Power and Propulsion Element, Propulsion SME – Starlab Program

Nanoracks is Hiring
Position:Power and Propulsion Element, Propulsion SME - Starlab Program
Reports To:Lead System Engineer
Location:United States
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About Nanoracks

Nanoracks is a cutting-edge aerospace company focusing on providing commercial access to space, currently on the International Space Station (ISS), suborbital vehicles, expendable launch vehicles, and more! We have sent over 1,000 payloads to the Space Station, kickstarted the CubeSat deployment revolution, and have customers in over 30 nations.

Since 2009, Nanoracks has created and expanded new in-space markets and has been the world leader for ushering in a new era of in-space services. Currently, Nanoracks is working to build commercial space stations (“Outposts”) from the spent upper stages of launch vehicles in orbit. This technology will enable spent upper stages to be used as crewed and un-crewed space stations for various purposes and customers—both civil and commercial.

Nanoracks will provide and facilitate an ecosystem of interoperable technologies and distributed free flying space stations. You can read our approach here.

We hope you’ll apply to join our team. We work with leaders from all over the world, including NASA, universities and government centers both foreign and domestic, and commercial companies. We’re fast, fun, passionate, and love sending things to space.

What We're Looking For

Smart, talented, critical thinkers with an ability to handle responsibility in a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. You will own your projects and be results oriented. Nanoracks is a small company (70+ awesome people), but we interface with much larger organizations from around the world.  You will need to be able to work in small and large groups as well as simultaneously execute an entire project on time.

Nanoracks is building the first free-flying commercial low-Earth orbit space station, called Starlab. Starlab is a continuously crewed, free-flying, multifunctional space station dedicated to conducting advanced research, fostering industrial activity, and ensuring continued U.S. presence and leadership in low-Earth orbit. Starlab will feature one third of the volume and all the payload capability of the International Space Station, making it the most significant fully commercial endeavor in space in history. Starlab will also host the George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park, the first in-space science park, and meet existing, and growing demand for commercial space activities. Starlab will launch on a single flight, targeted for 2028, completely outfitted with GWC Science Park hardware and will be fully functional immediately following spacecraft commissioning.

Power and Propulsion Element, Propulsion SME - Starlab Program


Nanoracks is looking for a highly experienced Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) SME, programmatically reporting to the Starlab Program Manager and functionally to the Lead System Engineer, to be the technical design and programmatic PPE SME for the Starlab space propulsion systems. The PPE Propulsion SME will leverage their expertise to lead the Starlab PPE Propulsion system development, design, production, and certification processes for Starlab. The PPE Propulsion SME will work with Starlab subject matter experts and guide numerous subcontracts to develop and manage the PPE Propulsion development for Starlab.

The ideal candidates will leverage their extensive systems engineering experience, preferably with background in human space systems and leadership skills to guide the Starlab Program PPE Propulsion System development with the team of engineers and subcontractors to ensure Starlab meets its technical requirements on schedule and on budget to deliver the first-ever free-flying commercial space station. 


Key Duties and download

  • Senior Propulsion Systems Subject Matter Expert/ lead (SME) with various satellite/LEO operation design options
  • Propulsion system experience in satellite and/or habitable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) chemical propulsion systems. (SEP a plus but not required)
  • Ability to oversee and lead requirements development and contractor production of Propulsion facility structures and systems
  • Experience in leadership of engineers designing on-orbit propulsion systems for large space systems. Systems include vehicle structure, propulsion, and other facility structural and mechanical interface systems for all on-orbit operations
  • Ability to estimate and control the development of on-orbit structural and propulsion systems to be produced by support contractor teams
  • Propulsion Analysis capabilities. Experience with attitude control, orbital dynamics and on orbit refueling a plus
  • Proven capability to understand the interfaces between all other system interfaces
  • Broad knowledge of propulsion options available for LEO operations
  • Knowledge of launch and on-orbit structural requirements for systems
  • Design experience of propulsion systems with knowledge of LEO systems
  • Mature leadership skills


Key Attributes/Qualifications:

  • Ability to oversee and lead requirements development and contractor production of Avionics systems
  • Mature leadership skills, ability to work well in a team environment remotely or in person
  • Previous experience with NASA or DOD space flight systems or military/commercial aircraft systems
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in Electrical Engineering from an accredited university with related emphasis in design, project management and systems integration. Advanced Degrees a plus
  • Understanding of United States export control laws and regulations
  • Strong understanding of NASA’s design and construction, health and medical and safety standards.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills for both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Ability to travel as necessary both domestic and foreign
  • Experience in Design to Cost and Cost as an Independent Variable (CAIV)
  • Ability to obtain a security clearance
  • 10-15+ years of work experience developing large, complex aerospace systems


EEO Statement:

It is our policy to select, place, train and promote the most qualified individuals based upon relevant factors such as work quality, attitude and experience so as to provide equal employment opportunity for all employees in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and without regard to non-work related factors such as race, color, religion/creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran stats, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, genetic information, or other protected status. When applicable, our policy of non-discrimination applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, training, transfer, promotion, placement, lay-off, compensation, termination, reduction in force and benefits.

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.

The statements contained in this job description are intended to describe the general content and requirements for performance of this job. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties, responsibilities, and requirements. This job description is not an employment agreement or contract. Management has the exclusive right to alter the scope of work within the framework of this job description at any time without prior notice.


Competitive with local and industry standard.

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