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GNC Engineer (Starlink)

SpaceX

SpaceX

Mountain View, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 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.

GNC ENGINEER (STARLINK)

At SpaceX we’re leveraging our experience in building rockets and spacecraft to deploy Starlink, the world’s most advanced broadband internet system. Starlink is the world’s largest satellite constellation and is providing fast, reliable internet to 1M+ users worldwide. We design, build, test, and operate all parts of the system – thousands of satellites, consumer receivers that allow users to connect within minutes of unboxing, and the software that brings it all together. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Starlink’s potential global impact and are looking for best-in-class engineers to help maximize Starlink’s utility for communities and businesses around the globe.

As an engineer on this team, you will bring a passion and expertise in areas like control theory, state estimation, orbital mechanics, spacecraft systems design, optimization, and software development to join the Starlink guidance, navigation, and control (GNC). Come help us write the autopilot algorithms for thousands of satellites (the world's largest constellation!) and more than one million user terminals, enabling access to high speed broadband internet in all corners of the world.

There are several sub-teams within Starlink GNC with different focus areas. Applicants will interview for specific teams based on hiring needs and qualifications. Specific team responsibilities might include:

  • Satellite attitude determination and control
  • Satellite orbit control, such as low thrust trajectory optimization and station-keeping
  • Satellite collision avoidance
  • Precision state estimation and control of various network payloads (RF antennas, laser inter-satellite links)
  • Collaborating with hardware design engineers to strike the balance between performance, cost, complexity, and mass
  • Constellation traffic and fleet management, including all supporting ground tooling
  • Constellation- and network-level analysis of both existing and proposed systems

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Develop highly reliable and performant GNC algorithms, simulations, tools, services, and dashboards using C++ or Python; Starlink GNC Engineers write actual production code, not just prototypes for transcription by another team
  • Participate in architecture, design, and code reviews
  • Bulk data analysis to review performance data from various elements of the Starlink constellation and network
  • Write high quality technical documentation of programs, algorithms, or analysis
  • Support your relevant on-call operations rotation, commanding satellites or reviewing network data to keep our network continuously operating at peak performance

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor's degree in computer science, aerospace, physics or an engineering discipline
  • Software development experience in either C++ or Python

PREFERRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE:

Some preferred skills and experience depend on the specific team within Starlink GNC.

  • Master's degree or PHD in an engineering discipline or physics
  • Developed, debugged and deployed software that has been used in real world applications/projects
  • Creative approach to problem solving, exceptional analytical skills and engineering fundamentals
  • Cradle to grave development of three axis stabilized spacecraft incorporating momentum, magnetic, and propulsive control
  • Strong understanding of orbital mechanics, including low thrust trajectory optimization and station keeping
  • Experience in verifying GNC algorithm performance via simulation, and validation of the simulation's models
  • Experience with state estimation, particularly attitude determination, orbit determination, GNSS, and radio navigation
  • Familiarity with numerical probability of collision methods such as Alfano, Foster, and Hall
  • Familiarity with micrometeoroid and orbital debris analysis techniques for assessing on-orbit risk
  • General familiarity with the disciplines necessary for spacecraft flight including; structures, propulsion, avionics, GNC, flight software, dynamics, launch and mission operations, and integration. Practical experience in real world development of these systems is highly desired
  • Capable of identifying and solving complex problems with little to no supervision or direction
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, autonomously driven, and demanding start-up atmosphere
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

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

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:

Pay range:
GNC Engineer/Level I: $130,000.00 - $155,000.00/per year
GNC Engineer/Level II: $150,000.00 - $180,000.00/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 & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.

ITAR REQUIREMENTS:

    • 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.