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Thermal Engineer, Analysis (Starshield)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Friday, May 17, 2024

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.


Starshield leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts. While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on earth observation, communications, and hosted payloads.

As a Thermal Engineer, you are responsible for the thermal design, test, and validation of vehicles and hardware. You will make engineering decisions to improve the vehicles and increase the overall hardware performance to help achieve our goals.


  • Thermal design of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and hardware, from initial high-level analysis down to validation of performance with ground tests, flight, and orbital data
  • Automate workflow to reduce engineering investment in the design cycle
  • Pursue performance/robustness improvements
  • Pursue operational simplicity and seek to reduce burden on other groups at SpaceX
  • Produce quality documentation of your work to reduce miss-rate and improve efficiency
  • Review peer work


  • Bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of experience using scientific programming languages (internship or project team experience can supplement for industry experience)


  • Master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Experience with Thermal Desktop and ANSYS Workbench
  • Experience with 3D and reduced-order thermal modeling
  • Ability to identify sizing cases and quickly evaluate the impact of design decisions
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to deliver against an aggressive schedule
  • Active Top Secret or Top Secret SCI clearance OR willingness to pursue one is preferred. Note that an active clearance may provide the opportunity for you to work on sensitive SpaceX missions. If so, you will be subject to pre-employment drug and random drug and alcohol testing


  • Must be available to work extended hours and weekends as needed to meet mission critical deadlines
  • Must be able to travel - up to 10-25% work week travel may be required
  • This position is based in Hawthorne, CA and requires being onsite - remote work not considered


Pay Range:
Thermal Engineer/Level I: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year
Thermal Engineer/Level II: $110,000.00 - $130,000.00/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. Those with an active clearance will receive a 10% differential, up to an additional $15,000 annually, once officially briefed into a classified program.

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.