Principal Aerothermal Engineer

Company Details

Together we open space to change the world for good

Your Mission

The Principal Aerothermal Engineer will be responsible for advancing the engineering for the suborbital spaceplane SpaceShipTwo, Spaceship 3, the mothership Eve, and other special projects. The Principal Aerothermal Engineer will also be responsible for providing technical leadership and mentorship, promoting a culture of continual improvement and for high quality output within the Thermal Team.

Virgin Galactic is seeking a seasoned engineer with extensive experience in external heating and supersonic aircraft aerodynamics.  The candidate will build on an intimate knowledge of all aircraft systems. The engineer will also support instrumentation planning, mission control preparation, data processing, and model evaluation for flight testing and vehicle envelope expansion.

  • Oversee design & substantiation of the external thermal management system for VG spaceships
  • Develop external heat transfer models encompassing thermal radiation and convection using in-house simulators, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and finite element models (FEM)
  • Develop and maintain in-house thermal simulation capabilities
  • Support pre-flight preparation including review of test limitations, flight test plans and procedures, flight readiness reviews, mission control room support, and post flight analysis
  • Work with other internal and external engineering groups to ensure proper application of design requirements
  • Support entry into commercial service by ensuring that regulatory and internal company requirements related to performance, handling qualities and general airworthiness are met
  • Develop standardized analysis and reporting tools
  • Perform model updates from data collected during vehicle or component testing and data created with analytical tools
  • Develop and maintain test and simulation databases representing all mission phases
  • Develop and improve standards, processes, and best practices
  • Develop technical roadmaps, concepts, and approaches that establish strategic direction for the company
  • Lead projects, peers, and cross functional teams to solve complex problems and manage risk
  • Exercise wide latitude in determining objectives and approaches
  • Act as mentor and coach; support individuals and teams in their professional development

What you bring

Basic Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering, and/or equivalent, with a minimum of 15 years of related experience
  • Experience in aerodynamics, simulation development, and thermal analysis
  • Experience in flight test aerodynamic and thermal model validation and correlation
  • Experience planning, executing and supporting ground and flight test campaigns specific to stability and control and overall vehicle flight dynamics evaluation
  • Working knowledge of aircraft and spacecraft systems
  • Strong desire and ability to mentor and lead talent development in a quickly growing Flight Sciences team
  • Familiarity with relevant aerospace standards and handling qualities rating systems (FAA, FAA-AST, NASA, MilSpec, etc.)
  • Strong ability to work system tasks, and adept at communicating with multiple interfaces
  • Proven ability to lead technical work in an environment with multiple stakeholders
  • Excellent proactive communication (oral, written, presentation), interpersonal, negotiation and organizational skills
  • Ability to successfully complete assigned tasks with minimal supervision and oversight
  • Applicants must be U.S. persons as defined by the ITAR (22 CFR §120.15)

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Experience with reusable heat shield design for suborbital applications
  • Knowledge of software development best practices like code review and configuration management
  • Advanced programming skills: MATLAB, Simulink, Python, C, C++, Fortran
  • Experience with relevant computational physics codes, CFD, FEA
  • Experience in mission control and console development, IADS specifically a plus
  • Experience in other Flight Sciences disciplines

Tagged as: python, C++, fortran, simulink, nasa, FAA, faa-ast, milspec, Matlab

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