Virgin Orbit, LLC

Propulsion Design & Analysis Engineer (Future Consideration)

Job Locations US-CA-Long Beach
Req No.
Regular FT


Long Beach, CA



Job Type:


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 Propulsion Design and Analysis Engineer to join the team as a guiding member in the design of the propulsion group engineering products.  This is a highly specialized role valuing demonstrated experience in liquid propellant rocket engine (LPRE) design.  If you join us in this position, you will provide technical leadership for a diverse team via the guidance of new engine layouts, conceptual and detailed design of engine componentry, and rigorous implementation of design best practices and analytical methods in order to get a robust product into orbit.  The ideal candidate would demonstrate both component and systems level design and analysis experience with LPREs.  This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Work closely with the Sr. Director of Propulsion and other propulsion leadership to ensure the technical maturation and constant improvement of propulsion designs and the design/analysis approach itself.
  • Guide a diverse and technical team through component and system level design, layout, analysis, and engineering release of LPREs and stages.
  • Steer the propulsion team in the appropriate adoption and tailoring of industry standards & specifications.
  • Maintain and enforce program standard approaches to design, safety factors, material allowables, drafting standards, etc.
  • Ensure designs and analyses are held to the highest rigor and caliber.
  • Help foster continual improvement in designs and implement lessons learned into next generation programs.
  • Build up analytical methods and tools. Review and evaluate the set up and results of product engineers’ analyses.
  • Create and maintain design review templates and requirements, analysis criteria and tools set up, and advise on new modeling and analysis techniques and tools, etc.
  • Mentor teammates in good design practices for all aspects of LPREs from guide features for cryogenic seals to design for manufacturability to clean-sheet engine and stage layouts.
  • Mentor teammates in analytical approaches to unique and complex rocket problems, from 1st principals hand calcs to detailed CFD, structural/thermal, and high frequency analyses.
  • Lead trade studies, concepts evaluation, and system sizing for future components, engines, and stages.
  • Perform design improvement studies to optimize design for manufacturability, design for operability, cost, weight, etc., (and likely own the resulting design through engineering release).
  • Perform other duties as necessary in a lightweight engineering organization.
  • Get the job done – own challenging problems and solutions, drive to robust and effective LPRE designs in a timely fashion, and get those products into flight.

What you bring

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

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or similar.
  • 10+ years of relevant experience in the design, analysis, development, or operation of multiple LPREs and liquid propellant rocket stages.
  • Demonstrated experience in the design and analysis of liquid propellant launch vehicles with evidence of increasing responsibility.
  • Deep mastery in principles of mechanical design, structural/thermal analysis, and fluid analysis.
  • Ability to solve problems from first principals / hand calcs through detailed analytical models.
  • Knowledge in most of the following: CFD, Structural/Thermal FEM/FEA, Statistics, Material Selection, Fatigue/Fracture Control, High Speed Frequency Analysis, Dynamics.
  • Direct experience in the design and development of turbomachinery, combustion devices, and cryogenic components.
  • Knowledge in design of most of the following: Castings, EDM, TIG, OTW, NDT, Broaching, DMLS, DED, metallic composite structures, and other special processes.
  • Familiarity with most of the following software: Teamcenter, NX, ANSYS/CFX, MATLAB, GFSSP, SINDA/FLUINT, STAR-CCM+, NASGRO, NASTRAN, CEA, TDK.
  • Familiarity of industry standards and specifications from NASA, AMS, ASTM, DOT, etc.
  • A good attitude and team mindset. A strong desire and capability to mentor junior engineers.
  • Capability of solving complex problems with little to no supervision on schedule as an individual or as leader of an integrated team.
  • Rigorous attention to detail.
  • Strong work ethic; a self-starter who can dream big ideas and take them to engineering release.
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment.
  • Commitment to team and self-improvement.
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team.
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness.
  • Must be able to provide proof of US-approved Covid-19 full vaccination status, unless otherwise exempted by an approved reasonable medical or religious accommodation from Virgin Orbit.

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

  • Experience with the full product lifecycle, from concept studies to flight performance reconstruction.
  • Experience with LPRE qualification and certification programs.
  • Experience in system-level coupled loads analysis generation / engine systems loads and environments derivations.
  • Significant experience in design of additive manufactured (AM) parts is a plus.
  • Experience in low cost commercial space system ventures is desired.
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space.
  • Must be able to work all shifts and available for overtime as well as weekends when needed.
  • Though likely infrequent, must be able to travel to Mojave, CA to support test and launch campaigns.

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.