Structures and Mechanisms SME – Starlab Program

Position:Structures and Mechanisms SME - Starlab Program
Reports To:Lead Systems Engineer
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 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.

Structures and Mechanisms SME - Starlab Program


Nanoracks is looking for a highly experienced Structures and Mechanisms SME, programmatically reporting to the Starlab Program Manager and functionally to the Lead System Engineer, to be the technical design and programmatic Structures and Mechanisms SME lead for the Starlab ground and space systems. The Structures and Mechanisms SME will leverage their expertise in spacecraft systems to lead the Starlab Structures and Mechanisms process development strategies for Starlab. The Structures and Mechanisms SME will report to the Program Manager and the entire Starlab team. The Structures and Mechanisms SME will work with other Starlab subject matter experts and guide numerous subcontracts to develop and manage the Structures and Mechanisms development process for Starlab.

The ideal candidate will leverage their Structures and Mechanisms experience, preferably with background in human space systems and leadership skills to guide the Starlab Program Structures and Mechanisms development process 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.


Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Senior Mechanical Systems Subject Matter Expert/ lead (SME) with experience in developing and fielding human-rated spaceflight hardware, specialized knowledge in habitable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) systems is a plus.
  • Ability to oversee and lead requirements development and contractor production of Structures and Mechanical systems, including assembly, integration and test.
  • Experience in leadership of teams of engineers designing on-orbit systems for large structures and complex mechanical systems. Systems include vehicle structure, propulsion systems, ECLSS, thermal, power generating systems (solar array) and other facility structural and mechanical systems for all on-board operations and habitability as well as scientific research operations.
  • Ability to estimate and manage the development of on-orbit structural and mechanical systems to be produced by support contractor teams.
  • Proven capability to understand the interfaces between all other system functions.
  • Broad knowledge of systems that will be controlled and operated by mechanical systems.
  • Experience in conducting detailed structural analyses and leading the development of large structural analysis models.
  • Knowledge of launch and on-orbit structural requirements for systems.
  • Design experience of structural and mechanical systems with knowledge of LEO systems.
  • Mature leadership skills, ability to work well in a team environment remotely or in person.
  • Previous experience with NASA or DOD human space flight systems or military/commercial aircraft systems.
  • Degree in Mechanical Engineering with related emphasis in design, project management and systems integration. Advanced degrees a plus.
  • 10+ years of experience.


Key Attributes/Qualifications

  • 8-15+ years of work experience developing large, complex aerospace systems.
  • 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 Structure and Mechanism Engineering processes and principles.
  • Experience working with multiple subcontractor teams to integrate complex subsystems into an integrated aerospace system.
  • Understanding of United States export control laws and regulations.
  • Strong understanding of NASA’s design and construction, health and medical and safety standards.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering mechanical, aerospace), hard sciences (i.e. physics, materials science), computer science/engineering 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.
  • 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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