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Director, Systems Engineering - Spacecraft Engine



Software Engineering
Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, January 4, 2024
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 Opportunity
As the Director of Systems Engineering for Astra's Spacecraft Engines Program, you will lead and oversee the systems engineering and propulsion team responsible for the design, development, integration, and optimization of advanced propulsion systems for spacecraft. You will play a pivotal role in driving technical excellence, ensuring seamless system integration, and delivering high-performance, reliable propulsion solutions.
Depending on your background, the role may be expanded to lead the Electrical Engineering Team in addition to the Systems and Propulsion teams.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Leadership and Strategic Direction: Provide strategic leadership and vision for the Systems Engineering team within the Spacecraft Engines Program, aligning engineering efforts with organizational goals and technological advancements in the space industry.
  • Team Management and Mentorship: Lead, mentor, and manage a team of multidisciplinary systems and propulsion engineers, fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and technical excellence.
  • Systems Design and Integration: Oversee the entire systems engineering lifecycle, including conceptualization, requirements definition, architecture design, integration, and testing of spacecraft propulsion systems.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Collaborate closely with mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineering teams to ensure effective integration of propulsion systems into spacecraft designs, meeting performance, reliability, and safety requirements. Partner with Production and Test teams to ensure successful qualification campaigns for new hardware.
  • Technical Oversight and Quality Assurance: Ensure adherence to quality standards, industry best practices, and regulatory compliance throughout the systems engineering process, driving continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Risk Management and Problem-solving: Identify potential technical risks, develop mitigation strategies, and lead troubleshooting efforts to resolve complex engineering challenges in propulsion system development.
  • Resource Allocation and Project Management: Manage resources efficiently, including budget allocation, staffing, and scheduling, to meet project timelines and deliverables while optimizing engineering efforts.

Why We Value You

  • Advanced Degree: Master's or Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or a related field.
  • Extensive Experience: Minimum of 10 years of progressive experience in systems engineering, preferably in spacecraft propulsion systems, with demonstrated leadership and project management skills.
  • Technical Proficiency: In-depth knowledge of systems engineering principles, propulsion system design, integration, and validation, along with familiarity with relevant industry tools and standards.
  • Leadership Skills: Strong leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills with the ability to inspire, motivate, and lead a diverse team toward achieving common objectives.
  • Regulatory Understanding: Knowledge of space industry regulations, safety protocols, and certification processes.
  • Problem-solving Capabilities: Proven track record of effectively solving complex engineering problems and implementing innovative solutions.
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.