Lead Thermal Engineer

El Segundo, California
Engineering – Hardware Engineering /
Full-time /
ABL Space Systems was founded in 2017 by veterans of SpaceX and Morgan Stanley to develop low-cost launch vehicles for the small satellite industry. More importantly, we’re building a launch system we are truly proud of – no gimmicks or over-design, just reliable, rapidly deployable launches. We’re an ambitious team with big goals and, together, we’re determined to prove that reaching space can be simple, efficient, and routine.  

When launch day arrives, we want you by our side

Lead Thermal Engineer

The hardware development team is responsible for a variety of mechanical systems across the vehicle, including avionics enclosures, vibration and thermal management systems, complex fluid manifolds, and secondary structures. As a Lead Thermal Engineer at ABL, you will take complete, end-to-end ownership of the models used to define the thermal environments across the RS1 vehicle and beyond. You will identify thermal risks and propose, design, and validate the systems used to mitigate them. 

We are a group of well-rounded engineers who thrive in a fast-paced, ever-evolving work environment. You will need to excel at collaborating with other engineers and disciplines to produce clear and actionable models and analyses. With your creativity, energy, and sound technical fundamentals, you’ll help develop and refine the next generation of robust launch vehicles for high cadence production and flight. 


    • Full ownership for the development and validation of the thermal model for RS1 launch vehicle and future programs 
    • Design and implement thermal protection systems such as insulation, coatings, and MLI 
    • Perform detailed steady-state and transient thermal analysis for avionics, components, and other mechanical systems 
    • Develop a standard set of thermal solution technologies and methodologies for their design, analysis, and integration 
    • Understand and identify impactful thermal risks and recommend thoughtful solutions and mitigations 
    • Recommend instrumentation design for vehicle-level testing to use for analysis validation 
    • Develop plans and perform component-level testing to gain critical insights into system performance 
    • Analyze operations and flight data to continually improve accuracy of thermal predictions 
    • Mentor other engineers on the team


    • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical/aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, or other relevant field (or equivalent 10+ years of thermal analysis or design experience)
    • 6+ years of experience working in aerospace, defense, automotive, or equivalent professional environments with direct hands-on experience developing and testing thermal systems  


    • 7+ years experience working with launch vehicles or spacecraft 
    • Experience working across engineering groups to define requirements and implement solutions 
    • Technical writing and communication including test plans and data reviews 
    • Experience with Siemens NX or equivalent CAD software 
    • Experience with finite element analysis software (ANSYS, Thermal Desktop, Abaqus, or similar) 
    • Experience developing vehicle-level thermal environments using Thermal Desktop 
    • Competency creating thermal codes in Matlab and/or Python 
    • Experience using CFD (ANSYS Fluent or similar) to solve thermofluid problems 
    • Working knowledge of aerospace launch vehicle environments and typical heat sources and sinks 
    • Ability to determine sufficient fidelity needed for analysis to quickly obtain results 
    • Experience with Teamcenter or other PLM systems 


    • Critical thinking:  ABL engineers understand the “why” behind all design decisions, operational events and test outcomes.
    • Ability to deal with ambiguity: ABL engineers must be comfortable defining their own pathway to an objective.
    • End-to end ownership:  projects are delivered fully complete and ready for flight.


    • Ability to travel on short notice (Expect 10% travel).  
    • Ability to sit or stand for extended periods of time.   
    • Ability to use a computer to complete assignments.  
    • Ability to communicate with individuals and groups in person, by phone and telepresence.   
    • While performing the duties of this job, the employee will typically work in an office environment.
$145,000 - $210,000 a year
The salary range for this role is $145,000 - $210,000. This is the lowest to highest salary we reasonably and in good faith believe we would pay for this role at the time of this posting. We may ultimately pay more or less than the posted range, and the range may bemodified in the future. An employee’s pay position within the salary range will be based on several factors including, but not limited to, relevant education, qualifications, certifications, experience, skills, geographic location, performance, and business or organizational needs. 
We offer a comprehensive package of benefits including paid time off, medical/dental/vision insurance, and 401(k) to eligible employees.
ITAR Requirement
This position requires access to information protected under US export control laws, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and/or the Export Administration Regulations.  As such, US person status (including US citizens, U.S. permanent residents, individuals granted U.S. asylum status, or individuals admitted in U.S. refugee status) is a required qualification for this position.

Equal Opportunity Employer
We are an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, genetics, or citizenship status (when otherwise legally authorized to work and access export-controlled data) and will not be discriminated against on the basis of such characteristics or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. We encourage applicants of all ages.