Virgin Orbit

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Lead Engineer, Flight Test

Lead Engineer, Flight Test

Req No. 
Job Locations 
US-CA-Long Beach
Regular Full-Time

More information about this job

Who we are




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. Search all of our job openings on our career portal.


Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve as Flight Test Lead Engineer. If you join us in this position, you will assist in planning and executing the flight test program for the LauncherOne small satellite launch program. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Assist in planning and executing the flight test program of a 747-400 which has been modified to operate as the carrier aircraft for the LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle
  • Shape, communicate, and document flight test objectives
  • Develop test cards, as well as document, collect, and analyze data
  • Support development of our in-house data acquisition and instrumentation system
  • Interface with air to ground telemetry systems
  • Contribute to training scenarios, ops rehearsals and flight tests both on the ground and in the air
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Performs other duties as assigned

What you bring

If you want to join us, you’d better have all of these…

  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace, Mechanical Engineering or similar discipline
  • 5 years of Flight Test experience
  • Successful aviation/aerospace project engineering experience
  • Ground/Flight Test control room and/or Flight Test Engineer experience; experience in new or existing aircraft/space systems testing is desired
  • Experience in data acquisition and instrumentation systems.
  • Working knowledge of aircraft and space systems and familiarity with relevant aerospace standards (FAA, FAA‐AST etc.).
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness
  • 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 minimum
  • Must be able to stoop, bend, crawl, and being able to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Physically able to handle items weighing up to 25lbs (unassisted)


… and you should probably have a bunch of these, too.

  • 7+ years of experience in engineering projects including research and development efforts, aircraft systems, simulation, integration, and test
  • 3+ years of experience in developmental flight test
  • Large military or commercial aircraft flight test experience highly desired
  • Advanced degree such as Master of Science desired
  • Test Pilot School (TPS) grad desired.
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills with high attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Experience with LabView, IADS or equivalent
  • 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.


Personal Requirements

Our idea of a happy life: build rockets, work with brilliant people, serve purposeful customers, and open access to space. Sir Richard Branson’s belief is “If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success.” From the very start, we have placed top priority on growing and fostering a team of creative, diverse, and talented women and men. In the words of Sir Richard Branson “We believe it’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”

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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.



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