Chief Engineer – Starlab Program

Position:Chief Engineer - Starlab Program
Reports To:Starlab Program Manager
Location:Webster, TX
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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, powered by Voyager Space, 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 yet all the payload capability of the International Space Station, making it a revolutionary commercial endeavor. Starlab plans to meet existing and growing demand for commercial space activities and will launch on a single flight, targeted for 2028.

Chief Engineer - Starlab Program


Nanoracks is looking for a highly experienced Chief Engineer (CE), programmatically reporting to the Starlab Program Manager and functionally to the leader of Nanoracks Engineering, to be the technical design and development lead for the Starlab ground and space systems. The CE will have broad systems level development experience across several disciplines and will leverage their technical expertise in space systems to lead a team of subject matter experts and guide numerous subcontracts to develop Starlab.

The ideal candidate will leverage their extensive systems engineering experience, preferably with background in the International Space Station development and/or operations, human rated space systems and leadership skills to guide the Starlab Program 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.


Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for overall technical solution for the Starlab system development.
  • Ensure Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) principles are adhered to for the Starlab and the associated ground and research systems.
  • Technical lead for the Design, Development, Test and Evaluation (DDT&E) and system verification activities for the overall SE&I of Starlab.
  • Provides technical direction to Starlab technical team including subcontractors.
  • Responsible for managing and resolving all technical issues, risks, and changes.
  • Defines and manages all physical interfaces and induced environments and models including changes as required.
  • Develops technical Statements Of Work (SOWs) for subcontractors.
  • Collaborate with Starlab Program Manager to resolve technical issues within cost and schedule constraints.


Key Attributes/Qualifications:

  • 10+ years of work experience developing large, complex aerospace systems.
  • 5+ years of direct experience in Requirements Definition, System Engineering, DDT&E, operations, and sustaining engineering for complex human-rated aerospace systems preferred.
  • Previous ISS and/or human space flight experience required.
  • Comfortable representing technical and programmatic information to various stakeholder communities including scientists, academics, engineering staff, executives, and investors—both nationally and outside the United States.
  • Significant experience in System Engineering processes and principles.
  • Extensive experience developing systems engineering plans and will be expected to define a systems engineering plan, processes and guide.
  • Experience working with multiple subcontractor teams to integrate complex subsystems into an integrated aerospace system.
  • Understanding of United States export control laws and regulations.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering (i.e., mechanical, electrical, aerospace), hard sciences (i.e. physics, materials science), computer science/engineering or mathematics from an accredited university.
  • 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.


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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