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FPGA Firmware Engineer

UrtheCast Corp. is a Vancouver-based technology company that serves the rapidly evolving geospatial and geoanalytics markets with a wide range of information-rich products and services. UrtheCast is growing and is shaping the future of earth observation. We provide the world with next-generation Earth Observation data using our growing system of space-based sensors. Our Crew members consider themselves agents of change as they work to provide Earth imagery and video data that enables heightened geospatial analysis. With that data, we build our products and services to help everyone — citizens, businesses, and governments alike — make advances in areas ranging from high-tech precision agriculture and forestry resource management, to the monitoring of humanitarian relief efforts. This type of large-scale change requires near-constant technological iteration and innovation, so UrtheCast continues to initiate unprecedented engineering programs like its planned UrtheDaily™ and OptiSAR™ constellations. Every day, we push the limits of what’s possible in space-based Earth Observation.

We are currently seeking FPGA Firmware Engineers for two different projects.  The desired skillset, as well as candidate areas of interest may vary between the (SAR-XL) and (SOAP) projects.

As an UrtheCast FPGA Firmware Engineer (SAR-XL), you will participate in the design of our next-generation Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload. Though the role focuses on FPGA firmware design, the ideal candidates will be versatile, with experience in the electronics, logic design, digital signal processing, and embedded software aspects of large FPGA-centric projects.

As a FPGA Firmware Engineer (SOAP) will be involved in design and development of firmware for UrtheCast’s SAR-XL spacecraft within the OptiSAR constellation and specifically FPGA-based on-board processing systems. The work will include firmware requirements analysis, design and the development for on-board processing for Synthetic Aperture Radar image formation and ship detection on leading edge FPGA hardware


  • Complete the detailed DSP/ FPGA/ firmware design, implementation, integration, and testing
  • Generate the system-level design, including partitioning of computational workloads across different resources
  • Perform code reviews, design documentation, and mentorship activities
  • Contribute to the design of embedded software and hardware platforms


  • Bachelor or Master’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Electrical, Electronic Engineering or Engineering Physics
  • 5 to 10 years of FPGA firmware design and implementation - applicants with less experience in these areas will be considered for more junior level roles
  • Design experience specifically for space and algorithmic intensive systems an asset



  • An experienced FPGA designer (Xilinx, Microsemi, VHDL)
  • Comfortable with embedded software (ARM assembly, C/C++)
  • Familiar with low-level interfaces (JTAG, CAN, SPI, I2C)
  • Able to participate in system-level design
  • A strong verbal and written communicator
  • Familiar with source-code management (Git)


  • Knowledge of high-speed interfaces (Ethernet, Aurora)
  • Familiarity with a high-level language (e.g. Python)
  • Familiarity with DSP theory and practice (FFT, DUC/DDC)
  • Embedded OS experience (Linux, FreeRTOS)
  • Experience with schematics and hardware design and manufacture
  • Experience in aerospace environments
  • Experience with Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR)


  • Experience using Xilinx Vivado, MATLAB/ Simulink with Xilinx System Generator for DSP design tools or equivalent
  • Experience using VHDL to create RTL designs for synthesis and implementation on FPGAs with challenging execution time and resource utilization constraints
  • Knowledge of FPGA hardware and IP cores (Aurora, DDR3/4, Ethernet, DSP)
  • Experienced in design verification and development of autonomous behavioural test-bench environments
  • Experience in implementing, integrating and debugging designs on FPGA hardware, such as prototype boards and evaluation kits
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills


  • Working knowledge of RADAR, especially Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • Familiar with model-based design approach
  • Experience in SAR image formation processing algorithms and basic signal detection
  • Background in real-time systems, DSP algorithms and their implementations
  • Enthusiasm for innovation
  • Prior experience in a start-up environment


  • Fast-paced, open-concept, dynamic team, production-critical, constantly evolving
  • Occasional overtime required
  • Occasional travel required

What can we offer you?

  • Competitive compensation, full benefits and flexible time off
  • Great work environment, team and office location right over the water in the new Vancouver Convention Centre
  • Great lunch programs will provide you with an opportunity to learn and socialize, and our Friday afternoons will set the right mood for the weekend
  • Free gym membership
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