-eight years relevant experience program managing or managing vendors with integrated software and hardware dependencies.
  • Experience working with complex systems with hardware and integrated software dependencies.
  • Experience working with integrated product teams.
  • Experience managing budgets, schedules, and developing resourced plans.
  • Possess exceptional team leadership and inter-team cooperation and organization skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Project management qualifications such as PMP, APMP, Scrum Master etc.
  • Possess strong team leadership and inter-team cooperation and organization skills.
  • Experience with software systems and management of hardware software development efforts with critical dependencies.
  • Knowledge of or experience with ground stations, satellites, antennas, telecommunications, networking, or other similar industries a plus.

Life at BlackSky for full-time benefits eligible employees includes:

  • Medical, dental, vision, disability, group term life and AD&D, voluntary life, and AD&D insurance
    • BlackSky pays 100% of employee-only premiums for medical, dental and vision and contributes $100/month for out-of-pocket expenses!
  • 15 days of PTO, 11 Company holidays, four Floating Holidays (pro-rated based on hire date), one day of paid volunteerism leave per year, parental leave and more.
  • 401(k) pre-tax and Roth deferral options with employer match
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Employee Assistance and Travel Assistance Programs
  • Employer matching donations
  • Professional development
  • Mac or PC? Your choice!
  • Awesome swag

The anticipated salary range for candidates in Seattle, WA is $120,000-$140,000 per year. The final compensation package offered to a successful candidate will be dependent on specific background and education. BlackSky is a multi-state employer, and this pay scale may not reflect salary ranges in other states or locations outside of Seattle, WA.

BlackSky is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer All Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.

EEO/AAP/ Pay Transparency Statements: