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Automation and Controls Specialist, Starship Tower



Texas, USA
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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.


SpaceX is committed to developing revolutionary space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. The Starship Tower Automation & Controls Specialist will support the development of SpaceX's Starship Tower, part of a fully reusable transportation system designed to launch both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The tower team operates out of several SpaceX facilities: Hawthorne, CA; Starbase, TX; and Cape Canaveral, FL.

The Tower Automation and Controls Specialist role is a systems focused, multi-faceted position. The specialist will be responsible for installation and commissioning of new automation assets, panel builds, and drawing updates. Additionally, the Automation and Controls Specialist will be responsible for assisting maintenance with troubleshooting and repairs of existing assets, with the focus on improving long term reliability of systems, rather than implementing quick fix solutions. This role provides operational support in the review and interpretation of data collected on these systems. Specialists develop and integrate physical hardware including but not limited to wire harnesses, PCBs, custom enclosures, PLCs, data acquisition systems, and sensors. The Automation and Controls Specialist’s systems support operations that enable safe, economical, and reliable access to space.


  • Maintain the operational capability of all control voltage level electrical systems
  • Develop and upgrade data acquisition and control systems
  • Provide technical support and guidance for controls technicians and other non-controls engineering groups
  • Lead shifts of technicians and/or contractors efficiently
  • Develop new hardware and processes to improve capabilities, cost, and setup time of ground support electrical systems
  • Work with the software team in evolving software for testing ground systems
  • Analyze data to assess the function of electrical systems
  • Assist in the design and analysis of experiments to evaluate test articles
  • Perform other related duties, as assigned, for the purpose of ensuring an efficient and effective work environment


  • High school diploma or equivalency certificate
  • 2+ years of experience in a controls technician or specialist role


  • Occupational trade school qualification in an instrumentation or electrical-based field
  • Knowledge of NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code), NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety), NFPA 79 & UL508A codes.
  • Excellent communication skills—both written and verbal
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry and human spaceflight
  • Strong work ethic and drive to succeed as part of a high functioning team
  • Ability to rapidly change roles/responsibilities while working in a high-paced, challenging work environment
  • Ability to thrive in ambiguity, independently drive project progress, and manage multiple priorities
  • Knowledge of high-reliability processes and related documentation practices
  • Demonstrated ability to design, implement and troubleshoot data acquisition and control hardware
  • Fundamental understanding of engineering principles behind electronic equipment, instrumentation, and commonly used industrial equipment
  • Select and size electrical and electromechanical components such as servo motors, controllers, and VFDs
  • Experience designing and installing instrumentation and control systems in hazardous areas (NFPA 70 Section 500 installations); Class 1, Division 1 and Division 2 environments or IEC equivalence
  • General schematic capture and printed circuit board (PCB) design and/or verification and validation experience
  • Experience tuning PID controllers
  • Experience with electrical power distribution, working knowledge of NFPA 70 and NFPA 70E
  • Experience with connectorization standards such as IPC-620, NASA 8739.4, and D38999 specifications.
  • First-hand experience with programming and software development
  • Experience with industrial bus protocols such as Modbus, Profinet and EtherNet/IP
  • Hands-on experience activating, building, and troubleshooting analog electronic systems
  • Process integration and electromechanical / mechatronic systems experience.
  • Experience working with National Instruments cRIOs and cDAQs
  • Exposure to C/C++, Python, and javascript
  • Experience with Linux-based operating systems


  • Ability to perform job duties that require standing, kneeling, crouching, twisting upper body, working in cramped positions in small openings
  • Ability to work at elevated heights (200+ feet)
  • Ability to perform physical tasks such as climbing up and down stairs and/or ladders regularly throughout the day
  • Ability to lift light weight supplies or materials (up to 25lbs unassisted)
  • Available to work overtime and weekends when needed based on site operational needs; flexibility required
  • Work performed in an environment requiring exposure to fumes, odors, flashing lights, heat, cold, rain, and noise
  • Occasional travel to other SpaceX or 3rd party facilities, up to 25%


Pay range:

Automation and Controls Specialist/Level 1: $28.00/hour

Automation and Controls Specialist/Level 2: $32.00/hour

Automation and Controls Specialist/Level 3: $36.00/hour

Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k) retirement plan, short and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation and will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year.


  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.

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.