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Sr. Reusable TPS Manufacturing Engineer

Denver, CO
  • Expired: 14 days ago. Applications are no longer accepted.
Job Description

About the Company

Our client is a fully-integrated manufacturer commercializing NASA thermal protection systems (TPS), or heat shields, for the aerospace and defense markets. They will provide solutions to lower costs, reduce lead times, and increase overall safety of flight for future space and hypersonic vehicles.

This is an exciting opportunity for ownership, autonomy, and to really make your mark at an early-stage startup focusing solely on TPS!

About the Role

Our client is building out their initial factory that will produce reusable TPS materials originally developed by NASA for use on customer vehicles ranging from reusable rockets to hypersonic vehicles. The Senior/Lead Manufacturing Engineer will lead the development and manufacturing of reusable TPS material product lines.


  • You’ll be responsible for end-to-end ownership for the manufacturing of new and existing reusable thermal protection system (TPS) hardware for customer vehicles
  • Identify, plan, and execute capital equipment, machine, and floor layout upgrades to meet volume production demand and vehicle delivery schedule
  • Develop, qualify, and refine reusable TPS manufacturing processes to meet all design and business requirements including safety, quality, efficiency, and on-time delivery
  • Perform thermal properties testing of reusable TPS materials consistent with customer vehicle thermal requirements, in concert with other engineering disciplines
  • Hire and lead/mentor more junior engineers
  • Provide support during TPS installation at customer sites
  • Launch and mission operations support
  • Setup and operate a wide range of precision calibrated tools
  • Work in compliance with area hazardous materials use, processing, and safety which includes the use of respirators and protective clothing

Basic Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Thermodynamics, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or similar discipline
  • Strong experience in manufacturing process development for reusable TPS used in prior space missions, or equivalent relevant industry experience
  • Knowledge of reusable TPS materials (specifically alumina enhanced thermal barrier (AETB) and related materials)
  • Knowledge of techniques including ceramics sintering, spray coating, CNC machining, waterproofing, and adhesive attachments
  • Comfortable working with ceramic fibers, ceramic powders, and common solvents
  • Proficient at accurately measuring and mixing using scales, beakers and various monitoring probes for the processing of ceramic tiles, surface coatings, waterproofing sealants, and RTV adhesive attachments
  • Experience setting up assemblies and parts in various types of processing and curing equipment such as ovens and high-temperature furnaces/kilns to obtain desired cure and sintering
  • Motivated self-starter dedicated to improvement and able to work independently in a fast paced, rapidly changing startup environment
  • Excellent communications skills with the ability to communicate with internal/external customers, vendors, management etc. in both formal and informal situations
  • Passion for space exploration and a firm belief in the utility of affordable access to space
  • Must be able to work all shifts and available for overtime including weekends as needed

Preferred Experience:

  • If you’ve manufactured headshields for NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser, SpaceX’s Dragon or Starship, or a similar vehicle we want to meet you!
  • Master’s or Ph.D. in a science or engineering discipline
  • Experience working in a professional manufacturing engineering environment with high performance and reliability requirements (aerospace industry preferred)
  • Experience within elements of TPS engineering, including material development, hands-on thermal properties testing, thermal analysis, system design, or sensor instrumentation
  • Experience with software such as FEMAP, NASTRAN, ANSYS Workbench, or Thermal Desktop
  • Experience with additive manufacturing
  • Experience with other material systems including carbon/carbon, ceramic matrix composites, ultra-high-temperature ceramics, or carbon phenolics
  • Experience in developing new materials and high-temperature coatings
  • Experience with creating automation process and control


  • Be the first employee hired by the two founders
  • Significant equity on the ground floor of a startup
  • Work alongside a fun team of passionate high performers that use the company values consistently as a ‘North Star’ for decision making
  • Health/Dental/Vision (100% company coverage for you and your family)
  • Generous PTO structure + major US holidays
  • 401(k) – plan is established with a non-voluntary 5% employer match.
  • Abundance of opportunity for growth

Pay Range

The base salary for this position is $110,000- $160,000 per year; higher compensation may be available someone with advanced skills and/or experience.

Total compensation will be valued higher, which would include Equity on the ground floor of a startup, (Medical, Dental, Vision - 100% company coverage for you and your family), generous PTO structure + major US holidays, access to 401(k) plan with non-voluntary employer match.

Additional Requirements:

  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State
  • Ability to travel up to 25% of the time
  • Must pass DoD level background checks for entry into various government facilities
  • Active Secret or Top Secret SCI clearance preferred but not required. Must be willing to pursue a clearance if not already cleared. Note that an active clearance may provide the opportunity for you to work on sensitive missions. If so, you will be subject to pre-employment drug and random drug and alcohol testing

Company Description:

This position is a direct hire, permanent placement for a client of AdAstra.

AdAstra's mission is building thriving teams within elite aerospace organizations.

Our commitment is to curate and close premier talent for our partners, achieved via specialized technical screening, personalized culture assessment, and high-touch candidate engagement. We are motivated to foster boundless team satisfaction and catalyze innovation for future generations, enabling inconceivable technology from Earth, to the stars.

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