Propulsion Engineer - Stage

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

Stage Propulsion Engineer
The ABL Stage Propulsion team owns the propulsion system at the stage & vehicle level. This includes:
-Engines, beginning with their installation onto the rocket through flight. 
-Stage Systems (includes feed system, dP mass sensing system, pneumatics & pressurization systems), from vehicle architecture through flight, with a focus on fluid analysis and operations.


    • The team scope is broad, which means each individual’s scope may be broad. We are the Stage Propulsion Responsible Engineers. You will likely end up acting in each of the capacities listed below, eventually focusing in on one of them or keeping your hands in the mix across all.
    • Hardware. Own engine hardware from the moment it completes acceptance testing until it lifts off. Perform engine refurbishment, work with Production team to install onto the vehicle, travel with engine hardware to test and launch sites, and climb into the rocket to troubleshoot issues, perform checkouts, or run inspections. Write clear work instructions that keep a strong record of work performed. Learn the hardware and fluid routing like the back of your hand. Perform trades on engine and stage-level system configuration changes and be the go-to for any hardware issues that the engine is facing in its path from acceptance test to launch.
    • Operations. Learn everything about engine operations and train to represent the propulsion systems on-console for stage testing and launches. Review propulsion system data and drive resolution to any issues or anomalies, generating strong documentation along the way. Question existing assumptions on how engines must be operated, develop criteria for evaluating engine health during and after testing, and automate strategically. Work with the launch team on-console to make under-pressure, informed calls on path forward during high-stakes test and flight operations. Make the final go/no-go call for RS1 engine system over comms in the countdown to RS1 launch. Your name is now “PROP” and you get to say “PROP is go for launch”.
    • Analysis. Perform critical pieces of stage systems analysis, like characterizing pressurization system behavior, quantifying feed system losses, or refining our mass-sensing systems and algorithms. Always stay grounded in real data, designing and driving component, system, or stage-level testing as required. Use your results to set future block architectures or set operational bounds for the next launch op. Create documentation that clearly communicates your methodology and rationale. Work with all other vehicle systems & teams – structures, GNC, launch, ground systems, avionics – to drive mission-critical decisions.


    • B.S. in any engineering discipline from an accredited university
    • One or both of the following experience bases:
    • Extracurricular projects or internships/co-ops
    • 2+ years of industry experience in an integration & test, design, or production role


    • In-depth understanding of compressible/incompressible flow and thermodynamics
    • Experience with pressurized operations
    • Ability to program scripts in Python
    • Ability to use CAD design software (e.g. NX, Solidworks, CATIA)


    • 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 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


    • The Stage Propulsion Engineer must be willing to travel to launch and test sites to support operations and integration work.
The salary range for this role is $75,000-$130,000. 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 be modified 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, permanent residents, asylees, and refugees) 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.