Propulsion Structures Engineer

Full Time

  • No Travel Required

Job Description

The Aerospace Corporation is the trusted partner to the nation's space programs, solving the hardest problems and providing unmatched technical expertise. As the operator of a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), we are broadly engaged across all aspects of space- delivering innovative solutions that span satellite, launch, ground, and cyber systems for defense, civil and commercial customers. When you join our team, you'll be part of a special collection of problem solvers, thought leaders, and innovators. Join us and take your place in space.

At Aerospace, we are committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace for all employees to share in our common passion and aspiration - to carry out a mission much bigger than ourselves.

Job Summary

The Vehicle Systems Division (VSD) sits at the center of the ideas and data behind current and future space systems supplying innovative research and development; technical evaluations during the acquisition process; conceptual and detailed design; assembly, integration, test; and operational support. Comprised primarily of highly-trained mechanical and aerospace engineers, VSD provides national expertise in the areas of vehicle engineering; guidance, navigation, and controls; robotics; electro-mechanical devices; embedded systems; fluid mechanics; propulsion; thermal control; orbital mechanics; mechanisms; structures; structural dynamics; and dynamic environments.

The Thermostructures Section is part of the Structures Department within the Structural Mechanics Subdivision of VSD, is seek ing a well-qualified individual with a strong foundation in solid mechanics, practical experience in structural analysis using both hand calculations and finite element analysis techniques, a passion for the space industry, and a desire to apply their expertise and creativity to help solve a variety of technical challenges. The Thermostructures Section deals is responsible for assessing the structural integrity of solid and liquid propulsion hardware for launch and space vehicle applications including requirements definitions, design review and assessment, simulation and analysis, test planning and monitoring, review of as-built hardware, and support of anomaly investigations. This section is also responsible for advanced concepts including the use of homegrown and commercial software to extend structural analysis into the realms of multi-physics and works closely with fluid mechanics, propulsion, and thermal physics to perform assessments on solid and liquid rocket engine technologies.

This is a full-time position based in El Segundo, CA, offering a hybrid work model that combines remote flexibility as the business needs allow.

What You'll Be Doing

  • Resolve design and test issues/anomalies/challenges via detailed structural analyses of solid rocket motors, liquid rocket engines, reentry vehicles, and hypersonic vehicles
  • Offer technical consultation to management, customers, contractors , and government organizations in formulating and assessing test plans, procedures, objectives , and success criteria .
  • Develop and assess design and analysis criteria, requirements, and specifications for propulsion-related structures.
  • C ontribute to the development and execution of test programs for development, qualification, and acceptance of propulsion-related structures.
  • Improve agility of the mission assurance process in assessing the structural integrity and survivability of propulsion-related structures.
  • Maintain state-of-the-art skills in activities related to design, evaluation, and testing of solid rocket motors and liquid rocket engines . Skills include expertise in structural mechanics analysis techniques, failure criteria , composite design criteria, fracture and fatigue, damage tolerance, concept ideation and development, and advanced finite element analysis method s .
  • Communicate with both inter-organizational personnel, program offices , and customer s when necessary to scope, plan , and resolve technical issues.
  • Coordinate with technical experts at contractor facilities to address and resolve concerns.
  • Work within interdisciplinary teams to address cross-disciplinary issues.
  • Keep management and customers informed of emerging risks.


This position is available as Member of Technical Staff or Senior Member of Technical Staff

What You Need to be Successful

Minimum Requirements:

Member of Technical Staff

  • Bachelor's degree in a STEM field or equivalent is required
  • Typically, 2 years of applicable professional or educational experience is required
  • Experience or coursework in structural mechanics such as composite materials, nonlinear materials, plates and shells, energy and finite element methods, fracture, and fatigue
  • Willingness to occasionally travel (domestically and internationally) and to work off-business hours to support customer needs, approximately 10% (as required)
  • This position requires ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance, which is issued by the U.S. government. U.S. citizenship is required to obtain a security clearance.


Senior Member of Technical Staff

Same requirements as Member of Technical Staff noted abov e, in addition to:

  • Typically, 5 years of applicable professional or educational experience is required
  • Experience performing finite element analyses


How You Can Stand Out

It would be impressive if you have one or more of these:

Member of Technical Staff and Senior Member of Technical Staff

  • Advanced degree in a STEM field or equivalent is required
  • Design, qualification, and nonconformance assessment of propulsion systems including:
    • Solid rocket motors
    • Liquid rocket engines
    • Turbomachinery
    • High temperature structural applications


  • Technical proficiency in several of the following areas:
    • Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue Analysis (Damage Tolerance/Safe Life Analysis and Fracture Control)
    • Additive manufacturing design integration, evaluation, and assessment
    • Welded joint mechanical properties and analysis
    • Nondestructive inspection criteria development
    • Bonded and/or bolted joint failure criteria and analysis methodologies
    • Composite structure failure criteria and analysis methodology
    • Probabilistic analysis and uncertainty quantification
    • Structural stability margin assessment
  • Understanding of engine qualification strategies from a structural perspective
  • Demonstrated ability to represent the physics of structures during the analysis idealization stage, and to translate results into a conclusive assessment
  • Proficient with Nastran, Abaqus, or other commercial finite element tools
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate technical assignments and lead project teams
  • Direct experience correlating finite element model predictions with test results
  • Demonstrated ability to disposition hardware nonconformances


We offer a competitive compensation package where you'll be rewarded based on your performance and recognized for the value you bring to our business. The grade-based pay range for this job is listed below. Individual salaries within that range are determined through a wide variety of factors including but not limited to education, experience, knowledge and skills.

(Min - Mid - Max)
$70,000 - $105,000 - $130,000

Ways We Reward Our Employees

During your interview process, our team will provide details of our industry-leading benefits.

Benefits vary and are applicable based on Job Type. A few highlights include:
  • Comprehensive health care and wellness plans
  • Paid holidays, sick time, and vacation
  • Standard and alternate work schedules, including telework options
  • 401(k) Plan - Employees receive a total company-paid benefit of 8%, 10%, or 12% of eligible compensation based on years of service and matching contributions; employees are immediately eligible and vested in the plan upon hire
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Variable pay program for exceptional contributions
  • Relocation assistance
  • Professional growth and development programs to help advance your career
  • Education assistance programs
  • An inclusive work environment built on teamwork, flexibility, and respect


We are all unique, from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, yet one thing bonds all of us to each other-the belief that we can make a difference. This core belief empowers us to do our best work at The Aerospace Corporation.

Equal Opportunity Commitment

The Aerospace Corporation is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We believe that a diverse workforce creates an environment in which unique ideas are developed and differing perspectives are valued, producing superior customer solutions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, color, religion, genetic information, marital status, ancestry, national origin, protected veteran status, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, or disability status and any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. If you're an individual with a disability or a disabled veteran who needs assistance using our online job search and application tools or need reasonable accommodation to complete the job application process, please contact us by phone at 310.336.5432 or by email at ieo.mailbox@aero.org . You can also review Know Your Rights : Workplace Discrimination is Illegal , as well as the Pay Transparency Policy Statement .
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