Propulsion Engineer, Fluid Thermal Structural Analyst (Merlin)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 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.


This role will focus primarily on performing fluids & thermal analysis to drive design decisions and provide verification that reliability and performance requirements are met. Merlin Propulsion Engineers are all responsible for ensuring flightworthiness of engine hardware and software throughout the life cycle—from initial build, through acceptance testing, and into flight (and re-flight) operations. Additionally, you will be responsible for driving reliability-improving and rate-enabling initiatives to maintain the long-term success of Falcon as the most-flown, most-reliable launch vehicle in existence.


  • Perform fluids, CFD, and thermal analysis to drive design decisions and provide verification that reliability and performance requirements are met
  • Perform structural analysis to required standards for structural margin & fatigue life.
  • Take an extremely practical, hands-on approach to model validation/verification, ensuring that model predictions are tied firmly to reality and test data, and make improvements to the engine design
  • Support ongoing design, manufacturing and reliability improvements to the engine, and ensure the changes are properly qualified.
  • Support the resolution of issues encountered with during manufacturing, testing, flight operations or engine refurbishment in a timely fashion.


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • 2+ years of professional experience in fluids, CFD, and thermal analysis
  • 1+ years of academic or professional experience related to combustion devices or rocket engine development


  • Master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of academic or professional experience related to structural analysis
  • Running steady-state and transient CFD simulations using ideal and real-fluid equations of state
  • Familiar with commercial CFD tools: StarCCM+, ANSYS CFX, etc.
  • Experience with conjugate heat transfer simulations
  • Strong fundamentals of compressible and incompressible fluid mechanics, and common fluids hand-calculations
  • Experience with waterhammer and transient fluids modeling
  • Experience with thermal and heat transfer modeling
  • Strong fundamental understanding of engine cycles used in liquid bipropellant rocket engines
  • Proficient in MATLAB or Python to automate or script tasks
  • Project experience or full professional engineering lifecycle experience (design trade, CAD design, prototyping, manufacturing, testing, qualification, production, reuse) is desired
  • Experience making risk evaluations and/or supporting root cause investigations.


  • Willingness to travel on occasion in support of testing
  • Willingness to work extended hours and weekends as needed to resolve critical technical issues


Pay Range:

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

Propulsion 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 & 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.