Propulsion Engineer
Merlin Flight Operations
Posted on 3/28/2023
West Athens, CA, USA
Experience Level
Desired Skills
Data Analysis
  • Bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of experience working with engines or fluid systems
  • Master's degree in mechanical engineering or aeronautical/astronautical engineering
  • Analytical/scientific programming experience
  • Hands-on hardware experience performing fabrication, assembly, and/or testing
  • Experience in collaborative coding within version-controlled repositories (i.e., Git)
  • Experience with Python
  • Proficiency in the basic principles of compressible and incompressible flow, thermodynamics, thermochemistry, mechanics, and materials
  • Basic familiarity with liquid propellant rocket engine cycles, liquid propellant launch vehicle fluid systems, and components used in launch vehicle fluid systems
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) and ability to succinctly present recommendations to stakeholders, the customer, and management
  • Hands-on hardware experience performing fabrication, assembly and/or testing (can be in a professional, academic, entrepreneurial, or hobby setting)
  • Experience testing liquid propellant rocket engines and/or working with pressurized fluid components such as valves and/or pneumatic systems
  • Experience with integrated vehicle pad and launch operations
  • Demonstrated track record of success in a rapidly growing, changing and highly technical environment - ability to act and execute in a scrappy, entrepreneurial manner against tight timelines
  • Profound sense of personal ownership and extreme accountability
  • Ability to think clearly and communicate concisely in high-pressure, time-critical situations
  • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, exceptional attention to detail
  • Great attitude in the face of extreme challenges
  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed
  • Must be willing to travel in support of test and launch operations
  • Ability to pass Space Force background check for Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB
  • 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. Learn more about the ITAR here
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the Merlin engine and its operation
  • Make critical decisions for the processing of Merlin engine hardware during build, test, integration, and flight to ensure 100% mission success
  • Define, implement, and validate engine acceptance and operational requirements to promote reliability, rapid reusability, and streamlined processing of engines
  • Take on primary responsibility for the success of Merlin engine(s) for a given test or launch campaign. Support test and launch operations across all SpaceX facilities, including live on-console support from Mission Control
  • Perform post-test and post-flight data reviews, and provide technical recommendations to Vehicle Maintenance team to enable rapid, reliable reuse of hardware
  • Solve undefined and multi-disciplinary problems, interfacing with engineering and technician teams from all disciplines across SpaceX (e.g., production, test, launch, stage propulsion, avionics, structures, guidance, navigation & control, thermal and fluid analysis, flight and ground software, mission management, flight reliability, etc.)
  • Work closely with commercial and government customers to drive down technical debt, mitigate flight risks, and ensure maximum hardware and software reliability
  • Lead engine anomaly investigations and drive these investigations to resolution
  • Develop new automation capabilities to enable extreme launch cadence - leverage coding for rapid test and flight data analysis, flight software verification, and other engineering processes and eliminate recurring work
  • Optimize recurring test and mission tasks to enable an increasingly demanding launch manifest

10,001+ employees

Designs, manufactures, & launches rockets and spacecrafts
Company Overview
SpaceX's mission is to make humanity multiplanetary. The company is working on a next generation of fully reusable launch vehicles that will be the most powerful ever built, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.
  • Benefits and Perks - Our employees’ well-being is important to us and essential to our capacity to do extraordinary things. We offer a wide variety of programs to support the health, wellness, and financial security of our employees and their families.
Company Core Values
  • Make History - SpaceX has gained worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones. It is the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, and in 2012 our Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. And in 2020, SpaceX became the first private company to take humans there as well.
  • Reusability - SpaceX believes a fully and rapidly reusable rocket is the pivotal breakthrough needed to substantially reduce the cost of space access. The majority of the launch cost comes from building the rocket, which historically has flown only once.
  • Landing - SpaceX’s family of Falcon launch vehicles are the first and only orbital class rockets capable of reflight. Depending on the performance required for the mission, Falcon lands on one of our autonomous spaceport droneships out on the ocean or one of our landing zones near our launch pads.