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Build Engineer, Thermal Hardware (Starship)



Other Engineering
Texas, USA
Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 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.


The thermal hardware team leads the charge developing the novel heat shield, production, integration and test methodologies for Starship. Full-cycle the build engineer will own tooling design and development of advanced processes including but not limited to, bonding, welding, part movement, structural integration, and test of critical flight hardware. Taking extreme ownership, you will be responsible for technical troubleshooting, risk assessment, resource management, operations planning and will be the primary technical point of contact for technicians manufacturing the heat shield and other engineers to ensure a tight communications loop. Furthermore, build engineers are empowered to sometimes act as de-facto supervisors and advisors to production technicians, welders, and other skilled labor partners. At Starbase you will have the opportunity to work in an exciting and dynamic environment where you will split your time between the office and the production floor to ensure mission success.


  • Work closely with vehicle analysts and design team to ensure solutions meet the requirements for vehicle design as well as the manufacturing processes
  • Develop production procedures/processes and manage the transition of parts and assemblies from development to high rate production
  • Coordinate and execute development, qualification, and acceptance testing of systems and tooling needed to meet hardware deadlines
  • Execute design for manufacturability changes to enhance production efficiency
  • Create original CAD models and prints for flight and/or tooling components
  • Lead the on-site design engineering contact for the efficient build of parts and assemblies
  • Create and maintain build schedules
  • Resolve and analyze manufacturing discrepancies, while interfacing with the quality team (resolving issues for design, fabrication and assembly)
  • Participate in design reviews internally and with suppliers and customers
  • Partner with engineering & production teams to generate ideas, designs, and improvements for current and next-generation vehicles
  • Source, retain and advise new and experienced vendors from a technical perspective


  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, or other engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of manufacturing or design experience (internship or project team experience qualify)


  • Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, or other engineering discipline
  • Experience operating or programming robotic systems
  • Hands-on experience with CNC, lathe, or other deductive manufacturing hardware
  • Experience with 3D printing or other additive manufacturing methodologies
  • Hands-on project experience with complex mechanical systems, preferably as a team or sub-team lead
  • Experience with new process development and continuous improvement
  • Experience managing complex projects with challenging schedules
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Hands on fabrication experience, general shop skills
  • Experience fabricating, repairing, or integrating ceramics or composite ceramics
  • Ability to perform basic structural and design considerations by hand
  • Experience with Siemens NX and Teamcenter
  • Knowledge of drafting and GD&T
  • Fluid dynamics, finite element, or related computer-based analysis
  • Experience putting lean manufacturing principals into practice


  • Ability to perform job duties that require standing, kneeling, crouching, twisting upper body, working in cramped positions in small openings and climbing hand over hand
  • Typically exposed to work in extreme outdoor environments – heat, cold, rain
  • Work in an environment requiring exposure to fumes, odors, and noise
  • Ability to work at elevated heights (10’ to 185’+)
  • Ability to use various types of hand tools or hand-held power tools


Pay range:
Build Engineer/Level 1: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year
Build Engineer/Level 2: $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.


  • 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.