Automation And Controls Engineer (Starship)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 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.


As an Automation and Controls Engineer, you will be directly responsible for the design and integration of automated cells, safety logic systems, and motion-controlled systems which increase Starship production, reliability, and unlock new manufacturing technologies. Starship is the rocket which will enable SpaceX and the human race to get to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.


  • Design, develop, and manage automation projects including initial factory ideation, machine commissioning, proof of rate capability, and eventual hand-off to operational teams
  • Architect, write, and debug PLC code with an emphasis on generating code that is organized, structured, documented, maintainable, and reusable for high-volume manufacturing applications
  • Keep our factory safe and reliable by implementing ANSI/RIA15.06/OSHA compliant systems for robots, gantries, conveyors, and other manufacturing equipment
  • Generate aesthetically simple HMI screens to make complex machines easy to understand, operate, and troubleshoot
  • Design electrical systems compliant to NEC, NFPA, and UL508A regulations
  • Create schedules/budgets and motivate the team to achieve them


  • Bachelor's degree in an engineering, physics, computer science, or other engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of total experience in one or a combination of the following:
    • Professional or internship experience in industrial or factory automation design and implementation
    • Involvement with a project team designing and building electro-mechanical/robotic/automated systems or products beyond classroom assignments


  • Experience working in a quick and iterative design and manufacturing role
  • Ability to solve complex problems with simple solutions at both the design and implementation stages
  • Experience communicating both written/verbally, planning, and driving directional recommendations cross-functionally
  • Ability to engineer creative, new approaches to problems while adhering to ANSI/RIA15.06/OSHA safety requirements to keep a factory safe
  • Experience with, and willingness to learn, at least one of the specific disciplines listed below:
    • Mechanical:
      • Machine design with focus on speed, reliability, maintainability, and safety
      • Motion system sizing and implementation (gantries, robotics, conveyance, motors, actuators, pneumatics/hydraulics, sensor selection/integration, etc.)
      • Fundamental structures hand calculations and ability to design for strength and stiffness
      • CAD and product lifecycle management programs to generate detailed designs and drawing packages utilizing geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (Siemens NX and Teamcenter)
      • Familiarity with manufacturing processes and how to design for manufacturability
      • Exposure to some variety of production machinery, industrial sensors, and equipment (motion systems, dispense systems, temperature controllers, laser distance sensors, injection molders, die casters, etc.)
    • Electrical:
      • Electrical sizing of motors, cables, circuit protection, VFD’s, motor starters, and various other motion systems
      • Design of fail-safe electrical circuits using both safety logic controllers and safety-rated relays
      • Hands-on experience troubleshooting industrial electrical systems using tools like multimeters, oscilloscopes, and EMI probes
      • Proficiency in understanding and creating electrical schematics and single line diagrams (EPLAN preferred)
      • Fieldbus networks, serial communication, and ethernet communication
      • Hands-on experience designing and commissioning high quality electrical panels and electro-mechanical systems with appropriate safety considerations in mind
      • Knowledge of NEC, IEC, NFPA, and UL508A codes with the ability to ensure compliance with control system safety standards
    • Industrial Software
      • Experience with PLC programming (Siemens SIMATIC structured text programming)
      • Siemens G120, S120, and S210 programming using Starter/TIA portal
      • Programming and implementing machine safety software through the use of safety PLC’s
      • HMI (WinCC), SCADA (Inductive automation ignition), and IoT (MQTT, OPC-UA) development with focus on user friendly navigation and machine health monitoring
      • Fieldbus networking protocols (EtherCAT, Profinet, Profisafe, and/or Ethernet/IP)
      • Robotics programming (ABB)
      • Experience with industrial software application (mechanical assemblies, electrical systems, sensors and pneumatics/hydraulics) with the knowledge of how to safely checkout these interdisciplinary systems prior to production implementation


  • Ability to work extended hours and weekends to support critical milestones


Pay Range:

Automation & Controls Engineer/Level I: $100,000.00 - $120,000.00/per year
Automation & Controls 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.