Virgin Galactic

  • Propulsion Operations Engineer

    Company Virgin Galactic
    Category Engineering
    US-CA-MojaveUS-NM-Las Cruces
    Req No.
    Regular Full-Time
    Location : Location
    Additional Locations
    US-NM-Las Cruces
  • Who we are

    Virgin Galactic (VG) is on track to become the world’s first commercial spaceline. It is dedicated to becoming a world leader in sub-orbital commercial space tourism with a longer term vision to develop orbital flights for space tourism and other commercial applications. If you are looking for a challenging opportunity that will ignite your passion for supporting cool and innovative products, are exceptionally creative, are a great problem solver and can make things happen – apply today!

    Our Values

    The Virgin Galactic organization has a relaxed and informal culture that encourages individuality and innovation.  You will be motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic.  Company culture is such that you need to be able to “check your ego at the door,” be a self-starter and possess a sense of humility.  You will work well under commercial pressure and thrive on being given challenges and responsibility.  You will communicate clearly and be confident and persuasive. You will have a high level of integrity and understand the need of complete confidentiality.


    Who you are

    Virgin Galactic (VG) is seeking an engineer with hands-on experience and a strong background in rocket propulsion systems, preferably with hybrid or liquid propulsion or with high pressure fluids and composite overwrapped pressure vessels experience. Ideally the person in this role will have a background in design, manufacturing, integration, testing and/or flight operations. This role requires critical thinking across hardware integration and product lifecycles. Experience with typical rocket propellants (LOX, Hypergols, Hydrogen, solids, etc.) is a strong plus. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. This is a full-time position at Virgin Galactic’s aerospace facility in Mojave, California, then moving to Las Cruces, NM with commercial service.

    Your Mission

    Our Propulsion Operations Engineer will be responsible for coordinating and executing operating procedures for propellant/pressurized gases loading, helping maintain and operate the equipment during hybrid rocket testing, build-up, and installation/removal and operations as system expert, resolving and dispositioning rocket motor system issues, and implementing future improvements. This position also involves reviewing test and operational data and identifying and coordinating areas for further development, testing, analyses and improvement to ensure the system meets and exceeds all requirements for performance, safety and reliability. Responsibilities also include assisting with WhiteKnight2 aircraft powerplant technical operation and performance and related systems including Auxiliary Power Unit and fuel System.


    Duties include:

    • Coordinate and/or integrate with counterpart OEM (The Spaceship Company (TSC)) designers on modifications and/or design change proposals for assigned systems.
    • Review and propose concepts for redesign recommendations based on operational experience, reliability, maintainability, etc. on assigned systems.
    • Review and approve technical publications. Propose modifications where appropriate. Includes:
      • Review and approve repair manuals. May author portions as appropriate.
      • Approve and/or review disposition for component removals and replacements.
      • Author and/or approve troubleshooting dispositions.
      • Author and/or approve Work Instructions/Engineering Reports.
    • Develop and remain technical authority for assigned Flight Rules, Launch Commit Criteria, and Required Equipment List (REL) items, and how they interact for assigned systems.
    • Implement real-time decisions and/or issue waivers to hazard reports, flight rules, launch commit criteria, and REL items for assigned systems.
    • Provide control room systems engineering support in real time during the mission to monitor systems performance and recommend corrective actions on issues.
    • Perform post flight data analysis function, including continued development of system health monitoring and reliability data for more established systems
    • Perform analysis of tear down and failure reports for failed vendor components (if available)

    What you bring


    • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering from an accredited institution, with 5+ years relevant industry experience
    • Liquid or hybrid rocket propulsion operation and testing experience.
    • Aerospace high pressure fluids operations/test and analysis or design experience.
    • Excellent teamwork, organizational, communication, writing/documentation and problem solving skills.
    • Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint.
    • 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.

    Preferred Skills and Experience

    • Flight/Ground test experience (time on console monitoring critical systems)
    • Experience with CATIA V5 and SOLIDWORKS
    • Experience with data analysis software such as MatLab
    • Experience with the design of flight vehicles or vehicle systems to a set of requirements or standards such as CFR 14, Part 400, Part 23 and 25, military or NASA
    • Experience with fault tree analysis and multidisciplinary trade studies
    • Experience developing requirements and executing verification plans

    Physical and/or Additional Requirements

    • Must be able to work all shifts and available for overtime as well as weekends when needed.
    • Must be able to stand for extended periods – 8 hours min.
    • Must be able to stoop, bend, crawl, and being able to maneuver in tight spaces.
    • Physically able to handle items weighing up to 40lbs (unassisted).   

    Virgin Galactic is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Galactic 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. 


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