Virgin Orbit, LLC

Propulsion Stage Systems Engineer

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


Long Beach, CA



Job Type:


Who we are



At Virgin Orbit, we are launching the small satellite revolution, enabling missions that were previously unimaginable. We are delivering Virgin’s legendary customer experience by combining advanced technology with a diligent, hard-working team. We have built a workplace and a workforce of the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today are launching the industries of tomorrow. We have engaged a diverse and inclusive community of doers and dreamers alike, empowering all those working today to build satellites and constellations that will change the world.


At Virgin Orbit, we are opening space for good. Search all of our job openings on our career portal.



Propulsion Stage Systems Engineer


Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member of our team to serve as a Propulsion Stage Systems Engineer. If you join us in this position, you will be a technical leader in the physical build and support analysis of liquid rocket engine systems.  You will use flight, test, and design data to describe system performance across a broad range of conditions, in order to drive and validate the system design. You will also assist/consult with the manufacturing team to ensure changes or discrepancies are disposition and planned for appropriately.


The technical attributes of the ideal candidate include knowledge of liquid rocket engine performance fundamentals, familiarity of the performance metrics of major subsystems, significant hands on hardware experience (e.g. proof, leak, and vibe), strong problem solving skills, and coding skills (Matlab, Python preferred). The non-technical attributes of the ideal candidate include independent and able to understand top level goals, great attention to detail, and desire to work closely with people from other disciplines. The engineers on this team are highly motivated and interdisciplinary. This team has a focus in fluid systems, but with working knowledge and relationships with production, avionics, flight sciences, GNC, thermal, and structural analysis. This team is responsible for all propellant management fluid system development and design, flight readiness, pre-operation system checkouts, post-operation data review, troubleshooting, and anomaly resolution. This team fosters a culture of high accountability, respectful inclusive culture, proactive problem solving, and always being enthusiastic to help each other and other internal teams.


This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Work with Production & Integration to help produce a mission-ready rocket system to support our goal of rapid and reliable global launch
    • Provide support for addressing non-conformances and functional data review throughout the build process
  • Coordinate analysis and supporting rationales for deviations/non-conformances during build and test
  • Support data review for test and flight as required for stage propellant management systems
  • Become an expert on the design and functionality of the Propellant and Pressurization Management System for a single stage of a flight proven rocket. Interface with other departments to answer questions regarding the system and help facilitate impact analysis decisions when the team makes hardware changes
  • Perform propellant management system performance analysis of potential rocket engine flight conditions with industry standard tools
  • Reconstruct and anchor data from ground and flight performance into propellant management system models
  • Analyze stage system/propellant management plumbing and component behavior in all phases of operation, including transient and steady state, to diagnose behavior, investigate anomalies, and advise on design improvements
  • Own and continually improve tools for modeling propellant management system performance, including prediction and reconstruction of operation in flight and on the ground
  • Develop and maintain tools for data visualization and analysis including some automation features
  • Perform trade studies and concept evaluation of potential new designs
  • Perform development test and qualification test and/or analysis for hardware changes as required
  • Perform other duties as necessary in a lightweight engineering organization

What you bring

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

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant discipline (engineering, physics, chemistry, or similar)
  • Demonstrated computer coding capability
  • Experience with evaluation of fluid system data, data post-processing, and comparison to models and physical principles
  • Experience with some of the relevant software used in the aerospace industry, such as Matlab, Python, and GFSSP
  • Experience reading/creating P&IDs of fluid systems
  • 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 and ability to self-start
  • Ability and willingness to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Drive, high motivation, and commitment to improvement
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • 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.

  • Educational background in liquid rocket engines
  • Experience with pump fed liquid rocket engine and propellant management system analysis
  • Experience with liquid rocket engines and propellant management system analysis, with additional emphasis on cryogenic fluids
  • Experience with rocket turbomachinery performance parameters
  • Experience with instrumentation, data collection, and their impacts on performance calculations
  • Experience with typical liquid rocket propellant behavior, including cryogenic fluids
  • Experience with CFD, STAR-CCM+, Siemens NX, Teamcenter, and Atlassian JIRA
  • Experience with instrumentation, data collection, and their impacts on performance calculations
  • Experience with dynamic data acquisition, processing, and evaluation


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. 


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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.


Salary Range

$85,000 - $115,000