Thermal Engineer II – La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Job Details

Job ID: 11292

Do you excel in an environment that values exploration and discovery? We have a universe of opportunities waiting for you!

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is NASA’s lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system. Our core competency is the end-to-end implementation of unprecedented robotic space missions to study Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe.

JPL, located in Pasadena, California, has a casual, campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

We are proud to be part of NASA and Caltech, as we explore the universe and make history through new discoveries.

We aim to do things never done before and to go places few can go. We dare mighty things…do you?


This unique opportunity is part of the Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division which engages in research, technology development, and the creation of advanced mechanical, thermal, propulsion, and electronic packaging systems with expertise that spans the full breath of mechanical disciplines and is applied from architectural concept development through operations.

As the Thermal Engineer, you will be working for JPL’s Propulsion, Thermal and Materials Engineering Section which provides leadership and unique world-class expertise in a wide range of technologies and technical discipline areas of chemical and electrical propulsion, thermal, materials, contamination control, analytical chemistry, geochemical instruments, physics-based modeling, and multiphase flow.

Provide sustained thermal engineering support on a flight project or technology development task by yourself or as a lead of a small team to meet thermal element deliverables, including competed mission proposals.

Identify a feasible thermal architecture and mature designs through conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design phases using practical passive and active thermal control techniques.

Support design trades that successfully balance performance margins, resource use, risk, cost, and schedule.

Craft and make effective presentations at major reviews or routine team meetings to tell credible thermal story to managers and peers, close all ensuing review action items.

Build trusting relationships between customer, team members, and line management.

Mentor junior team members as needed.

Partner with other engineers to complete interface agreements.

Extensive understanding and wide application of principles, theories, concepts and techniques in a relevant field of knowledge.

Evaluate and devises approaches to meet engineering requirements.

Develop complex mechanical components from design requirements.

Partner with other engineers and project personnel to evaluate tests and verify mechanical products or systems.

Conduct complex design analyses and oversees assembly and test of mechanical components.


Required Skills:
Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering (thermal focus) or related technical discipline with typically a minimum of 4 years of related experience; Master’s degree in similar discipline with a minimum of 2 years of experience; or PhD degree in similar discipline with a minimum of 0 years of experience.

Thermal systems experience in thermal design, analysis and hardware.

Capability to develop conceptual thermal designs, perform trade studies, and deselect to a design baseline.

Skills to establish thermal requirements and interfaces with project partners inside and outside of JPL.

Capability to identify creative designs within available project resources to meet requirements without appreciable line management oversight.

Knowledge of industry thermal practices.

Demonstrated capability of task ownership and commitment to working extra hours to meet key milestones.

Excellent verbal, written, interpersonal, and organizational skills.

Must have general understanding and application of standard principles, theories, concepts and techniques in heat transfer (especially fundamental radiation heat-transfer principles), fluid dynamics and thermal engineering.

Desired Skills:
Thermal-fluids and/or space engineering experience, particularly on a flight instrument or spacecraft.

Experience in planning, preparation, and execution of flight thermal balance tests (instrument, spacecraft).

Knowledge of policies and procedures at JPL and NASA, including the NASA 5 x 5 risk matrix.

Proposal experience to secure new business in the flight project and/or technology developments worlds.

Working knowledge of thermal environments across the solar system for flight system development.

Thermal software experience (TSS/SINDA,Thermal Desktop and/or NX Space Systems Thermal) and mechanical CAD (Solidworks, AutoCAD and/or NX).

Experience with manufacturing methods involved with thermal fluids systems such as welding and bending techniques, leak tests and inspection techniques for pressure vessels, filling processes and refrigerant handling.

Experience writing procedures, releasing drawings, and negotiating/implementing cross-domain interfaces such as manufacturing, mechanical stress, or outside vendors/collaborators.

Working knowledge of typical instrumentation and ground support equipment used in thermal tests.

Work Authorization Ability to Obtain Work Authorization


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