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Posted on about 2 months ago

Droneship Recovery Engineer, Long Beach


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 operates the world’s first automated unmanned vessel certified to land orbital class vehicles. The SpaceX recovery team has the awesome mission of ensuring SpaceX’s vehicles are successfully landed, recovered, and returned for subsequent flights. SpaceX recovery engineers are responsible for the operation of SpaceX’s fleet of droneships, astronaut recovery vessels, and fairing recovery vessels. Recovering and reflying rockets is historic and has changed the rocket industry for the future…and you could be a part of that team.


  • Own and manage critical droneship/vessel hardware used for recovering flight hardware offshore
  • Perform troubleshooting, upgrades, and shore side system maintenance on vessel hardware including mechanical, fluids, hydraulic, electrical, or control systems
  • Ensure systems are in place to guarantee hardware mission readiness – including, but not limited to, preventative maintenance, critical spares, and hardware testing
  • Design, build, and test new ground support equipment in support of improving recovery operations
  • Develop work instructions to support ongoing operations, maintenance, repairs, and upgrades
  • Identify areas of operational improvement & work with design teams to develop and implement innovative new solutions
  • Support operational engineering duties for West Coast SpaceX vessels offshore
  • Interface between Launch Teams, Vehicle Refurbishment, Flight Hardware Logistics and Recovery to improve overall strategies with Falcon 9 Reuse
  • Remain synchronized with all recovery operations on both coasts to ensure commonality in both hardware and operations where applicable


  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or similar
  • 1+ years of experience designing, building, and/or maintaining complex mechanical hardware (internships included)


  • Experience in aerospace or marine industry
  • Experience operating and troubleshooting remote-operated ground control systems
  • Testing experience including setting test objectives, writing test plans, and executing hands-on testing
  • Experience with critical operations where real-time decision-making affects success criteria
  • Able to work well in an integrated collaborative team environment including daily communication/interactions with technicians, engineers, and managers
  • Able to prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment
  • Self-motivated and directed with keen attention to detail
  • Ongoing drive for continuous improvement in all aspects of work
  • Detail oriented, organized, and demonstrate a high sense of urgency


  • Ability to work in a high-concentration, high-stress environment; good response to problems posed by short deadlines; prolonged mental concentration (under possible extended work hours)
  • Willing to support offshore operations, including working recovery missions at sea averaging 5 or more days per quarter
  • Position may require long hours (10-12+ hour days) and weekend work
  • Willing to work in extreme outdoor environments – heat, cold, rain, wind, open ocean
  • Ability to climb ladders and work in tight/confined spaces
  • Willing to work with hazardous materials
  • Ability to perform job duties that require standing, kneeling, crouching, twisting upper body, working in cramped positions in small openings, climbing hand over hand, and lifting 25 lbs.
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery
  • Ability to pass Air Force background checks for Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License
  • Position is subject to pre-employment drug and random drug and alcohol testing

Pay range:
Recovery Engineer/Level I: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year
Recovery Engineer/Level II: $110,000.00 - $130,000.00/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 and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation and will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.



  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the 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.