Do you like Space, SDRs and RF System Design?

Greetings list,

SpaceX is currently hiring for a number of open positions in the
Avionics -
RF group, including:

  • RF & Comms Systems Engineering
  • RF Design engineers (RF/hardware/digital)
  • MAC Layer Engineers
  • Antenna Engineers
  • anyone else who is just a rock star

GNU Radio, general SDR, and FPGA targetting experience is a major plus.
The environment is one of the more demanding you’ll find, but the work
extremely rewarding. Benefits are pretty awesome too. Let me know if
are interested and would like to discuss.

In the meantime, here’s some of the ambitious things we aee working on:


Just a friendly reminder - its probably best to respond privately.

[email protected]
[email protected]

On Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:35 PM, John M.
<[email protected]

Hi John,

I’m definitely interested.

I’m a telecom engineer, with a PhD in transmission systems. Both my PhD
my engineering degree come from the Università di Pisa.

I currently work here ( with some
in radiocom and software-defined radios that I’ll detail in the

The attached CV states all that, along with a list of technical

My main R&D activity so far involved developing Software Defined Radios
techniques that can reduce their SWaP needs down to a manageable scale.

An article in GLOBECOM 10 discussing such ideas is here

some implementation results are demoed here:

Full-Software ETSI DVB-T Transmitter over Intel Atom N270

This is an ETSI DVB-T transmitter (the sort of thing that sends digital
into our homes throughout Europe and in many other countries across the
Globe) implemented on an ultra-small, ultra-weak Intel Atom CPU. I built
in the early days of my PhD.

Full-Software ETSI DVB-T Single Frequency Network on a Tabletop

These are two of those transmitters, in a synced transmit-network

Full-software ETSI DVB-T Receiver

Implementing from scratch these systems exposed me to transmission and
channel coding techniques which, in the DVB-T rev.1 case, do precisely
from deep space transmission experiences dating back to the 80s (Voyager
II) and reaching far into the late 90s. DVB-T2 stuff includes instead
recent codes (LDPCs) that are currently being tested and standardized by
the CCSDS, for adoption by upcoming missions (I believe, eventually,
for actual deep-space contexts).

I’m highly interested in energy-efficient, energy-limited radio
transmission systems (a.k.a. the most peculiar deep space comm

After earning my PhD, and moving to my current company (, I led the development of a few SDR systems,
including this:

IDS – GNOME system: an SDR-based GNSS integrity monitor

(it was actually presented and (partially) demoed @NAVITEC '12 in ESTEC)

and a ground receiver for ADS-B air traffic control signals. It’s not
much of a relevant job (ADS-B radios are simple and --believe it or
almost uncoded) but we were very quick in getting the receiver done
to the flexibility of the SDR concepts.

As to recent research, together with a bunch of colleagues, I worked on
PHY-layer crypto concept called “directional modulation” in which I see
some potentially significant SatCom applicability.
Directional Modulation is something that restricts access to information
certain (controllable) regions of the space surrounding the transmitting
antenna. It does so by taking into account the spatial propagation of
radio signal and applying, based on such info, a multiplicative
process to the transmitted signal, that can (if suitably designed)
the transmitted info interdicted (and actually cryptographically secure)
unwanted regions of the space while leaving it unaltered elsewhere. It’s
not a replacement for traditional crypto but, i believe, it’s a powerful
complement to it.

With respect to previous literature in the field, which only applied the
concept to legacy, very simple radio systems, we devised and
demonstrated a
way of putting it on top of state of art radio-transmission systems such
ETSI DVB-T1 & T2. Application to the satellite case (namely DVB-S 1 & 2)
has no roadblocks.

The relevant article for the job that was carried out is here:

and here is a brief intro for a hands-on demo we did provide within

Still, within IDS, I led the spec. design and set up the testing
for the radio subsystems (both payload downlink radios and C2 radios. C2
UAV systems ~= TT&C in spacecom) of our SD-150 HeRo UAV, which is this
thing here:

currently being in a quite advanced development phase and looking
to its “maiden flight”.

I’m currently managing iterations with providers of the radio subsystem
components to bring the whole thing as close as possible to our target
spec. We’re almost there, even if not exactly there yet.

I’m also taking care of some design issues for a set of smaller UAVs
the company is currently bringing to market.

Here SWaP constraints are what makes the job more difficult and relevant
some extent, even if radiocom requirements are quite a bit relaxed wrt
former (150 kg MTOW) case.

If this background is of some interest for SpaceX. I’m looking forward
discussing it in detail.



On 28 February 2015 at 00:35, John M.
[email protected]