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Spacecraft Thermal Engineer

The Aerospace Corporation | El Segundo CA 90245 USA | Full Time | Posted: 02/19/2021

Job Descriptiontop

In an era of dynamic change in space, Aerospace is addressing a generation of complex challenges. We operate the only federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) committed exclusively to the space enterprise. Our technical experts span every discipline of space-related science and engineering. Join our team and thrive in a career that matters to the world and you personally.


The mission of the Thermal Control Department is to develop, apply, and communicate thermal engineering expertise for spacecraft, payloads, and related systems to  inform and enable  key customer decisions.

The Thermal Control Department consists of a team of experienced, trusted engineers with deep expertise in the design and analysis of spacecraft thermal control systems from component to system level. The department performs technical studies, experimental investigations, and realtime assessments to support key decisions by our customers and their contractors. No other organization collects such a breadth of technical knowledge and experience in thermal control and thermal management systems for the space industry. The department has a strong mentoring culture where knowledge gained is stewarded and shared in a healthy team environment.   Here, more than at any other employer, you can apply your expertise and interface with other subject matter experts to solve hard problems across a broad range of space programs.

The Aerospace Corporation provides an exceptional work/life balance.   Our people are our most valued assets.

This position requires a strong background in the disciplines of heat transfer and thermal engineering and their applications to space systems; and direct experience in thermal design and control of spacecraft.

Key Functions

Provide engineering expertise in the areas of thermal control systems for satellites and other spacecraft / space vehicles and payloads:

  • Lead and conduct analysis, modeling, simulation, and assessments of designs and design concepts relating to spacecraft thermal control systems and their components.

  • Lead and conduct experimental investigations including thermal design, thermal control systems integration, thermal environmental testing, thermal model correlation, data reduction and visualization, and engineering application of results.

  • Participate in and review integration, test, and flight operations relating to spacecraft thermal control systems and their components.

  • Interact with program offices to identify and resolve design, acceptance and performance issues relating to space vehicle thermal control subsystems.

  • Provide timely and technically accurate reports to management and customers.

  • Travel to government and contractor facilities in support of design reviews, readiness reviews, technical audits, failure investigations, technical interchange meetings, launch support activities, and hardware acceptance reviews.

  • Lead and participate in the broader thermal technology community through conferences, concept development, and technical interaction with other leaders in the field. Identify significant technological developments that can contribute to the success of space projects.

Demonstrate expert knowledge in any one or more of the following:

  • Spacecraft thermal control hardware including heat pipes, radiators, pumped fluid loops, phase change materials, heaters, temperature sensors, thermostats, thermal blankets, phase change materials, and thermal switches.

  • Integration of visible or infrared sensors with cryogenic cooling systems such as mechanical refrigeration, cryoradiators, expendable coolants, and thermal storage devices.

  • Analysis of heat transfer in practice and theory, such as software, algorithms, or codes, analytical and/or numerical formulations, and related engineering topics such as thermodynamics, single- and multiphase flow, and energy systems.

  • Interdisciplinary engineering analysis such as Structural-Thermal-Optical-Performance (STOP) analysis, thermo-structural / thermal distortion analysis, thermal analysis of RF microwave systems, power-thermal energy system optimization, and contamination analysis.

  • Environmental testing practice and theory, including design and test margin philosophy, statistical analysis, a deep working knowledge of spacecraft or launch vehicle environmental test standards, and thermal model analysis and correlation to test data.

Provide department-level technical leadership in two or more of the following areas:

  • Lead and coordinate teams of 3 or more people (including self) in at least one project or program on a sustained basis.

  • Plan and coordinate department efforts in knowledge management of at least one broad technical expertise area, including mentoring/teaching less experienced staff.

  • Plan and coordinate at least one sustained department engagement activity in the broader thermal technology community.



  • B.S. in mechanical or aerospace engineering or closely related field with emphasis in heat transfer or thermal sciences.

  • Typically 15 years direct spacecraft thermal engineering experience.

  • Position requires a thorough background in all modes of heat transfer, thermodynamics, thermal sciences, thermal engineering, and two-phase thermophysics.

  • Effective interpersonal skills to coordinate efforts and work with other internal and external organizations.

  • This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance, which is issued by the US government. U.S citizenship is required to obtain a security clearance.



  • Advanced degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering or closely related field with emphasis in heat transfer or thermal sciences

  • Graduate-level academic coursework in conduction heat transfer, radiation heat transfer, numerical methods, and two-phase thermophysics

  • Research and/or laboratory experience in cryogenics, visible and infrared sensor systems, heat pipe technology, thermal blankets, and spacecraft thermal modeling

  • Direct experience in developing/reviewing thermal engineering requirements, thermal integration and test plans/procedures

  • Patents and publications in applicable industry journals and/or conferences

  • Active DoD Secret or Top Secret security clearance is preferred

  • Active TS/SCI clearance is highly preferred

  • Hands-on experience with Thermal Desktop ® and/or SINDA software

Equal Opportunity Commitment

The Aerospace Corporation is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We believe that a diverse workforce creates an environment in which unique ideas are developed and differing perspectives are valued, producing superior customer solutions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, color, religion,  genetic information, marital status, ancestry, national origin, protected veteran status, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, or disability status and any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. If you re an individual with a disability or a disabled veteran who needs assistance using our online job search and application tools or need reasonable accommodation to complete the job application process, please contact us by phone at 310.336.5432 or by email at You can also review The Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law and  the supplement, as well as the  Pay Transparency Policy Statement.  

Job Detailstop

Location El Segundo, CA, 90245, United States
Categories Engineering
Sec Clearances Top Secret/SCI

Location Maptop

Contact Informationtop

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Job Code R000978