ground support
fluid mechanics

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a 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.

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 a Thermal Engineer, you will be working for JPL's Propulsion, Thermal and Materials Engineering Section which provides leadership and distinct 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.

A thermal engineer investigates, plans, designs and develops mechanical products and systems such as spacecraft, instruments, robots, packaged electronics, controls, engines, and machines, and mechanical, thermal, hydraulic, propulsion, or heat transfer systems for the production, transmission, measurement, and use of energy.


  • Perform the thermal design and analysis of spacecraft and space-based instruments applying the best practices, latest research, and incorporating qualified technologies. Designs include hardware and control systems to manage system temperatures within safe operating ranges through the use of radiation, conduction, convection, single- and two-phase heat transfer methods. Analyses include closed-form analytical methods as well as computational methods. 
  • Identify viable thermal designs, conduct trade studies and establishing thermal requirements, hardware specifications, and installation instructions.
  • Quantify required thermal resources and partner with other subsystem engineers to establish interface agreements.
  • Conduct complex design and thermal analyses to show acceptable margins for bounding nominal and fault mission conditions.
  • Support implementation of thermal control designs through selection and procurement of thermal hardware, oversight of hardware fabrication, and integration of hardware into larger assemblies.
  • Plan, conduct, and support thermal testing of spacecraft, instruments, subsystems and components including pre- and post-test thermal analyses, test plans/procedures, and test reports to validate the flight system design and flight readiness.
  • Prepare for technical design and test review presentations and close review action items.
  • Support mission operations for flight instruments, payloads, landers, rovers, or spacecraft. Perform daily health checks and review planed uplink sequences. Run and modify thermal models to compare with flight telemetry.
  • Maintain cognizance of and be responsible for all technical and programmatic aspects of the product being developed, and to report on the status and performance to the appropriate organizations.

Required Qualifications:

  • Minimum 3.0 out of 4.0 cumulative GPA.

  • Experience with computer aided design tools.

  • Must have some knowledge in one or more of the following areas: heat transfer (radiation, conduction, convection), fluid mechanics, numerical methods, engineering design, and engineering lab work.

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

Desired Qualifications:

  • Working experience in a student engineering internship programs in a thermal or space engineering domain.

  • Working knowledge of typical instrumentation and ground support equipment used in thermal tests and/or thermal environments across the solar system for flight system development.

  • Software experience: Thermal (Thermal Desktop, TMG, TSS/SINDA and/or NX Space Systems Thermal), mechanical CAD (NX, AutoCAD, SolidWorks) and Matlab or LabView expertise.

  • Working experience with natural and forced convection, linear conduction, radiation and numerical algorithms;

  • Development of solvers for general algebraic systems of equations, code in C and/or other programming language.

  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal skills.


JPL has a catalog of benefits and perks that span from the traditional to the unique. This includes a variety of health, dental, vision, wellbeing, and retirement plans, paid time off, learning, rideshare, childcare, flexible schedule, parental leave and many more. Our focus is on work-life balance, and living healthy, fulfilling lives as we Dare Mighty Things Together. For benefits eligible positions, benefits are effective the first day of the month coincident with or immediately following the employee’s start date.

For further benefits information click Benefits and Perks

The hiring range displayed below is specifically for those who will work in or reside in the location listed. In extending an offer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory considers factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s job related skills, experience, knowledge, and relevant education/training. Hiring range for this job may be adjusted based on primary work location outside of Pasadena, California. This adjusted range will be provided to candidates by the Recruiter when applicable.

The typical full time equivalent annual hiring range for this job in Pasadena, California.

$83,720 - $99,424

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

EEO is the Law.

EEO is the Law Supplement

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

JPL logo
United States, JPL Campus, Pasadena, California
Posted 3 months ago
Job offer closed
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