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Principal Systems Engineer - Spacecraft Propulsion

Company:  Ball Aerospace

Boulder, CO, US, 80301

Date:  May 24, 2021
Job Category:  Engineering/ Technical
Req. ID:  873

Clearance Requirement:  A current, active Top Secret security clearance is required.


Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most.


We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. For more information, visit Ball Aerospace Career Site or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


The Engineering Strategic Support Unit comprises the organizational talent and technical leadership that enables the successful delivery of high-impact discriminating technologies for our customers’ missions. Our collaborative, cross-functional teams are committed to innovation, integrity, continual learning and strong execution.


Principal Systems Engineer – Spacecraft Propulsion

This position is for a highly-experienced spacecraft propulsion system engineer who can lead a team through the design phase, perform analysis, support the production phase, support the test phase and lead the operation phase.


What You’ll Do:
•Lead the development of innovative propulsion solutions and architectures
•Lead an engineering team through the development of new and/or refinement of existing propulsion systems including sizing, performance analyses, requirement allocation, design, verification, and flight operations
•Requirement flow-down, development, verification
•Propulsion system/component sizing, performance analyses and design tasks
•Subcontract technical management including development of specifications and SOWs
•Leadership of hardware design, and build
•Lead and conduct subsystem testing
•Cost account, resource and schedule management
•Technical writing (procedural, analysis support and description documents)
•Launch and mission operations support
•Maintain a regular and predictable work schedule.
•Establish and maintain effective working relationships within the department, the Strategic Business Units, Strategic Support Units and the Company.  Interact appropriately with others in order to maintain a positive and productive work environment.
•Perform other duties as necessary.


What You’ll Need:
•BS degree or higher in Engineering or a related technical field is required, plus 12 or more years related experience.
•Each higher-level degree, i.e., Master’s Degree or Ph.D., may substitute for two years of experience. Related technical experience may be considered in lieu of education. Degree must be from a university, college, or school which is accredited by an agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education, US Department of Education.
•Current Top Secret security clearance required.
•8 years of direct experience in spacecraft Propulsion Subsystem Engineering with a solid understanding of all aspects of design, analysis, production, test and operation.
•A strong technical foundation – people who flourish behave like owners
•Fluids knowledge preferred, strong CFD background desired.

•Capable of performing propulsion system sizing and performance analysis (such as propellant usage/budgets, flow/dP analyses, water hammer, thruster plume impingement)

•Effective in small team work environment with broad responsibilities and minimal oversight.
•A desire to learn - our culture fosters intellectual curiosity.
•Demonstrated experience leading multi-disciplinary teams including meeting cost, schedule, and performance goals.
•Additional propulsion system type knowledge is highly desirable:

    ◦Regulated Pressure Systems
    ◦Cold gas
    ◦Electric Propulsion
    ◦Plume analysis
•Experience with MATLAB and other industry propulsion analytical tools is highly desirable.

•Customer Relationships: Extensive knowledge of missions and customers across core technologies areas. Knowledge/experience working with critical customer base, established relationships with key personnel within customer community.
•Superb presentation skills with experience to senior decision making and technical audiences.


Working Conditions:
•Work is performed in an office, laboratory, production floor, or clean room, outdoors or remote research environment.
•May occasionally work in production work centers where use of protective equipment and gear is required.
•May access other facilities in various weather conditions.
•Travel and local commute between Ball campuses and other possible non-Ball locations may be required.




Verification that your current security clearance or government customer access meets the requirement for this position will be required.


Relocation for this position is available.


Compensation & Benefits

  • HIRING SALARY RANGE: $142,000 - $179,000 (Salary to be determined by the education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities of the applicant, internal equity, and alignment with market data.)
  • This position includes a competitive benefits package. Click here to learn more.




Ball Aerospace is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran status, or disability status.

Nearest Major Market: Boulder
Nearest Secondary Market: Denver

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