Supplier Development Engineer, Space Laser Optics (Starlink)



Redmond, WA, USA
Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2023

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


SpaceX space lasers demand a new type of supply chain. We require our suppliers to provide premium quality hardware, with rapidly evolving designs at increasingly ambitious volumes. We are actively looking for candidates who possess comprehensive knowledge of manufacturing and quality tools and have unrelenting motivation to enable supply chain success. This is a highly technical position that requires practical experience with manufacturing processes, quality systems, and engineering fundamentals. Preferably, the candidate will have prior experience in the processes and coatings used in optics/photonics used for satellite-based laser communication systems.

In addition to these technical responsibilities, the candidate will also be responsible for building and managing a mission-critical supply chain that enables Starlink production and launch rates, to achieve our mission of bringing high speed broadband internet to underserved areas of the world. The candidate must demonstrate a strong bias for action, and the desire and capability to take on new challenges in unfamiliar areas.


  • Own continuity of supply, quality, reliability, and cost targets for all optical products used in the Starlink laser communication system
  • Collaborate with design, materials, and manufacturing engineers to gain an in-depth knowledge of piece part, assembly, metrology, and/or sub-system design intent
  • Support procurement team to strategically source parts matched with supplier competencies by reviewing and assessing supplier manufacturing processes and quality systems
  • Continuously improve the supplier base by driving low defect/scrap rates, cost reductions, PPAP completion, and process yield improvements
  • Function as liaison between purchasing, engineering, production, and suppliers to resolve supplier quality issues and to provide technical support
  • Define product technical requirements, and assure supplier compliance to these requirements
  • Develop, implement, and monitor manufacturing processes and controls at suppliers using production part approval process (PPAP) method
  • Conduct independent research to identify potential new sources and suppliers, and useful new capabilities in manufacturing and metrology
  • Quickly resolve any quality escapes or containments identified in SpaceX production or the SpaceX supply chain by owning root cause analysis and timely execution of corrective actions
  • Identify and drive technical product & process improvements to reduce risk, eliminate potential defects, and improve cycle time
  • Improve supplier base by conducting workshops on site at supplier locations, providing technical assistance in developing a quality system, or other technical support as required
  • Effectively manage a business-critical supply chain by establishing excellent working relationships and regular lines of communication with suppliers
  • Demonstrate strong sense of ownership, proactivity, technical excellence, creativity, self-direction and courage


  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering
  • 1+ years of experience in a manufacturing and/or process engineering role, or internship experience in engineering


  • Master’s degree in engineering or business/supply chain
  • Experience in optics/photonics and relevant manufacturing processes such as lens fabrication, thin film coatings, thermal spray coatings, chemical processing, plating, thermal protection systems
  • Proven track record of taking ownership of projects, negotiating successfully to reduce costs, and influencing others to drive results
  • Competence interpreting 2D engineering drawings and model drawings
  • Knowledge of supplier quality processes (production part approval process, advanced product quality planning, first article inspection reports, etc.)
  • Experience with quality systems (ISO 9000/TS/AS9100)
  • Knowledge of statistical techniques and methods (design of experiments, Six Sigma, etc.)
  • Knowledge of lean, production, and supply chain concepts
  • Disciplined and timely approach to problem solving
  • Exceptional analytical, problem solving, and organizational skills
  • Detail-oriented, proactive, self-motivated and able to respond quickly to a fast-moving and ever-changing environment


  • Must be able to work extended hours, and some nights and/or weekends, when needed
  • Must be able to travel when needed - up to 25-50% work week travel may be required, including international travel


Pay range:

Supplier Development Engineer/Level I: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year

Supplier Development Engineer/Level II: $110,000.00 - $130,000.00/per year

Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k) retirement plan, short and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation and will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.


  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX 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, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.