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SpaceX Propulsion Engineer (Vehicle Operations) in Hawthorne, California

Propulsion Engineer (Vehicle Operations) at SpaceX

Hawthorne, CA, United States

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


The Vehicle Operations team is dedicated to delivering Falcon 9 and its payloads to orbit efficiently and reliably. This team owns the operation of all stage-level fluid systems, from schematic design to in-flight performance verification. The engineers on this team are highly motivated and interdisciplinary, with a focus in fluid systems and analysis but with working knowledge and relationships with avionics, flight software, GNC, propulsion systems, and structures. This team is responsible for all fluid system mission design, flight readiness, pre-operation system checkouts, post-operation data review, and anomaly resolution. This team fosters a culture of high accountability, being proactive, and always being willing to help each other and other teams.


  • Meet a demanding launch manifest while maintaining the utmost reliability

  • Define mission objectives and implement in-flight operations

  • Develop, implement, and review system checkouts to ensure every fluid system on each vehicle is flight worthy

  • Provide input on and troubleshoot ground and flight operational issues

  • Perform detailed post-operation data review

  • Provide input on vehicle design and operation upgrades

  • Strive to optimize all per-mission work to reduce necessary engineering support and enable faster launch cadence


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline

  • 1+ years’ professional experience with propulsion systems and/or systems engineering


  • In-depth understanding of fluid mechanics

  • Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills

  • Ability to work effectively in a dynamic environment with ever-evolving priorities

  • Exceptional attention to detail

  • Ability to handle high levels of responsibility and demonstrate appropriate accountability

  • Ability to make appropriate assumptions and perform trade studies using first principles and engineering fundamentals to create rationale for clear recommendations

  • Familiarity with vehicle test and flight operation processes

  • Familiarity with common aerospace instrumentation (e.g. pressure transducers/RTD’s)

  • Able to prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment with ongoing drive for continuous improvement in all aspects of work

  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) and ability to succinctly present recommendations to stakeholders, the customer, and management

  • Able to work well in an integrated collaborative team environment, including frequent interactions with technicians, other engineers, and managers

  • Working knowledge of Python or other coding language

  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry and human spaceflight


  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed


  • 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 (https://www.pmddtc.state.gov/?id=ddtc_kb_article_page&sys_id=24d528fddbfc930044f9ff621f961987)

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.