Virgin Galactic Ramps Up Rocket Engineering Staff

SpaceShipTwo in flight on Dec. 19, 2012. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
SpaceShipTwo in flight on Dec. 19, 2012. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic is hiring like crazy at its Mojave Air and Space Port facility. The company has not only bought out Scaled Composites’ interest in the Spaceship Company but also begun an ambitious effort to develop new rocket engines.

Last month, the company posted a opening for a propulsion design engineer that was very revealing about Virgin’s development process.

Main Purpose of the Role

The primary role of this position involves taking a leadership role in the “clean sheet” development of new liquid-fueled rocket engines.  Responsibilities will include conceptual through critical design of engine components, production, developmental and flight qualification testing, and flight test support.

The full job posting, which closed on Dec. 28, is reproduced below.

Propulsion Design Engineer

Location:
Mojave, CA
Business:
Virgin Galactic
Contract Type:
Full Time
Closing date:
28/12/2012

Virgin Galactic is on track to become the world’s first privately funded commercial space line. It is dedicated to becoming a world leader in sub-orbital commercial space tourism with a longer term vision to develop other space technologies that have the potential to open space to significantly more people and users. We are seeking experienced Propulsion Engineers to help develop the next generation of commercial space vehicles. If you are looking for a challenging opportunity that will ignite your passion for designing cool and innovative products, are exceptionally creative, are a great problem solver and can make things happen – apply today! To be considered you will need show excellence in more than one of the following areas:

Career Lever/ Skill Level: Experienced

Mechanical Design and CAD

Designing mechanical systems using solid modeling tools (such as Catia).
Performing associated numerical analysis and post-processing using tools like ANSYS.
Developing work instructions (e.g., drawings) for production of designed parts.

Fluid System Engineering

Designing gas and liquid fluid systems at a fundamental level including analysis to predict pressure drop, temperature change, etc. of fluid flowing through a component.
Familiarity and specification of high pressure and cryogenic system components.
Analysis of transient response of fluid systems.
Familiarity with pumps and turbo machinery.

Main Purpose of the Role

The primary role of this position involves taking a leadership role in the “clean sheet” development of new liquid-fueled rocket engines.  Responsibilities will include conceptual through critical design of engine components, production, developmental and flight qualification testing, and flight test support.

Propulsion System Development

  • Complete knowledge of propulsion system design principles, processes, and tools for aerospace vehicles and their components, including company and industry standards and practices.
  • Complete knowledge of propulsion system components, interfaces and their design/integration variables for aerospace vehicles, including industry and company standards and practices; ability to interface with engine and component suppliers; and ability to independently perform propulsion system integration tasks within a multidisciplinary team environment
  • Developing preliminary design concepts for future propulsion systems to meet anticipated requirements.
  • Define, coordinate and control the functional and physical interfaces between the propulsion system, engine and the airplane.
  • Configure or design propulsion sub-systems and components to meet all design and performance criteria.
  • Define and support certification tests for propulsion sub-systems and components. Support fielded systems to assure continued reliability.

Key Requirements

Professional Requirements

  •  Five (5) or more years of experience in liquid rocket propulsion and flight ordnance
  • Knowledge of  gas and liquid rocket systems or pressurized system manufacturing processes and test & integration procedures
  • GD&T skills through experience and/or formal training.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent Organizational Skills and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong team player.
  •  Excellent computer skills, Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point.
  • Applicants must be U.S. persons as defined by the ITAR (22 CFR §120.15).

Personal Requirements

Virgin Galactic and the greater Virgin Organization have a relaxed and informal culture that encourages individuality and innovation.  You will be motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic.  Company culture is such that you need to be able to “check your ego at the door”, be a self starter and possess a sense of humility.  You will work well under commercial pressure and thrive on being given challenges and responsibility.  You will communicate clearly and be confident and persuasive. You will have a high level of integrity and understand the need of complete confidentiality.

Virgin Galactic is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Galactic 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, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.