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Lead Structures Engineer (Starship)



Texas, USA
Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2023

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 Lead Structures Engineer is responsible for developing the stage 1 or stage 2 primary structure and manufacturing system in the Starship Body Shop which builds the cutting edge of interplanetary vehicles. This role will flex heavily across design, analysis, and manufacturing - encompassing vehicle, tooling, and process design & implementation. The lead role will own the production and development plan for the vehicle and be responsible for trading and executing large scale projects to advance the performance (increase payload to orbit, reduce cost/t to orbit), and the manufacturing system as a whole. The lead scope encompassing of the full vehicle fleet which requires resolving manufacturing issues and executing the necessary changes to be able to hit performance and production targets with high reliability as we develop through the initial orbital flight campaigns and realize the goal of the first fully re-usable heavy lift launch vehicle.

The structures engineers on this team are responsible for supporting production, qualification, and design/analysis of hardware manufactured in the lines - and the manufacturing system itself. Development scope includes identifying inputs, detailed design and analysis, design reviews, qualification then implementation into production. This includes mechanical testing, weld process development, inspection techniques, personnel access, and all associated tooling to be able to create the flight hardware. Production responsibilities include creating and reviewing work instructions when designs evolve, working through issues which often require one off analysis to determine path forward.


  • Lead and develop a team of engineers
  • Mentor and foster the continual technical and professional development of team members
  • Design, manufacture, and qualification of flight and production (GSE) hardware
  • Develop and implement manufacturing processes, techniques, and tools to enable efficient and high rate manufacturing
  • Create, own, and communicate schedules for vehicle and/or manufacturing system upgrades & implementation.
  • Coordinate and execute development, qualification, and acceptance testing of systems, tooling, and facility improvements needed to meet production rate and quality requirements
  • Create original analysis, CAD models, and prints for flight and/or tooling components
  • Execute design for manufacturability changes to enhance production efficiency
  • Guide a team of technicians, welders, and fabricators in building high quality and functional flight vehicle hardware
  • Lead the on-site design engineering contacts for the efficient build of parts and assemblies
  • Source, retain, and advise new and experienced vendors from a technical perspective


  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, aerospace engineering, or other engineering discipline
  • 3+ years of industry product design, development, or build integration & test experience, specifically focused within welded and/or integrated systems
  • 1+ years of experience performing fabrication, assembly and/or testing


  • Experience in structural sizing, critical design review of complex products, and activation of custom manufacturing lines to produce at volume.
  • Experience in design and manufacturing of high precision welded Sheetmetal assemblies
  • Experience in advanced welding processes (PAW, Laser)
  • Master's degree in an engineering discipline
  • Experience recruiting, training, and managing a high performing team with wide scope
  • Experience with process development, facility and line layouts, and error-proofing
  • Experience owning the outcome of large scale product development and implementation
  • Experience with CAD and FEA software packages
  • Experience with controls systems for manufacturing applications
  • Experience in large structural welding
  • Experience in production facility design, outfitting, and activation
  • Experience with Unigraphics NX and Teamcenter CAD and PLM systems
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills


  • Position is based out of Brownsville, TX
  • Flight hardware typically is built in tight quarters and physical dexterity is required
  • Ability to perform job duties that require standing, kneeling, crouching, twisting upper body, working in cramped positions in small openings and climbing hand over hand
  • Typically exposed to work in extreme outdoor environments – heat, cold, rain
  • Work performed in an environment requiring exposure to fumes, odors, and noise
  • Schedule varies depending on site operational needs; flexibility required


Pay range:

Lead Structures Engineer: $125,000.00 - $175,000.00/per year

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. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave 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.