Staff Electric Propulsion Engineer

Alameda, CA
Engineering & Operations – Spacecraft Engine - Product Development /
Full-Time /
The Company

Astra’s mission is to Improve Life on Earth from Space® by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Today, Astra offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch dedicated orbital launch services of any operational launch provider in the world, and one of the industry’s first flight-proven electric propulsion systems for satellites, Astra Spacecraft Engine™. Astra delivered its first commercial launch to low Earth orbit in 2021, making it the fastest company in history to reach this milestone, just five years after it was founded in 2016. Astra (NASDAQ: ASTR) was the first space launch company to be publicly traded on Nasdaq.

The Team 

The Space Product Development team is producing low-cost, reliable, highly efficient, Hall-effect thruster propulsion systems for modern satellites and spacecraft. Our thrusters will be used in Low Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit, Lunar missions, and beyond. The team includes talented engineers who have designed and launched into orbit over 2,000 satellites over the course of their careers. Comprehensive design, prototype production, qualification, and acceptance tests are conducted within our Alameda facility

The Opportunity 

We are searching for an Electric Propulsion Engineer with a background in Hall-effect thruster (HET) development and test. You will work with an interdisciplinary team of other propulsion, engineers, mechanical engineers, systems engineers, analysts, machinists, electrical engineers, and technicians to bring designs to life. New programs come in frequently. You will be a primary contributor on a team that develops new systems/modules and launches them into orbit.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

    • Responsible Engineer for the Astra Spacecraft Engine (ASE) Hall-effect thruster (HET) across multiple custom programs and module configurations.
    • Electric propulsion expert for internal and external reviews and new business proposals.
    • Hot fire performance testing for characterization, qualification and acceptance. 
    • Design of innovative module configurations and layouts.
    • Document & update testing procedures, test & analysis results, inspection reports, FMEAs, requirement documents, work instructions, etc. 
    • Ensure best practices in our Product Lifecycle Management system (Teamcenter) including design documentation, process documentation, inspection, and quality control.
    • Ensure best practices in our requirements, compliance and verification system, Jama.
    • Deliver next generation designs capable of high-volume production throughput.
    • Set, implement, and maintain schedules and budgets to ensure project completion.

Why We Value You

    • 8+ years of professional experience in electric propulsion development or related aerospace disciplines 
    • 3+ years of design experience using CAD & PLM tools (Siemens NX preferred)
    • 5+ years of hands-on fabrication, assembly, and/or testing experience 
    • You have a strong understanding of various manufacturing processes 
    • You have strong propulsion engineering fundamentals including plasma physics, magnetic field design and analysis, cathode design
    • You can critically analyze problems and are excited by new design challenges
    • You are self-motivated and have excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or a related field
$120,000 - $157,000 a year
The stated compensation range reflects only the targeted base salary range in the San Francisco Bay Area and excludes additional earnings such as bonus, equity, and benefits. If your salary requirements fall outside of the range, we still encourage you to apply.

ITAR Requirements: This position requires compliance with U.S. Government space technology  trade restrictions, specifically the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and additional regulations governing satellite, launch vehicle, missile, and other related technologies.  All jobs restricted by these regulations will be contingent upon the applicant’s status as a documented U.S. Person or their ability to receive a trade license from the cognizant government agency; in addition to any required company background checks and in compliance with applicable U.S. and California laws.  Similarly, positions requiring the ability to work on government contracts or a security clearance are also contingent upon the applicants ability to receive the appropriate clearance and be allowed to work on U.S. government contracts.

You do not need to match every listed expectation to apply for this position. Here at Astra, we know that diverse perspectives foster the innovation we need to be successful, and we are committed to building a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

San Francisco Applicants: Astra will consider applicants with arrest and conviction records (criminal histories) in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.