Virgin Orbit, LLC

Senior Propulsion Design & Analysis 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.



Senior Propulsion Design and Analysis Engineer


Position Summary 

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member of our team to serve as a Senior Propulsion Design and Analysis Engineer. If you join us in this position, you will be a technical leader in the design and analysis of all types of propulsion hardware, from piece parts to entire engines.  You will produce designs from conceptual to flight maturity levels, and analyze all types of propulsion data, in an effort to continually improve flight-worthy designs into ever higher degrees of performance.  The ideal candidate will have a diverse set of excellences, including structural, fluids, and thermal analysis; mechanical design; and hot fire performance data assessment. 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

  • Guide analysis, development, design, and manufacture of propulsion hardware used in pump-fed liquid rocket engines, including fluid-handling components, structural supports, and major propulsion assemblies
  • Make layouts of propulsion assemblies
  • Perform mechanical design of propulsion hardware
  • Perform structural analysis of propulsion hardware
  • Perform fluids analysis of propulsion hardware
  • Lead trade studies and concept evaluation of potential new designs
  • Release engineering of propulsion hardware, incorporating proper sizing, loads, environments, and interfaces with higher level assemblies
  • Advise on operational best practices related to all phases of hardware life, including ground test, prelaunch, and flight activities
  • Identify design solutions to facilitate streamlined manufacturing of propulsion hardware
  • Analyze data generated by propulsion systems, including engine hot fire tests, component tests, and flight data, to diagnose system behavior, investigate anomalies, and advise on design improvements
  • Mentor teammates in best practices of design and analysis
  • Develop tools and analysis methods to facilitate the foregoing responsibilities
  • Perform other duties as necessary in a lightweight engineering organization
  • 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 assigned

What you bring

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

  • Qualified candidates will have most of the following:
  • 5 years of experience with a Bachelor’s Degree, or 3 years of experience with a graduate degree, in a relevant discipline (engineering, physics, or chemistry)
  • Mastery of structural principles relevant to rocket engine hardware, including analysis of parts through finite element modeling (FEM), and knowledge of the best practices and limitations of such models
  • Mastery of fluids principles relevant to rocket engine hardware, including compressible and incompressible flow of liquids and gases
  • Knowledge of typical aerospace materials and material property sources
  • Experience in hardware design, following aerospace industry design best practices
  • Problem solving capability ranging from first principals and hand calculations through detailed analytical modeling, and a good grasp of which level of analysis is most appropriate to a given situation
  • Experience with evaluation of rocket engine 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 ANSYS, NASTRAN, FEMAP, NX, Matlab, CFX, Star CCM, and GFSSP
  • Familiarity with industry standards and specifications from SMC, NASA, ASTM, AMS, etc.
  • 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
  • Must be a U.S. person as defined by the ITAR (22 CFR §120.15)
  • 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.

  • Candidates are especially competitive if they have any of the following:
    • Experience in mechanical design for manufacturability
    • Experience with liquid rocket engine combustion devices
    • Experience with rocket turbomachinery
    • Experience with a wide variety of instrumentation
    • Experience with typical liquid rocket propellants, including cryogenic fluids
    • Experience with typical aerospace structural loading scenarios, including cases that combine static, dynamic, and/or thermal loads
    • Experience with liquid rocket engine hot fire testing
    • Experience with dynamic data acquisition, processing, and evaluation
  • Ability to thrive as a ‘one person team’
  • Ability to add something unique and positive to our team
  • Generally high level of all-around awesomeness


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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