Lead Avionics Operations and Automation Engineer (Satellites)

Hawthorne, CA, United States

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SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
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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 spacecraft engineering team in Hawthorne is growing to support our R&D satellite programs that are pushing the boundaries of in-space capabilities. Our missions support scientific research, classified national security space and commercial opportunities. As we grow our classified mission manifest, we are looking for someone to lead our operations and automation team.

As Lead of our Avionics Operations and Automation team, you will have a unique opportunity to lead the team responsible for ensuring mission success of our satellite constellation on orbit. Working as a cross disciplinary expert, you will ensure that the software running the vehicle is safe and reliable and make updates to code that not only alerts you, the operator, to issues on orbit but also safely recovers the vehicle autonomously from myriad anomalies and ensure continued operational availability. You will work with subsystem responsible engineers, software engineers, and electrical design engineers to understand and evaluate how the satellite should be operated and execute on this vision. You will oversee operations of the satellite while on orbit and while on the ground in test and support check outs of the vehicle in the lead up to launch. You will help your team develop and refine the tool chains needed to make the job and review more accessible and through a process of continuous improvement, and automate the operations of the satellite to the point of minimal user intervention. Additionally, you will continue to build and run the team to ensure that we are ready for a dynamic future and have an operational capability that can tackle even the most challenging problems at scale.

We’re looking for people who want to dive in and get their hands dirty and those who are not afraid to make important decisions and work to provide a data driven rationale. Every day we push the limits of what is possible through innovation, determination, and teamwork and we’re only just beginning.


  • Manage and mentor the avionics operations and automation team
  • Scope new development, determine resource needs, and participate in development
  • Manage and work scheduled and on call shift support for on orbit operations, ground testing and checkouts, and mission simulations
  • Work collaboratively and partner with multidisciplinary teams (including software, GNC, customer, and vehicle engineering) to represent the avionics operations team in defining scope, system requirements, and vehicle level operations software
  • Create, maintain and communicate detailed schedules ensuring that all assigned personnel are aware of theirs tasks and deadlines while identifying required resources and securing allocation to meet need
  • Manage software development projects to create toolchains that support real time on orbit and ground operations
  • Own on orbit mission operations and mission success, and support on orbit operations through the life of the satellites
  • Define and perform checkouts to integrate hardware and validate operations software on a flight vehicle
  • Specify and drive creation of representative flight hardware test tables or system simulators to support software development and system verification and validation
  • Support integration and test at customer facility and launch site, and troubleshoot issues on prototype and production assemblies on an aggressive schedule


  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering discipline or physics
  • Prior experience in real time operations
  • Prior experience authoring and reviewing software
  • 2+ years of professional experience in system level integration of electronic components and  system level testing including system and sub-system cradle to grave ownership
  • 2+ years of professional experience managing complex technical projects and developing and tracking schedules
  • U.S. Citizen


  • Demonstrated experience in leading or working in a multi-disciplinary engineering problem
  • Active Top Secret or Top Secret SCI clearance, or ability to obtain one desired but not required
  • Master's in an engineering discipline
  • Experience utilizing software tools to solve complex problems (Python, C/C++, Java, etc.)
  • Experience with automating complex systems and writing fault detection control logic
  • Systems knowledge of space vehicles and redundancy architectures
  • Experience with real time operations on space qualified vehicles or other highly complex systems
  • Experience with on-orbit operations or knowledge of basic orbital mechanics
  • Creative, passionate problem solver that can thrive leading multidisciplinary teams through fast paced, autonomously driven, and demanding design and integration campaigns
  • Strong sense of accountability, integrity, and team focus with extensive multi-tasking and organizational experience
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills


  • Extended hours and weekend work may be required to support critical project and mission milestones
  • Must be willing to travel to other SpaceX offices and customer locations 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


  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or 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.

Job tags: Java Python Testing
Job perks/benefits: Career development
Job region(s): North America
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