Orbital ATK Careers

Senior Principal Scientist

Elkton, MD
Engineering and Sciences

Job Description

Job ID: JJG20180802-43786

Orbital ATK Missile Defense & Controls division is currently seeking Senior Principal Scientist to be located in our Elkton, Maryland office.  We are looking for a dynamic, creative, development-oriented chemist. The position involves the development of new solid rocket propellant formulations, including: the prediction of theoretical properties using chemical equilibrium codes; characterization and optimization of propellant properties including hazard, mechanical, ballistic and rheological properties. The candidate also may work as project chemist on existing production programs. The candidate is expected to have a strong safety orientation and excellent experimental skills.

With projected annual revenues of $4.5 billion, approximately 12,500 employees, and operations in about 20 states, Orbital ATK is a company on the move. Our mission is to ensure that our customers accomplish their mission - whether it’s a technological breakthrough, a satellite launch, or protecting our nation. The company is the world’s leading supplier of solid rocket motors, a leading provider of launch vehicles, satellites and other space systems, and the nation’s largest manufacturer of ammunition. 

United in pride and shared goals, Orbital ATK employees come from diverse backgrounds and work together to deliver reliable, innovative and affordable solutions. Work with the best and unleash your potential. If you are a dynamic, successful, driven professional, Orbital ATK is the company that will further your experience and career growth. We offer a highly competitive salary, comprehensive benefits including, medical, dental, 401k, tuition reimbursement, and much more.

The Orbital ATK Missile Defense and Controls (MD&C) facility in Elkton, Maryland began solid-propellant rocket operations in 1948. Today, the Elkton MD&C facility designs, develops, and produces solid-propellant propulsion and ordnance systems in programs professionally managed for a wide variety of Government and commercial customers.  The facility also serves as the hub for offsite engineering and test facilities in Ronkonkoma, NY, Palm Beach Gardens, FL and San Jose, CA.

Position may be filled at a different level commensurate with the degree of qualifications, directly relevant experience and objective evidence of performance.


Specific responsibilities may include:

  1. Work closely with project and integrated product teams (IPT) to develop advanced propulsion systems
  2. Oversee propellant development, characterization and manufacturing
  3. Work closely with systems engineers, project engineers and quality engineers to ensure requirements are met
  4. Serve as an R&D Laboratory liaison between IPTs and Manufacturing
  5. Document and present development, manufacturing status and testing results as needed.


  • Requires an M.S. degree in polymer science, organic or inorganic chemistry; a Ph.D. degree is preferred
  • Experience – 2 to 10 years of relevant industrial or post-doc experience
  • Experience in the formulation of solid rocket propellants is highly desirable
  • Other relevant formulation experience may be considered, e.g., rubber formulations, adhesives, coatings
  • Demonstrated independent work skills, technical expertise, innovation, problem solving and decision making
  • Candidates must be proficient in Microsoft Office applications
  • Experience with statistical experimental design, multi-variate data analysis and other scientific software
  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens and capable of obtaining a Secret level government security clearance

This position requires a self-starting, multi-discipline, multi-tasking individual with effective time-management skills. This position requires excellent communication, writing, and presentation skills.

Orbital ATK Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in ammunition, precision and strike weapons, missile-warning solutions, and tactical rocket motors across air, sea and land-based systems. We are the largest U.S. producer of small-caliber ammunition, as well as a leading producer of medium- and large-caliber ammunition and medium-caliber gun systems. Orbital ATK Defense Systems also develops advanced capabilities for missile-defense interceptors, fuzing and warheads, weaponized special-mission aircraft, and propulsion/controls.

Orbital ATK is applying entrepreneurial thinking and commercial practices to deliver reliable, innovative and affordable products and services to our customers and grow our core areas while harnessing new technologies that will take our products, and your ideas, into the future. When encouraged to think beyond the ordinary, you’ll be amazed at what you can do! We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability

Job Type: Full Time
Desired Travel: less than 25%
Years of Experience: 3-5 Years
Education: Bachelors
Expertise: Engineering
Group: Defense