Sr. Software Engineer, Hardware Test & Automation (Starshield)



Software Engineering, Other Engineering
hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 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 a Software Engineer on the Starshield Integration & Test team, your focus will be on developing integrated operations and automation infrastructure for the Hardware In The Loop (HITL) testbeds and production floor that bring the Starshield Satellites to life. Our software engineers are responsible for the tools that enable rapid development and accurate testing of all Starshield hardware systems, with a continual focus on design, reliability, and innovation, from test hardware system designs to our software infrastructure. Our engineers serve as the experts for the flight control devices and mechanisms that drive the critical capabilities on our satellites - from inertial control devices to space lasers and more. While your main ownership will be infrastructure related to testing, knowledge of the hardware being tested and understanding how our Satellites work as a whole is essential.

Aerospace experience is not required to be successful here – engineers on this team are curious, and collaborative, love to learn new things, and work effectively in a dynamic environment to deliver high-impact technology on a massive scale.


  • Develop modular, reusable test and automation software in Python and similar languages for manufacturing and engineering design verification
  • Write automation software to interact with flight hardware, test equipment, instrumentation, and production documentation systems
  • Develop software that allows for test execution across multiple environments: hardware-in-the-loop (HITL, HIL) and virtualized hardware simulations
  • Develop custom automation solutions to engineering and manufacturing challenges using a combination of embedded electronics and innovative hardware
  • Develop algorithms to analyze complex test data to determine if components have met acceptance criteria
  • Maintain and troubleshoot existing automation infrastructure and work with partner teams to determine and correct root cause of failures
  • Define and implement project plans, manage milestones and hold reviews to assure reliable test systems are delivered to production
  • Invent tools that enable more frequent and reliable software deployment, test execution, and data analysis as part of a continuous integration and release system


  • Bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, math, or STEM discipline
  • 5+ years of software development experience in C, C++, or Python; or full stack software development experience (internship experience is applicable)


  • Extensive knowledge of Linux and Windows operating systems
  • Experience with configuration management and version control software
  • Experience with continuous integration and agile development
  • Experience automating processes and testing to improve manufacturing yields and reduce production time
  • Experience with control feedback loop design and implementation
  • Experience with numerical analysis techniques and signal processing in multiple domains
  • Extensive knowledge with a range of digital and analog interfaces including GPIB, USB, VISA, TCP/IP, VLAN, CAN bus, SPI, I2C, Modbus, analog-to-digital conversion
  • Experience troubleshooting interactions between software and hardware such as network devices and lab instrumentation
  • Experience with spacecraft fluid systems
  • Experience with high power electrical systems
  • Experience with embedded hardware product development
  • Developed and deployed software that has been used in real-world applications/projects.
  • Experience with containerization technologies (i.e. Docker, Kubernetes).
  • Radio frequency (RF) system-level design, modems, and diagnostic test equipment experience.
  • Strong skills in troubleshooting, debugging, performance optimization, and unit testing.
  • Experience with continuous integration and monitoring.
  • Solid fundamental knowledge of networks, electronics, RF communications, optics, math, and physics
  • Ability and willingness to obtain a Top-Secret clearance


  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed
  • 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:
Senior: $160,000.00 - $220,000.00/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. Those with an active clearance will receive a 10% differential, up to an additional $15,000 annually, once officially briefed into a classified program.

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.