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Senior Test Engineer, Electric Propulsion



Quality Assurance
Alameda, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2023
The Company
Astra’s mission is to Improve Life on Earth from Space® by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Today, Astra offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch dedicated orbital launch services of any operational launch provider in the world, and one of the industry’s first flight-proven electric propulsion systems for satellites, Astra Spacecraft Engine™. Astra delivered its first commercial launch to low Earth orbit in 2021, making it the fastest company in history to reach this milestone, just five years after it was founded in 2016. Astra (NASDAQ: ASTR) was the first space launch company to be publicly traded on Nasdaq.
The Team
The ASE Test Team is responsible for verifying that flight hardware will successfully operate in space. We execute testing for increasingly high-throughput production of our thruster modules and related subsystems, plus continual development testing for new programs and capabilities. To make this all happen, we also develop and operate state-of-the-art facilities for testing plasma thrusters in conditions that simulate the space and launch environment - high vacuum, thermal, vibration, and shock.
The Opportunity
As a Senior Electric Propulsion Test Engineer, your role will be to support all aspects of testing our ASE Hall-effect thruster modules to ensure mission success in orbit. This will include hands-on system and subsystem testing, commissioning and operating test facilities for both R&D and production, contributing to the full cycle of qualification and acceptance test campaigns, and guiding and mentoring junior engineers and test technicians.
In order to be successful in this role, you should be someone who is able to amplify a rapidly evolving, technically-focused team. Ideally, you come from a fast paced, competitive environment and have completed difficult projects while collaborating effectively with other key groups.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Astra prioritizes safety and you will, too. Test involves hazards ranging from cryogenics to heavy lifting. You will predict, monitor, and mitigate these hazards to minimize risks and prevent injuries.
  • Perform tests on flight hardware: plasma thrusters, propellant feed systems, power electronics.
  • Operate, maintain, and improve state-of-the-art test stands, data acquisition systems, and test facilities.
  • Fabricate and assemble test fixtures from CAD, drawings, and electrical schematics.
  • Troubleshoot electrical and mechanical test setups and hardware.
  • Generate proper documentation associated with development and production: test procedures, test reports, standard operating procedures, etc.
  • Mentor early career engineers.

Why We Value You

  • 5+ years of hands-on testing, fabrication, and/or assembly experience that includes hardware/software integration
  • Experience with bench test equipment (digital multimeters, power supplies, oscilloscopes, current/voltage probes, etc.)
  • Experience with fluid systems and pressure vessels
  • Experience with Python and LabVIEW, and National Instruments hardware including data acquisition systems
  • Willing and able to work evenings/weekends as needed to support test operations
  • You are excited to work on a team that launches hardware into space!
  • B.S. or higher in mechanical/electrical/aerospace and/or equivalent experience in an industrial laboratory environment

Desired Multipliers

  • Familiarity with space systems
  • Familiarity with vacuum systems
  • Experience with soldering and crimping wiring harnesses
  • Self-guidance and the ability to interpret test results and design new tests
  • The desire and willingness to suggest design improvements based on test results, and to take ownership of your work -- this will be YOUR hardware going to space!
ITAR Requirements: This position requires compliance with U.S. Government space technology trade restrictions, specifically the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and additional regulations governing satellite, launch vehicle, missile, and other related technologies. All jobs restricted by these regulations will be contingent upon the applicant’s status as a documented U.S. Person or their ability to receive a trade license from the cognizant government agency; in addition to any required company background checks and in compliance with applicable U.S. and California laws. Similarly, positions requiring the ability to work on government contracts or a security clearance are also contingent upon the applicants ability to receive the appropriate clearance and be allowed to work on U.S. government contracts.
You do not need to match every listed expectation to apply for this position. Here at Astra, we know that diverse perspectives foster the innovation we need to be successful, and we are committed to building a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.
San Francisco Applicants: Astra will consider applicants with arrest and conviction records (criminal histories) in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.