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Manufacturing and Build Engineer, Optics

SpaceX , Hawthorne, CA, United States
Employer Description

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars. SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.

Revolutioning the space industry through reusability, Falcon, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon are frequent flyers for critical commercial and government missions. Starlink, SpaceX's satellite constellation, is in its early roll out and is intended to deliver low latency, broadband internet globally. Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable. 

Job Description

The Build Engineer is responsible for building and testing development hardware for an in-space laser communication system. This role interfaces closely between design and manufacturing teams, building development hardware to identify and solve technical challenges, drive design improvements, and deliver a functional and space qualified design that can be built in a high production environment. Build engineers are responsible for procuring new hardware and test equipment, setting up and running tests, designing tooling and laboratory equipment and providing direction to technician teams to enable them to contribute to hardware development and prepare for flight hardware production. Through the production, test, and integration of optical components, you will expand SpaceX’s capabilities to transmit high-rate data via laser communication systems.


  • Apply optics and photonics knowledge to laser communication system trades and component development, including design, analysis, and validation.
  • Participate in validation testing, including environmental qualification, performance characterization, lot acceptance testing, and reliability testing.
  • Review test data and resolve production issues on vendor and in-house components.
  • Develop test plans and maintain design specifications and capabilities data.
  • Interface with manufacturing and supply chain teams to ensure final designs can be produced in accordance with overall project goals.
  • Collaborate with software and automation teams to develop test and production scripts and tools.
  • Develop test fixtures for engineering and production tests.
  • Work closely with analysts and design team to ensure solutions meet the requirements for design as well as manufacturing processes.
  • Develop production procedures and processes and manage the transition of parts and assemblies from development to high rate production.
  • Coordinate and execute development, qualification, and acceptance testing of systems and tooling needed to meet hardware deadlines.
  • Execute design for manufacturability changes to enhance production efficiency.
  • Create original CAD models and prints for flight and tooling components.
  • Resolve and analyze manufacturing discrepancies.
Job Requirements


  • Undergraduate degree in physics, optical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or equivalent.
  • At least 2 years of hands-on laboratory or work experience in optics, photonics, laser technology, or precision mechanical design or testing. (University lab, student project, or internship counts).


  • Knowledge of and experience in lasers, photodiodes, fiber optics, optics testing/troubleshooting techniques, or signal integrity principles.
  • Competence with optical test equipment (power meters, interferometers, laser sources, etc.).
  • Experience with hardware development for high-reliability applications.
  • Ability to assess risk and make design and development decisions without all available data.
  • Strong sense of accountability and integrity.
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, autonomously driven, and demanding atmosphere.
  • Experience designing, developing, or testing space qualified hardware.
  • Knowledge of machining and manufacturing of small mechanical assemblies.
  • Experience with GD&T concepts.
  • Experience with precision metrology.
  • Experience with NX CAD software or similar.
  • Passion for advancing the commercial space industry.
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Strong work ethic and drive to succeed.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.


  • Working extended hours and weekends as needed.


  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about ITAR here.

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.

10 August 2019
09 September 2019
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors