Propulsion Development Engineer

Company Details

At Virgin Orbit, we launch the small satellite revolution, accessing space for missions that were previously unimaginable and fostering new ideas and technologies to create a truly spacefaring civilization. We deliver Virgin’s legendary customer service by pairing technological advancements with a clear focus on our customers’ needs. We build a workplace and a workforce for the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today will launch the industries of tomorrow. We engage a diverse and inclusive community of dreamers and achievers in a shared mission to access space to improve life on Earth. At Virgin Orbit, we boost imagination.

Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve as a Propulsion Development Engineer. If you join us in this position, you will be a technical leader in design, development, test, and flight of pump-fed liquid rocket engines, components, subassemblies, and systems for the LauncherOne small satellite launch program. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. The ideal candidate would be a generalist with both component and systems level experience with liquid rocket engines, fluid handling, vehicle stages and systems, operations, sensors and instrumentation. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Support development, design, and maintenance of pump-fed liquid rocket engines
  • Perform sizing, determine loads, and execute design and analysis of engine systems, subassemblies, and components
  • Create and manage test and development plans for engines and propulsion components
  • Analyze and interpret engine test and flight data, and recommend corrective actions or operational upgrades based on this data
  • Manage test data, hardware configuration logs, and coordinate development activities with other departments
  • Assist in the development of manufacturing and integration and test processes and procedures, including hardware and software acceptance test procedures
  • Disposition quality escapes for production and development hardware, maintaining both design intent and overall program risk posture
  • Make development decisions based on technical merit, cost, and schedule metrics
  • Coordinate interdisciplinary projects that impact functional groups across the program
  • Communicate results verbally and through written reports
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Perform other duties as assigned

What you bring


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering plus a minimum of 2 years of related experience
  • Experience with liquid rocket engine development, design, test, and/or flight operations
  • Capability to solve complex problems with little to no supervision, on schedule, as an individual or as a member of an integrated team
  • Strong work ethic and ability to self-start
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Drive, high motivation, and commitment to improvement
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness
  • Ability to spend up to 50% time at our rocket engine test site in Mojave, CA
  • Ability to stand for extended periods – 8 hours minimum
  • Physical ability to handle items weighing up to 25 lbs (unassisted)

Preferred Attributes:

  • Familiarity with all or some of the following software packages: MATLAB, TeamCenter, NX, ANSYS, ROCETS, GFSSP, SINDA/FLUINT
  • Experience in low cost commercial space system ventures
  • Experience with air launched space launch vehicles or aircraft systems
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Ability to thrive as a ‘one person team’

ITAR Requirements

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.

Virgin Orbit is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Orbit 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, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Tagged as: Matlab, ansys, teamcenter, NX, space propulsion, rocets, sinda/fluint, test flight operations, rocket engine development, rocket engine design, rocket engine test, GFSSP, aircraft systems

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