Posted on 
Oct 17, 2023

Principal Systems Architect

Herndon, Seattle, Remote
Mid-Senior ICs
Engineering, IT
Software, Security & Developer Tools

BlackSky is a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence. BlackSky delivers on-demand, high frequency satellite imagery, monitoring and analytics of the most critical and strategic locations, economic assets, and events on Earth.

Job Description

Principal Systems Architect

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 talented and experienced Principal Systems Architect to support the development, operation, and capability evolution of BlackSky commercial products and government programs. As part of the systems engineering team, you will lead the design of BlackSky’s end-to-end system architecture, incorporating existing and emerging requirements, and you will build a roadmap to evolve our baseline architecture over the next several years. This effort will require investigating architectural trades and optimizations to facilitate scaling, reduce system latency, and improve extensibility/maintainability.

The ideal candidate has an extremely strong background in systems engineering and has broad experience building high-throughput, low-latency, high-performance cloud-based software systems.  Additionally, the candidate has a history of leading major projects with the ability to gather requirements, design scalable architectures, and lead diverse teams to implement solutions. This position will report to our VP, Systems Engineering and we would prefer a candidate local to our Herndon, VA office in a hybrid role. We may also consider remote candidates in certain states.


  • Lead systems engineering efforts to develop a multi-year reference architecture roadmap.
  • Identify and track system level requirements and effectivities, design new capabilities, and model and optimize current systems.
  • Work with team members and project management, setting a strong technical direction for projects, making sure that they are executed successfully and fully meet requirements.
  • Advise product/program leaders regarding potential technology insertion to improve performance, effectiveness, and efficiency. Identify future risks and develop risk mitigation strategies.
  • Regularly hold design reviews with the engineering teams to ensure implementations meet system requirements and performance thresholds.
  • Other job-related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications: 

  • At least 15 years of hands-on experience as a systems engineer, software engineer, system architect, cloud engineer, or other similar experience.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in engineering, computer science, or related technical field.
  • Systems architecture experience defining and documenting system designs, trades, risks, and associated performance requirements.
  • Extensive experience evaluating software implementations to identify and mitigate issues related to performance (e.g., latency, throughput, resource requirements, etc.), scalability, and maintainability.
  • History of leading technical teams to deliver scalable and flexible cloud-based systems.
  • Extensive experience with AWS cloud technologies.
  • Strong ability to communicate concepts with customers, management, and the technical team, highlighting actionable insights.
  • Understanding of key concepts related to on-premise and edge deployments in austere environments. Experience designing both cloud- and edge-based deployment architectures.
  • Must be eligible to obtain and maintain a US security clearance.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Extensive experience with satellite imagery or other high-throughput geospatial data systems.
  • Experience implementing computer vision and/or multi-INT fusion solutions in cloud environments.
  • Familiarity with space architectures (space vehicles, ground architecture, and mission planning, etc).
  • Experience modelling business operations and integrating technical systems with business processes.
  • Demonstrated experience with DOD/IC customers and processes.
  • Active TS/SCI clearance.

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 $200,000 -$220,000 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:

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