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Turbomachinery Engineer (Merlin)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 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.


As a Merlin Turbomachinery Engineer, you will own all aspects of ongoing Merlin Turbopump design, development, qualification, and production support. In this role, you will utilize your strong technical knowledge of turbomachinery as well as your ability to work with a wider team of specialists in the various pump sub systems to ensure maximum reliability of the Merlin engine. You will fully integrate with the Merlin development, refurb, and flight operations teams as we fly commercial, national security, and crewed missions at a pace of 100+ flights per year.


  • Support build, test, and flight of Merlin turbopumps for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy reusable launch vehicles
  • Review and/or update detailed mechanical analysis on all the turbopump components/systems, and confirm that they meet the required standards for life and reliability targets
  • Work with other engineers to ensure rotor-dynamics/bearings and other mechanical elements (seals etc.) are correctly defined and implemented or perform analysis as needed
  • Work with designers to support accurate and correct models and drawings for turbopump assembly and components, and ensure that these drawings are correct and able to be manufactured with the available processes (or develop process to enable them)
  • Ensure that detailed layouts and stack-ups are up to date and ensure all the correct build clearances and fits are set such that the turbopump can be assembled and run correctly
  • Work with manufacturing engineers and external suppliers to ensure Turbopump and key sub-assemblies are manufactured correctly and efficiently
  • Work with teams developing other systems on the engine (combustion devices, valves, etc.) to ensure optimal Turbopump integration, and that risks are minimized across the engine
  • Lead the resolution of issues encountered with the turbopump during testing or flight operations
  • Support ongoing design, manufacturing or reliability improvements to Merlin turbomachinery
  • Support M1D and MVacD engine test teams for development, qualification, and production engines
  • Support launch and refurbishment teams on-site to ensure reliability during continued engine reuse


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • 3+ years of academic or professional experience related to turbomachinery or rocket engine development


  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering
  • Master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Background in turbomachinery design (aero/hydro, CFD, stress analysis, HCF, LCF)
  • Hands-on experience with turbomachinery hardware build
  • Experience with turbomachinery manufacturing and design of manufacturability
  • Experience with turbomachinery testing and engine testing
  • Understanding of thermodynamics, compressible and incompressible flow, thermochemistry mechanics and/or materials
  • Professional experience using Siemens NX (Unigraphics) and ANSYS strongly preferred, Fluent or other comparable CFD package also desirable
  • Understanding of engineering fundamentals and the ability to perform basic analysis
  • Great attitude in the face of extreme technical and schedule challenges
  • Experience at a nimble engineering organization or in a highly technical position that required a scrappy, entrepreneurial manner to accomplish tasks with tight time or budget constraints
  • Full engineering lifecycle experience (design trade, CAD design, prototyping, manufacturing, testing, qualification, production, reuse)
  • Demonstrated track record of excellent academic and professional achievement
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with both internal and external customers
  • Ability to deliver against an aggressive schedule, without sacrificing safety or reliability


  • Willingness to travel in support of testing (McGregor, TX), launching, and refurbishing (Cape Canaveral, FL and Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA) (~15% of year)
  • Willingness to work extended hours and weekends as needed to resolve critical technical or timing issues


Pay Range:

Propulsion Engineer/Level I: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year

Propulsion 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.

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.