Virgin Galactic

Group Lead - Thermal Engineering

Company Virgin Galactic
Category Engineering
Req No.
Regular Full-Time
Location : Location
Additional Locations

Who we are

Virgin Galactic (SPCE:NYSE) Virgin Galactic recognizes that the answers to many of the challenges we face in sustaining life on our beautiful but fragile planet, lie in making better use of space.

Sending people to space has not only expanded our understanding of science, but taught us amazing things about human ingenuity, physiology and psychology.

From space, we are able to look with a new perspective both outward and back. From space, the borders that are fought over on Earth are arbitrary lines. From space it is clear that there is much more that unites than divides us.


We are at the vanguard of a new industry determined to pioneer twenty-first century spacecraft, which will open space to everybody — and change the world for good.  Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Galactic


If you are looking for a challenging opportunity that will ignite your passion for designing cool and innovative products, are exceptionally creative, are a great problem solver, and can make things happen - apply today!

Your Mission

Virgin Galactic is seeking a seasoned engineering leader with an open and transparent communication style, who empowers the team members and creates an environment that allows them to be at their best. The candidate will build on an intimate knowledge of all aircraft systems. The Group Lead will also support cross-functional initiatives that support the overall business goals.


The Group Lead Thermal will be leading a team of highly skilled Thermal Engineers. Responsibilities include developing the team, providing technical leadership and mentorship, promoting a culture of continual improvement and quality as well as setting examples of the desired behaviors.

  •  Develop and ensure conformity to standards, procedures, and best practices; both company-level and those specific to the team
  • Ensure that deliverables meet or exceed expectations.
  • Carry out performance reviews, set goals, create career development and succession plans
  • Oversee the development of heat transfer models as well as improvements of the thermal simulation and testing capabilities
  • Accountable for adequate support regarding scoping, budgeting, scheduling and execution of current and future vehicle design, build and test activities
  • Work with other internal and external engineering groups to ensure proper application of design requirements
  • Develop and substantiate thermal design objectives and requirements for unique vehicles with unconventional configurations
  • Develop and improve standards, processes, and best practices
  • Determine methods and procedures on new assignments and coordinate activities of the team members
  • Develop technical roadmaps, concepts, and approaches that establish strategic direction for the discipline

What you bring

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, and/or equivalent, with a minimum of 8 years of related experience
  • Minimum 2 years of experience in leading an engineering team or an Integrated Product Team
  • Good understanding of thermodynamics and heat transfer first principles
  • Proven experience in aerodynamics, simulation development, and thermal analysis
  • Experience in flight test aerodynamic and thermal model validation and correlation
  • Working knowledge of aircraft and spacecraft systems as well as thermal protection systems
  • Test planning experience is highly desired, including flight and ground testing, writing test plans, instrumentation selection and planning, and data verification
  • Test execution experience is highly desired, including familiarity with standard flight test practices and safety processes
  • Familiarity with relevant aerospace standards and design criteria (AS9100, FAA, FAA-AST, NASA, MilSpec, etc.)
  • Strong desire and ability to mentor and lead talent development in a fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated ability to grow a team and set strategic direction, taking ambiguity into account
  • 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

  • Knowledge of software development best practices like code review and configuration management
  • Experience with relevant computational physics codes, CFD, FEA, Matlab, IADS
  • Project Management experience
  • Experience in other Flight Sciences disciplines


Additional Requirements

  • The position will be based out of our Mojave or Tustin offices with a hybrid remote/onsite schedule.


As part of our commitment to health and safety, COVID-19 vaccines are required for current U.S. teammates, as well as all newly hired employees. 

As of October 1, 2021, all new hires must be able to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, ( “fully vaccinated” means at least two weeks have expired since receiving the vaccination’s last dose as recommended by the manufacturer) . If  you are offered employment, this requirement must be met by your date of hire. 


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 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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