Virgin Orbit, LLC

  • Thermal Engineer (Contract)

    Job Locations US-CA-Long Beach
    Req No.
  • 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 a Thermal Engineer (Contract). If you join us in this position, you will assist in designing our next launch vehicle for the LauncherOne small satellite launch program. In this role you will predict and mitigate thermal environments while providing design solutions. 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

    • Perform the payload thermal analyses for the missions that we have on our launch manifest to ensure that we meet our customer’s thermal requirements
      • Includes all phases while the payload is attached to LauncherOne: on-runway, captive carry (when LauncherOne is attached to the 747), on-orbit
    • Be the main point of contact for all payload thermal issues, including interfacing with our Mission Management team to be on top of the deliverables for each mission
    • Communicate results through preliminary and critical design reviews with the customer
    • Analyze payload-associated hardware (e.g. payload adapters) and iterate with the Structures team to verify structural capability at temperature
    • Make significant strides in automating the payload thermal analysis process
    • Work in a multidisciplinary setting where clear and concise communication across teams is paramount to delivering reliable analyses
    • 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…

    • BS in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering or related STEM field with coursework or work experience in a thermal/fluids-related field
    • Experience building models and performing analysis with Thermal Desktop and SINDA/FLUINT
    • Experience performing orbital thermal analyses (orbital mechanics, space thermal environment)
    • Working knowledge of rocket subsystems including structures, avionics, propulsion, ground support equipment, GNC, and payload accommodation
    • Excellent communication and presentation skills
    • Ability to work independently and with minimal supervision
    • Computer programming skills such as Matlab or Python and demonstrated ability to automate complex processes and analyses
    • 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

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

    • MS in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering or related STEM field
    • At least 2 years of experience working in a thermal/fluids-related field
    • Working knowledge of satellite operation and thermal control
    • 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!”
    Search all of our job openings—

    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.


    Not ready to apply? Build the Future with Us for general consideration.