Satellite Soil Moisture/Terrestrial Hydrology Remote Sensing Specialist at Spire

Spire Global is a 150-person space data company founded in 2012. In less than six years, Spire has built one of the world's largest satellite constellations, and we're just getting started.

As a Satellite Soil Moisture/Terrestrial Hydrology Remote Sensing Specialist at Spire, you will be an integral part of a small but agile team focused on developing and operating satellite GNSS bistatic radar missions (aka “GNSS reflections” or “GNSS-R”) for terrestrial hydrology applications.
You will work across the various disciplines of bistatic radar and soil moisture remote sensing mission design and analysis, GNSS-R retrieval algorithm development, and measurement calibration and validation. You will work with the world’s premier nanosatellite GNSS science team to implement GNSS-R capabilities for terrestrial hydrology applications on our state-of-the-art CubeSat GNSS payload.

You will develop the soil moisture remote sensing algorithms and codes to turn GNSS-R bistatic radar measurements of the Earth surface into valuable terrestrial hydrology products (soil moisture, soil freeze-thaw, flood inundation, wetlands mapping, etc.) for a wide variety of global customers, and these products will lead the field in Earth observations from commercial CubeSats.
You will have the responsibility to ensure that we deliver high-quality, low-latency Earth remote sensing products and the freedom to pursue novel, high-impact applications. And instead of your ideas and efforts sitting on a shelf or hidden in an academic journal, you will see and experience them actually working in space within months of conception and being used operationally by scientists and other end-users for years to come.

Responsibilities of your role:

  • Contributing to the mission design and operation of a GNSS-R bistatic radar payload on a large and growing constellation of Earth observation CubeSats.
  • Working with the GNSS payload team to implement GNSS-R retrieval algorithms focused on terrestrial hydrology applications into the existing and new versions of the GNSS bistatic radar receiver payload.
  • Conducting soil moisture feasibility studies to inform mission and payload design that delivers for customer needs.
  • Modeling of scattering from terrestrial surfaces and estimating the sensitivity of passive bistatic radar signals of opportunity (e.g., GNSS) to retrieval of variables of interest.
  • Retrieval algorithm development for the conversion of low-level GNSS-R measurements into calibrated measurements of Earth surface bistatic radar cross section and derived products (soil moisture, soil freeze-thaw, flood inundation, wetlands mapping, etc.).
  • Conducting thorough calibration and validation of the measurements to improve their quality and to document their accuracy and precision for customers.
  • Actively participating in external cal-val campaigns with other soil moisture satellite missions to build synergies and partner relationships.  
  • Supporting commissioning and operation of the GNSS-R payload after launch and performing agile development while on orbit to constantly increase capabilities and improve performance of the terrestrial hydrology remote sensing products.

Qualifications / Experience:

  • Direct experience in satellite or aircraft-based GNSS-R remote sensing, scatterometry, radiometry, or other radar remote sensing.
  • Ph.D. or M.S. in remote sensing, preferably satellite microwave radar and/or radiometry, electrical engineering, applied physics, or related field.
  • Publication record in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Strong computer skills, preferably in Linux.
  • Experience with programming and data analysis in Python (preferred) or Matlab/Octave.
  • Strong background in physics, mathematics, and statistics.
  • In-depth knowledge in terrestrial hydrology remote sensing.
  • Background and experience with land surface scattering or emission models applied to active or passive remote sensing.
  • Exceptionally well-organized, with the ability to go as deep as needed in any project to identify and resolve problems.
  • Adaptability to new ideas and the ability to push the envelope of GNSS and remote sensing capabilities to deliver unique applications in Earth observations.

Strong candidates will also possess skills in one or more of the following areas:

  • Demonstrable background and experience in GNSS-R, radiometry, or radar sensing of soil moisture and its applications.
  • Ph.D. thesis topic in GNSS-R, radiometry, or radar remote sensing.
  • Knowledge of radio frequency engineering, including hardware, signal processing, and interference mitigation.
  • Experience in calibration and validation of remote sensing data.
  • Experience in large scale data processing systems, including ingesting and analyzing large quantities of remote sensing data from various sources.