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Senior Thermal Analyst, Space Products



Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, April 8, 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 space products engineering team is producing low-cost, reliable, highly efficient, Hall-effect thruster propulsion systems for modern satellites and spacecraft. Our thrusters will be used in Low Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit, Lunar missions, and beyond. The team includes talented engineers who have designed and launched into orbit over 1,000 satellites over the course of their careers. Comprehensive design, prototype production, qualification, and acceptance tests are conducted within our Alameda and Sunnyvale facilities.
The Opportunity
You will work with an interdisciplinary team of mechanical engineers, systems engineers, propulsion engineers, electrical engineers, and analysts to bring designs to life. This position will serve as a Thermal Analyst for the Space Products group. New programs come in frequently. You will be a primary contributor on a team that develops new systems/modules and launches them into orbit.

How You'll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Responsible for thermal design, analysis and test of electric propulsion and other space components mounted internal and external to the spacecraft bus.
  • Support architectural trades & parametric analyses using first order principles and preliminary thermal analysis for orbital conditions and vehicle operating modes.
  • Develop automated scripts enabling rapid analysis updates accommodating trades (operational modes, duty cycles, structural distortion mapping).
  • Design, analyze and select thermal hardware such as: multi-layer insulation, surface finishes and interface materials as needed.
  • Define and execute test setups for thermal cycling and TVAC tests for development and qualification testing at unit and subsystem level, and correlate test results with mission operations models.
  • Develop standards to be used on thermal analyses; define tools & acceptable post-processing methods.
  • Correlate system models to test data and provide the test & operations team with test sequences and other guidance about safe product operations.
  • Improve the existing analytical capabilities, processes, and tools.
  • Help design tests, guide instrumentation selection & location to validate and refine models.
  • Develop, document, & present the load cases and results in a clear, concise manner in internal and customer design reviews.

Why We Value You

  • Bachelor’s degree in in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or related technical discipline.
  • 5+ years' professional experience with thermal analysis in space applications.
  • 5+ years of experience with thermal analysis software (Thermal Desktop, SINDA/FLUINT, etc).
  • 2+ years of experience with thermal cycling / TVAC test planning, test set-up, results correlation, and system verification.
  • 2+ years of experience in development and/or selection of thermal control hardware, such as: surface finishes, interface materials, MLI blankets, temperature sensors, and heaters.
  • Possess a strong understanding of commonly used materials & their thermal/mechanical behavior.
  • Demonstrated ability of working with design engineers symbiotically to create efficient designs that satisfy broad requirements.
  • You have shown familiarity with anchoring models to test data.
  • Experience owning analysis projects from beginning to end, with minimal oversight.
  • You are self-motivated with strong organizational, communication and documentation skills.

Desired Multipliers

  • Advanced degree (Master’s or PhD) in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or related technical discipline
  • 8+ years of industry experience with space thermal engineering
  • Experience developing hardware that has been to space, and which successfully operated as intended
  • You are comfortable with data processing tools ranging from Excel to custom scripts built with VBA, Python, MATLAB, etc.
  • Experience with mechanical CAD (NX or similar) and PLM (Teamcenter or similar)
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.