GNC Engineer Temporary


SpaceX is looking for engineers with backgrounds in orbital mechanics, control theory, state estimation, spacecraft systems design, optimization, and software development to join the Starlink guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) team. Come help us write the autopilot algorithms for thousands of satellites (the world’s largest constellation!) and more than two million user terminals, enabling access to high-speed broadband internet in all corners of the world.

There are several sub-teams within Starlink GNC with different focus areas. Applicants will interview for specific teams based on hiring needs and qualifications. Specific team responsibilities might include:

Constellation design and optimizationFleet management and satellite orbit transfer automation, including all supporting software infrastructureConstellation-level and network-level analysis of both existing and proposed satellite systemsSatellite collision avoidanceSatellite attitude determination and controlSatellite orbit control, such as low thrust trajectory optimization and station-keepingPrecision state estimation and control of various network payloads (RF antennas, laser inter-satellite links)


Develop highly reliable and performant GNC algorithms, simulations, tools, services, and dashboards using C++ or Python; Starlink GNC Engineers write actual production code, not just prototypes for transcription by another teamParticipate in architecture, design, and code reviewsBulk data analysis to review performance data from various elements of the Starlink constellation and networkWrite high quality technical documentation of programs, algorithms, or analysisSupport your relevant on-call operations rotation, commanding satellites or reviewing network data to keep our network continuously operating at peak performance


This is a temporary position with SpaceX, for the length of time as stated, and is subject to change with minimal notice as business needs dictate.



Bachelor’s degree in computer science, aerospace, physics or an engineering discipline and 5+ years of professional experience in GNCSoftware development experience in either C++ or Python


Some preferred skills and experience depend on the specific team within Starlink GNC.

Master’s degree or PHD in an engineering discipline or physicsDeveloped, debugged and deployed software that has been used in real world applications/projectsCreative approach to problem solving, exceptional analytical skills and engineering fundamentalsCradle to grave development of three axis stabilized spacecraft incorporating momentum, magnetic, and propulsive controlStrong understanding of orbital mechanics, including low thrust trajectory optimization and stationkeepingExperience in verifying GNC algorithm performance via simulation, and validation of the simulation’s modelsExperience with state estimation, particularly attitude determination, orbit determination, GNSS, and radio navigationFamiliarity with numerical probability of collision methods such as Alfano, Foster, and HallGeneral familiarity with the disciplines necessary for spacecraft flight including; structures, propulsion, avionics, GNC, flight software, dynamics, launch and mission operations, and integration. Practical experience in real world development of these systems is highly desiredCapable of identifying and solving complex problems with little to no supervision or directionPassion for advancing the commercial space industryAbility to work in a fast-paced, autonomously driven, and demanding start-up atmosphereExcellent communication skills both written and verbal


Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed

Pay range:    
GNC Engineer/Senior: $160,000.00 – $220,000.00/per year    
Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k)-retirement plan, short & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.

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