Virgin Orbit, LLC

Principal Propulsion Engineer, Engines

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.


Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve as a Principal Propulsion Engineer of Engines. If you join us in this position, you will serve as a technical authority on engines; ranging from performance to mechanical interfaces to system requirements to general operations. Some of examples of work would be participating or leading failure investigations, independent review of engine data, development of standards between engine product lines or engine certification documents with governmental authorities. This position will report to the Head of Engines that oversees the first stage engine (N3.X) and the second stage engine (N4.X) in both sustaining product lines and new/development product lines. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Serve as an engine expert who can provide approvals/rejections on Test Readiness reviews.
  • Review state point data pre and post test.
  • Management and review of test data (flight, subsystem, component), hardware configuration logs, and coordination of development activities with other departments.
  • Provide independent review and coordination of various engine teamwork products to ensure quality and consistency across teams
  • Work with engineers to define system and subsystem requirements.
  • Handle vehicle level assessments as needed.
  • Engine level liaison to other departments/Agency as needed.
  • Run analysis, review drawings, and BOMs as needed.
  • Participate in design reviews and direct other engineers’ detailed work.
  • Develop and grow departmental capabilities to improve propulsion system design, analysis, and business operation
  • Creation/Review/Approval of artifacts needed for launch approval.
  • Business-critical decision-making based on technical merit, cost, and schedule metrics responsibility to communicate findings both internally and to customers.
  • Ability to participate in fault tree discussions and drive relevant failure nodes to closure.
  • Assisting in the creation and management of test and development plans for subsystem verification. (pressurization systems, engines and propulsion components)
  • Coordinate interdisciplinary projects that impact functional groups across the program
  • Technical mentoring of colleagues in area of propulsion system design and analysis
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Perform other duties that arise as part of overall business operations

What you bring

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

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering
  • Minimum 10 years of related experience in liquid propellant launch vehicles and/or fluid network models
  • Experience with rocket development, design, and/or test operations
  • Capable of solving complex problems with little to no supervision on schedule as an individual or as a member of an integrated team
  • Rigorous attention to detail
  • Strong work ethic and a self-starter
  • 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...

  • Experience using CAD and PLM software preferably NX and Teamcenter.
  • Experience reviewing data, familiarity with MATLAB.
  • Familiarity with industry standards such as SMC-S-025.
  • Experience in low cost commercial space system ventures desired
  • Experience with space launch vehicles or aircraft systems desired
  • 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.