Thermal Development Technician



Cape Canaveral, FL, USA
Posted on Friday, August 11, 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.


The Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) team tackles space exploration’s toughest problems by developing the heat shields for our next generation rockets and spacecraft. This hardware must survive the most extreme environments known to mankind and protect our vehicle through atmospheric entry. As a technician on the TPS team, you will thrive in a hands-on environment and will spend time in the office, on the factory floor, and in the lab to execute on the SpaceX mission.


  • Preprocess and manufacture ceramic fibers, filaments, and powders required for the development of next tier products
  • Fabricate ceramic refractory billets, ceramic tiles, thermal gap fillers, coatings, and other components required for a robust thermal protection system
  • Fabricate basic laminate and prepare surfaces
  • Check seals on completed bagged parts for leaks
  • Perform vacuum bag processing, bonding, and oven curing
  • Document processes precisely to be able to replicate each step taken in the material processing
  • Perform test and inspection on production and development material as required
  • Read and interpret engineering drawings with an understanding for drawing symbols, flag notes, and general notes
  • Operate and maintain laboratory test equipment


  • High school diploma or equivalency certificate
  • Experience with layup, bonding or assembly of composites or chemical processes
  • Experience with hand tools or hand-held power tools


  • Experience setting up assemblies and parts in various types of processing and curing equipment such as an ovens and high temperature kilns to obtain desired set and cure
  • Experience with composite tooling materials
  • Skilled in mechanical testing, such as Instron
  • Experienced with accurately measuring and mixing using scales, beakers, and various monitoring probes for the process of tile coatings, sealants, and RTV applications
  • Ability to work with solvents, ceramic precursors, and inorganic acids and bases
  • Experience with thermal protection system (TPS) or phenolic impregnated carbon ablator (PICA)
  • Experience applying sealants, alodine, primer, adhesives, and special finishes
  • Good understanding of basic mathematical concepts
  • Fluent in the Office platform (Microsoft Word, and Excel)


  • Flexibility in work schedule, supporting all shifts/overtime/weekends as necessary to support business needs
  • Ability to wear and obtain certification in the wearing of an air respirator
  • Willing to travel (up to 10%)
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 25 lbs unassisted
  • Standing for long periods of time, climbing up and down ladders, working in tight places, bending, grasping, sitting, pulling, pushing, stooping, and stretching are generally required to perform the functions of this position


Pay range:

Thermal Development Technician/Level 1: $20.00 - $27.00/hour
Thermal Development Technician/Level 2: $25.00 - $32.50/hour
Thermal Development Technician/Level 3: $30.00 - $38.00/hour

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.


  • 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.