Dragon Controller, Spacecraft Test Automation Engineer



Software Engineering, Accounting & Finance, Quality Assurance
hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Friday, June 2, 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.


Human spaceflight is inherently risky. SpaceX develops rigorous test campaigns to exercise all flight systems for our Dragon spacecraft in order to maximize success. Dragon Controllers develop a comprehensive understanding of the vehicle systems, requiring a rare cross disciplinary perspective. As a Dragon Controller, you’ll serve as a bridge between the Dragon Development and Operations teams. You’ll follow individual spacecraft from initial power on through shipment to the launch site for final integration and seek out ways to replace manual processing with automated solutions. You’ll contribute to the development, automation, and execution of test procedures in order to fully exercise the spacecraft’s systems. Your contributions will directly impact astronaut safety and enable human exploration in the final frontier.


  • Lead the execution of both Cargo and Crew Dragon spacecraft testing from initial power on through shipment to the launch site.
  • Act as a Dragon vehicle controller and test conductor during Dragon integrated system tests and launch operations.
  • Develop automated test procedures that evaluate the flight-worthiness of the spacecraft.
  • Contribute to automated test infrastructure (hardware and software) as necessary for automated test development.
  • Closely collaborate with a wide range of engineering staff and highly skilled technicians on a daily basis.
  • Work with a government and commercial customers on pre- and post- flight preparations for human spaceflight.
  • Troubleshoot and develop long-term solutions for technical problems in collaboration with the larger SpaceX workforce.


  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, physics, computer science, or other engineering discipline.
  • 2+ years of experience in a test/automation/integration engineering role (including internships, design/build/compete collegiate project teams).


  • Master’s degree in engineering or related technical discipline.
  • Experience in control and monitoring of complex automated systems and risk assessment/reduction of the system.
  • Proficiency with programming in Python.
  • Competency in analog and digital circuits, fluids, statics and mechanics, sensors and instrumentation, data acquisition, and software.
  • Strong project management skills.


  • Must be able to climb ladders and work in tight spaces.
  • Occasional travel to other SpaceX sites, as needed; ~5%.
  • Schedules vary due to site operational needs – flexibility required


Pay Range:
Dragon Controller, Spacecraft Test Automation Engineer/Level I: $100,000.00 - $120,000.00/per year
Dragon Controller, Spacecraft Test Automation Engineer/Level II: $115,000.00 - $135,000.00/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 space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or 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.