Mechanical Engineer (Finite Element Analysis)

  • Planet
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Aug 28, 2021

Job Description

Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites in history. This constellation delivers an unprecedented dataset of empirical information via a revolutionary cloud-based platform to authoritative figures in commercial, environmental, and humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company and data company all rolled into one.

Customers and users across the globe use Planet's data to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world’s toughest obstacles.

As we control every component of hardware design, manufacturing, data processing, and software engineering, our office is a truly inspiring mix of experts from a variety of domains.

We have a people-centric approach toward culture and community and we strive to iterate in a way that puts our team members first and prepares our company for growth. Join Planet and be a part of our mission to change the way people see the world.

Planet is headquartered in San Francisco, California, Earth.

About the Role:

The Mechanical Engineering team at Planet is seeking a Mechanical Engineer (Finite Element Analysis) to help drive structural analysis across Planet’s fleet of Earth-imaging satellites! Your mission will be to champion our analysis efforts, from the subsystem level, all the way up to the top-level spacecraft. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned stress analyst who has led FEA efforts across multiple spacecraft programs from conceptual design, through to model correlation, and flight. As a member of the Mechanical Engineering team within Planet’s Space Systems division, you will be a key contributor and stakeholder in Planet’s agile aerospace approach to spacecraft design, and will work hand-in-glove with mechanical design, thermal engineering,  and reliability & qualification, as well as the rest of Planet’s leading-edge spacecraft design and manufacturing teams. 

Impact You’ll Own:

  • Drive predictive structural analysis across the spacecraft fleet
  • Build and own in-house finite element models (FEMs) from scratch, from conception at the simplified level, through to maturity at the detailed level
  • Through FEA and hand calculations, validate that our designs meet stiffness and strength requirements
  • Report margins of safety from launch loads, including quasi-static, sine, random, and shock
  • Support Structural, Thermal, and Optical (STOP) analysis of optical payloads
  • Drive stress analysis at external vendors, reviewing their designs and deliverables to ensure that design guidelines and requirements are met
  • Support ICD development and release of key structural interfaces
  • Drive documentation and presentation of analysis results and design recommendations
  • Build scripts to automate in-house FEM development
  • Support test-planning and correlating FEMs to test results
  • Support debugging and root-causing on-orbit anomalies using predictive FEMs

What You Bring:

  • Deep expertise in finite element analysis (FEA), and ability to analyze and root cause problems quickly and efficiently
  • 7+ years experience in static and dynamic structural FEA analysis using Femap/NX Nastran
  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or other related engineering or science degree
  • Hands-on experience with dynamic hardware builds, vibration and shock testing
  • Experience scripting and interfacing between Femap and Solidworks API
  • Experience correlating FEA and test results
  • Experience analyzing composite layups and orthotropic materials
  • Experience with design and fabrication of composites and metal parts
  • Experience in force- and response-limiting methodologies
  • Proficiency in SolidWorks and ability to dive into 3D CAD and make design recommendations and improvements
  • Self-motivation and a strong sense of ownership over one’s work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment
  • Outstanding verbal and visual communication skills

What Makes You Stand Out:

  • Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering or other related engineering or science degree
  • >5 years of experience designing spacecraft
  • Ability to generate part drawings and perform GD&T
  • Ability to interface with manufacturers and drive DFM
  • Expertise in optics / opto-mechanical hardware
  • Expertise in Coupled-Loads Analysis (CLA) for launch providers
  • Proficient in Matlab, Visual Basic, Python and/or C

Benefits While Working at Planet:

  • Comprehensive Health Plan
  • Wellness program and onsite massages in specific offices
  • Flexible Time Off
  • Recognition Programs
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Learning and Tuition Reimbursement
  • Parental Leave
  • Offsites and Happy Hours
  • Volunteering Benefits

Some Press About Us: 

Our CEO, Will Marshall featured on TED and featured in a Planet Blog

“Planet: Bringing Space Back Down to Earth”

Tiny, privately owned satellites are changing how we view the Earth features in NBC News

“Planet And Rocket Lab Create Mission Patch To Honor Women In Aerospace” —Planet Blog

Why we care so much about Belonging. 

We’re dedicated to helping the whole Planet, and to do that we must strive to represent all of it within each of our offices and on all of our teams. That’s why Planet is guided by an ultimate  north star of Belonging, dreaming big as we approach our ongoing work with diversity, equity and inclusion.  If this job intrigues you, but you’re thinking you might not have all the qualifications, please... do apply!  At Planet, we are looking for well-rounded people from around the world who can contribute to more ways than just what is listed in this job description.  We don’t just fill positions, we aspire to fulfill people’s careers, most excited about folks who are motivated by our underlying humanitarian efforts.  We are a few orbits around the sun before we get to where we want to be, so we hope you’re excited to come along for the ride. 

#LI-MI1

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