Hardware Reliability Engineer (Starshield)



Other Engineering
hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Friday, February 2, 2024

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.


Starshield leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts. While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on earth observation, communications, and hosted payloads. As an electrical development engineer on the Starshield team, you will demonstrate extreme ownership through detailed and thorough design, hardware bring-up/characterization/testing, and requirements generation/verification - ultimately seeing your hardware through all aspects of its life cycle.

Starshield is a quickly growing program and there is a wide range of engaging opportunities from blank-sheet design to on-orbit troubleshooting. You will work with many cross-disciplinary teams and will need to think at a system level to ensure that your design is viable. Our development timelines are quick and you will need to rigorously explore solutions for previously unsolved or unknown problems. Every day we push the limits of what is possible through innovation, determination, and teamwork to drive the mission to success.

As a Hardware Reliability engineer on the Starshield team, you will be responsible for solving systemic on orbit issues, running root cause of failures from end to end, and working to drive process and design changes to continually improve production and on-orbit product quality and reliability. Engineers in this role are expected to be hands-on with the hardware and become intimately familiar with the design, manufacturing processes, test procedures, and on orbit operation of the sub-assemblies they support.


  • Support on-call shifts and be ready to respond to satellite and gateway alerts, review telemetry, and submit commands to help recover operations
  • Drive multidisciplinary failure investigations, build and track fault trees, and help run tests/experiments on the ground to narrow down probable causes
  • Drive corrective action of design, production, test, and operational issues to ultimately improve satellite reliability
  • Perform hands-on troubleshooting in the lab as part of key efforts to help identify root-cause
    • This includes troubleshooting complex RF systems, various compute and network avionics and power electronics
  • Create data analysis programs to identify satellite anomalous behavior as well as production yield issues to help better understand reliability performance
  • Conduct regular reliability reviews to ensure that design intent is achieved and well-communicated; identify opportunities for risk reduction, and removal of complexity in designs and processes to improve on orbit life


  • Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or physics
  • 1+ years of experience in a design or manufacturing engineering role (student project team or internship experience qualifies)


  • Strong interpersonal and collaborative skills, enthusiasm for the team’s spirit of innovation and mission of improving reliability in cutting-edge technology
  • Demonstrated capability to think creatively and solve complex problems
  • Experience in mechatronics or other cross disciplinary combination of mechanical, electrical, and software skill sets
  • Experience working with RF test equipment as well as debugging and testing RF systems
  • Proficiency with programming and automation/scripting languages (Python, C, C++, SQL)
  • Knowledge of quality tools such as design of experiments, statistical process control, root cause analysis and corrective action, process failure mode and effects analysis (PFMEA), and various problem-solving approaches
  • Experience in a fast-paced, iterative design environment within the consumer electronics, mobile handset, medical devices, marine, aerospace, or automotive industries
  • Active Top Secret, Top Secret SCI, OR ability and willingness to obtain a Top Secret clearance is desired but not required


  • An active clearance may provide the opportunity for you to work on sensitive SpaceX missions; if so, you will be subject to pre-employment drug and random drug and alcohol testing


Pay range:
Hardware Reliability Engineer/Level I: $100,000.00 - $120,000.00/per year
Hardware Reliability 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 & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & 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.