Virgin Orbit, LLC

Lead Aerospace Engineer, Structures

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.



Lead Aerospace Engineer, Structures


Position Summary 

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member for our team to serve as a Lead Aerospace Engineer, Structures.  In this position, you will develop structural/mechanical hardware and systems on the LauncherOne small satellite launch program and act as a technical expert.  Ownership is “cradle-to-grave”, where you will serve as the Responsible Engineer for a project, with a high level of ownership and responsibility, from requirements setting, through design, analysis, production, and testing, to integration and flight.


Hardware ownership can include items such as primary and secondary structures, mechanisms, propulsion routings and separation systems, as well as associated high-level layouts. It’s not unusual for our engineers to find themselves out on the floor (or at the launch site) solving exciting problems one week, and then back in the office designing/analyzing novel, light-weight hardware the next.


Leadership includes a key role working with various technologies for system level decisions and problem solving, representing Vehicle Engineering in critical reviews, and mentoring less experienced Engineers.


Virgin Orbit is in the process of improving vehicle performance through targeted redesign and requalification tasks, design for manufacturing (DFM) improvements, mass savings improvements, and cost reduction initiatives; placing emphasis on collaborative cross-discipline design, structural analysis, and project management skills.

Your Mission

  • Design, analysis and qualification of carbon-epoxy and metallic vehicle structures
  • Develop a variety of other vehicle structural elements and configurations in concert with other engineering disciplines
  • Assist in the development of manufacturing, integration, and test processes and procedures
  • Act as a technical leader and mentor for strength analysis and analysis methodologies
  • Support launch and mission operations
  • Constantly learn new things—and share them with your team members
  • Perform other duties as assigned
  • Help Virgin Orbit do our part to make the world a better place

What you bring

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

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or similar field
  • 8+ years of structural and mechanical design experience in in a manufacturing environment, especially where mass and cost are critical
  • Self-driven, with a strong background in pragmatic project management, problem solving, organization, inter-team communication skills, and attention to detail
  • Must be a U.S. person as defined by the ITAR (22 CFR §120.15)
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Ability and desire to perform in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Self-driven, highly motivated, and committed to improvement, inter-team communication skills, and attention to detail
  • 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.

  • Strong background in strength analysis methods, especially for pressurized and unpressurized cylindrical structures
  • Expertise in the practical design of carbon fiber composites for aerospace structures
  • Expertise in Finite Element Analysis using industry tools such as NASTRAN, FEMAP and ABAQUS
  • Knowledge of design, analysis, fabrication and test of composite structures, of metallic structures, and of mechanisms
  • Expertise in computer aided design (CAD) in a controlled environment, both modeling and drafting skills, especially using NX/Teamcenter
  • Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T)
  • Ability and desire to perform in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment
  • Experience in low-cost commercial space system ventures
  • 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. 


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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.