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Sr. Propulsion Engineer (Falcon Vehicle Operations)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 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 Vehicle Operations team is dedicated to delivering Falcon and its payloads to orbit rapidly and reliably. The Propulsion Engineers on this team are the system experts for all stage propulsion systems on Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. The stage propulsion systems consist of propellant management and feed systems, tank pressurization systems, attitude control systems, pneumatic systems, and hydraulic systems. The Propulsion Engineers are responsible for understanding the intricacies of each system, and are able to troubleshoot and resolve stage propulsion system issues as they arise. Additionally, Propulsion Engineers are responsible for supporting test and launch operations across all SpaceX facilities, including on-console support from mission control, developing and validating system checkouts, creating test plans and executing on those plans, completing preflight mission planning and mission design, conducting test and flight data reviews, and driving system anomaly investigations to resolution. A Propulsion Engineer is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is flight worthy up until the vehicle lifts off the pad. As the stage propulsion system experts, Propulsion Engineers are well positioned to proactively drive highly, immediately impactful vehicle design, operations, and performance improvements.


  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of all stage propulsion systems and their operations
  • Take on sole responsibility for the success of a stage’s propulsion systems for a given test or launch campaign
  • Define, implement, and validate propulsion system checkouts
  • Define, implement, and execute on test and mission objectives
  • 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
  • Lead propulsion system anomaly investigations and drive investigations to resolution
  • Solve undefined and multi-disciplinary problems, interfacing with engineering teams across SpaceX (e.g. thermal and fluid analysis, guidance navigation and control, avionics, engines, launch)
  • Identify and drive vehicle trades, including trades in design, operations, and performance
  • Optimize recurring test and mission tasks to enable an increasingly demanding launch manifest


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • 5+ years’ professional experience with propulsion systems, fluid systems, and/or systems engineering


  • Master’s degree in aerospace/aeronautical or mechanical engineering
  • Strong understanding of compressible and incompressible fluid mechanics first principles
  • Proficient knowledge of statics and mechanics of materials
  • Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills, exceptional attention to detail
  • Experience working with pressurized fluid systems and components, such as pneumatic systems, cryogenic propellant systems, pressure control devices, valves, diffusers, and fittings
  • Experience testing rocket stage or engine propulsion systems
  • Experience with integrated vehicle pad and launch operations
  • Familiarity with common aerospace instrumentation (e.g. pressure transducers, RTDs)
  • Familiarity with basic concepts of control systems
  • Hands-on hardware experience performing fabrication, assembly and/or testing (can be in a professional, academic, entrepreneurial, or hobby setting)
  • 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
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) and ability to succinctly present recommendations to stakeholders, the customer, and management
  • Working knowledge of Python and/or MATLAB
  • Working knowledge of version controlling software such as SVN and/or GIT


  • 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 Air Force background check for Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB


Pay Range:

Propulsion Engineer/Senior: $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 & 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.


  • 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.