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Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ground System Structures



Other Engineering
Alameda, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2023
The Company
Astra’s mission is to Improve Life on Earth from Space® by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Today, Astra offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch dedicated orbital launch services of any operational launch provider in the world, and one of the industry’s first flight-proven electric propulsion systems for satellites, Astra Spacecraft Engine™. Astra delivered its first commercial launch to low Earth orbit in 2021, making it the fastest company in history to reach this milestone, just five years after it was founded in 2016. Astra (NASDAQ: ASTR) was the first space launch company to be publicly traded on Nasdaq.
The Team
The Ground System Structures Team is a cross-functional group of engineers working to design and improve our ground support equipment. We develop the structures necessary to transport, erect, hold down and release an orbital class rocket. Our team touches all aspects of system design including research and concept development, detailed design, analysis, and drawings. The team is also responsible for the development of qualification test plans and supporting testing and launch operations.
Our deployable ground system can be packed can be built and commissioned in Alameda, CA, then deployed anywhere in the world and assembled in a matter of days. Astra's ground system equipment is specifically designed to enable a high launch cadence, allowing Astra to lead the way to daily access to space for the first time in human history.
The Opportunity
Come join a multidisciplinary team of engineers and technicians providing industry leading solutions for liquid propulsion launch vehicles. As an engineer on this team you will provide the specification, analysis, design, fabrication/procurement, assembly and test of structural and mechanical systems that support the Launch Operations Team. This includes but is not limited to, structural assemblies required to safely transport the launch vehicle from facilities in Alameda, CA to global spaceports, the ground structure used to support and erect the vehicle, aspects of pad safety/fire suppression, and vehicle propellant handling functions. Emphasis on reliability, enabling rapid deployment schedules, efficient in-field operations, and ease of maintenance are key to success.
This position goes beyond our immediate team as you will also work closely with the the First Stage, Upper Stage, Avionics and Launch Operations Teams. This role will report to the Sr. Manager of Launch Product Development.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Own entire sub-systems of our launcher, with minimal oversight to create design solutions from initial concept to detailed solid models and released drawing packages.
  • Document assembly, maintenance, and operation instructions.
  • Report on schedule and budget as required.
  • Design structures that support vehicle transport and erection.
  • Analyze structures using hand-calcs and FEA (primarily large weldments, bearings, and clevises).
  • Design routing of fluid systems based on piping and instrument diagrams (P&ID's).
  • Create development and qualification test plans and support execution.
  • Collaborate with a cross-disciplinary team of system owners including electrical, mechanical, controls, and software engineers to support launch operations.
  • Conduct design reviews and implement feedback.
  • Obtain stakeholder buy-in.
  • Document and very cross-team requirements are satisfied.
  • Additional duties may be assigned by leader.


  • 5+ years experience in mechanical / structural design
  • You are experienced with the design of weldments, and large 5+ ton structures
  • You are experienced with a variety of additional weldment processes including fabrication, and post weld heat treatment and machining
  • Use can analyze welded joints using hand-calcs and FEA per AWS or equivalent standard
  • You have experience with creating weldment drawings per AWS standards
  • You are experience with bolted joint design
  • You are experienced with heavy machinery, including static and articulating mechanical joints and pivots, including the design of lugs, pins, clevis' in high stress and corrosive environments
  • You are experienced with CAD and PLM software tools, particularly with large, shared assemblies
  • You own projects from beginning to end, with little oversight
  • You’re excited to work in a fast-paced, self-driven, iterative startup environment, and to build the systems that enable daily launches to space
  • You're an effective communicator who is comfortable leading meetings and giving input
  • Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering (or related field)

Desired Multipliers

  • 8+ years experience in mechanical / structural design
  • Master's degree in mechanical or structural engineering (or related field)
  • Experience with release mechanisms, and hydraulic actuation
  • Expertise with Siemens NX CAD software
  • Expertise in NX Nastran FEA software
  • Experience with Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, FMEA, to identify and mitigate potential system problems and failure points
  • Experience with fluid systems, converting piping and instrumentation diagrams into operational systems
  • Experience reviewing data, resolving issues with hardware, and root cause analysis
  • Willing to occasionally travel to various production, test, and launch locations.
ITAR Requirements: This position requires compliance with U.S. Government space technology trade restrictions, specifically the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and additional regulations governing satellite, launch vehicle, missile, and other related technologies. All jobs restricted by these regulations will be contingent upon the applicant’s status as a documented U.S. Person or their ability to receive a trade license from the cognizant government agency; in addition to any required company background checks and in compliance with applicable U.S. and California laws. Similarly, positions requiring the ability to work on government contracts or a security clearance are also contingent upon the applicants ability to receive the appropriate clearance and be allowed to work on U.S. government contracts.
You do not need to match every listed expectation to apply for this position. Here at Astra, we know that diverse perspectives foster the innovation we need to be successful, and we are committed to building a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.
San Francisco Applicants: Astra will consider applicants with arrest and conviction records (criminal histories) in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.