Senior Propulsion Engineer

The Aerospace Corporation
Center, TX
Added: April 16, 2024
The Aerospace Corporation is the trusted partner to the nation’s space programs, solving the hardest problems and providing unmatched technical expertise. As the operator of a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), we are broadly engaged across all aspects of space— delivering innovative solutions that span satellite, launch, ground, and cyber systems for defense, civil and commercial customers. When you join our team, you’ll be part of a special collection of problem solvers, thought leaders, and innovators. Join us and take your place in space.

At Aerospace, we are committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace for all employees to share in our common passion and aspiration – to carry out a mission much bigger than ourselves.

Building on The Aerospace Corporation's reputation as a trusted, impartial advisor with integrity and dedication to mission success, the Civil Systems Group (CSG) combines deep technical expertise with market-leading innovation to help our customers solve complex systems engineering and integration challenges. CSG is organized by core customer-facing lines of business to manage and grow programs within NASA, NOAA, and the NNSA, while extending our capabilities to other civilian federal government agencies fully integrated within Aerospace rules, regulations, processes, values, and behaviors.

Our team provides expert technical assistance for spacecraft propulsion systems used on a broad range of space vehicles, from technology development through on-orbit operations. You will collaborate with our NASA customer and industry contractors to ensure the success of high-priority space missions with challenging propulsion requirements. Your work will potentially involve propulsion system development, manufacture, testing, and operations for multiple programs. You must be willing to learn a broad range of new technologies and systems, and confidently advise customers in making critical decisions.

This position will support NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering Directorate’s Propulsion and Power Systems Division in a subsystem engineer capacity across various Human Spaceflight Programs.

This is a full-time, 100% onsite position at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX.

What You’ll Be Doing

Supporting the development of advanced spacecraft propulsion systems for national space missions, using new technologies to allow more responsive operations:

  • Participate in the overall design, development, test and evaluation of exploration program the propulsion systems and propellant tanking and delivery subsystems
  • Develop program requirements, risks, and hazards and evaluate inspection, analysis, and test products to support verification or risk/hazard reduction
  • Participate in support and/or lead roles in technical interchange meetings, hardware reviews, flight data reviews, Preliminary Design Reviews (PDRs), Critical Design Plan, coordinate, manage, evaluate, and report upon analyses, studies, and tests of components and systems
  • Resolve unique or novel problems, conditions, and issues as related to the assigned exploration program propulsion systems development
  • Perform technical evaluation of chemical propulsion systems used for spacecraft programs
  • Review contractor products and NASA defined requirements to verify requirement compliance and general propulsion system efficiency and effectivity
  • Provide real-time support during test, launch, and operations of spacecraft propulsion systems.
  • Function as liaison for flight Anomaly Resolution review and In-Flight Investigation review, capable of solving propulsion questions with low levels of information
  • Maintain awareness of NASA propulsion activities by being an active participant in technical, safety, and integration working groups and meetings
  • Prepare reports and presentations to communicate results and recommendations to Aerospace program offices and NASA
  • Develop technical and progress reports covering assigned tasks which are made available to other technical groups and agencies

Minimum Requirements

What You Need to be Successful

  • Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited program in a STEM discipline.
  • At least 10 years of professional engineering/scientific experience, including experience in a systems engineering and/or project management environment.
  • Experience with in-space spacecraft chemical-propulsion systems and propellant tank / delivery subsystems
  • Unique experience in one of the following is highly desired:
    • Experience with design, development, qualification, and acceptance requirements for pressure fed in space bi-prop NTO/MMH engines.
    • Experience in structural analysis capable of verifying compliance with requirements for stress factors of safety, fatigue, etc.
  • Knowledge and understanding of NASA and/or DOD program life cycle.
  • Ability to effectively utilize oral and written communication to express technical concepts.
  • Experience working across diverse teams and many different engineering disciplines.
  • Knowledge of fundamental and advanced engineering principles in aerospace, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics used in the design, evaluation and optimization of propulsion and propellant systems for space flight vehicles.
  • Knowledge of space flight certification processes to ensure performance and safety requirements are met (including knowledge of NPR 7120, EA-WI-023, or equivalent processes)
  • Knowledge in the design and development of major elements of ground test and space flight systems required to demonstrate the utilization of propulsion and propellant systems.
  • Willing to travel domestically approx. 10%
  • This position may require ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance, which is issued by the U.S. government. U.S. citizenship is required to obtain a security clearance.
How You Can Stand Out

It would be impressive if you have one or more of these:

  • Master of Science degree or PhD from an accredited program in a STEM discipline.
  • More than 10 years of professional engineering/scientific experience, including experience in a systems engineering and/or project management environment.
  • Completed course work in astrodynamics, combustion, control theory, systems engineering/design.
  • Familiarity with a variety of spacecraft propulsion systems
  • Knowledge of space system engineering practices and standards
  • Experience with hot fire testing or working with storable propellant chemical rocket engines.
  • Experience in hypergolic propulsion systems and/or refueling
  • Familiarity working with international partners and human space flight
  • Knowledge and understanding of the NASA program life cycle
  • Exposure performing in or leading technical and programmatic tasks for NASA
  • Experience in aerospace industry project management and working closely with customers and/or contractors

Leadership Competencies

Our leadership philosophy is simple: every employee, regardless of level and role, can demonstrate leadership. At Aerospace, our commitment is our people. To cultivate our talent and ensure that we have a strong pipeline of future leaders, we want individuals who:

  • Operate Strategically
  • Lead Change
  • Engage with Impact
  • Foster Innovation
  • Deliver Results

Ways We Reward Our Employees

During your interview process, our team will provide details of our industry-leading benefits.

Benefits vary and are applicable based on Job Type. A few highlights include:

  • Comprehensive health care and wellness plans
  • Paid holidays, sick time, and vacation
  • Standard and alternate work schedules, including telework options
  • 401(k) Plan — Employees receive a total company-paid benefit of 8%, 10%, or 12% of eligible compensation based on years of service and matching contributions; employees are immediately eligible and vested in the plan upon hire
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Variable pay program for exceptional contributions
  • Relocation assistance
  • Professional growth and development programs to help advance your career
  • Education assistance programs
  • An inclusive work environment built on teamwork, flexibility, and respect

We are all unique, from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, yet one thing bonds all of us to each other—the belief that we can make a difference. This core belief empowers us to do our best work at The Aerospace Corporation.

Equal Opportunity Commitment

The Aerospace Corporation is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We believe that a diverse workforce creates an environment in which unique ideas are developed and differing perspectives are valued, producing superior customer solutions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, color, religion, genetic information, marital status, ancestry, national origin, protected veteran status, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, or disability status and any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. If you’re an individual with a disability or a disabled veteran who needs assistance using our online job search and application tools or need reasonable accommodation to complete the job application process, please contact us by phone at 310.336.5432 or by email at You can also review Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal, as well as the Pay Transparency Policy Statement.