Job Title

Mechanical Design Engineer (Dragon Thermal Protection Systems)

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Job Description

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 Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) team tackles space exploration’s toughest problems by developing the heat shields for our Crew Dragon program. This hardware must survive the most extreme environments known to mankind and protect our vehicle through atmospheric entry. As a Mechanical Design Engineer on the TPS team, you will own these heat shields from initial concept development to final launch and flight. You will interact regularly with senior leadership during critical design phases and spearhead qualification and testing necessary to pass stringent requirements set forth by NASA with flying colors. You are especially strong in analysis and employ a ground up fundamental physics approach to problem solving, ultimately executing on our mission to bring the capability of flying astronauts back to the United States.


  • Serve as the engineer responsible for the ensuring the proper design, analysis, and fabrication of thermal protection hardware on SpaceX vehicles
  • Drive materials and attachment decisions on the thermal protection systems necessary to protect flight hardware
  • Proficient and frequent use of hand calculations, finite element analyses (FEA), and computer-aided designs (CAD)
  • Lead design reviews internally and participate in reviews with suppliers and customers
  • Support thermal and structural testing of components by developing test setups, writing procedures, and analyzing results
  • Develop and maintain schedules necessary to drive hardware to completion


  • Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, or engineering physics
  • 1+ years of professional or internship/project experience with hardware development


  • Master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Experience using NX (Unigraphics) or other parametric modeling software
  • Experience conducting FEA structural and thermal analysis
  • Experience with high temperature composites design and manufacturing
  • Strong understanding of thermal dynamics
  • Basic understanding of aerothermal heating and reentry dynamics
  • Ability to read and generate drawings
  • Ability to interact with engineers from other disciplines to develop loads, requirements, and constraints for thermal protection systems materials
  • Ability to deal with ambiguity


Must be available to work extended hours and weekends as needed


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or 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.

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Hawthorne, CA, USA
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