Opportunities at Craft portfolio companies


GNC Engineer, Starlink Collision Avoidance

Swarm Technologies

Swarm Technologies

Redmond, WA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2024

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


SpaceX is looking for engineers with a hybrid background in both GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) and software development to join the Starlink Collision Avoidance team.

Starlink operates the world's largest satellite constellation — nearly half of the world's active satellites. Unlike legacy satellite operations which rely heavily on hands-on, human-in-the-loop operations, Starlink is designed from the ground up with autonomy in mind - "algorithms, not operators".

To ensure the safe operation of thousands of satellites, Starlink vehicles are equipped with advanced algorithms that enable them to remain aware of their surroundings and autonomously plan and execute collision avoidance maneuvers if they predict a high-risk close approach.

This team is responsible for "full-stack" ownership of the automated collision avoidance pipeline, involving the development of satellite-side algorithms, ground-side supporting services, as well as infrastructure for monitoring the performance of the system on orbit. This team is also responsible for the design and implementation of algorithms for generating high-accuracy future state predictions of Starlink satellites, for informing collision avoidance actions. Team members are also expected to have strong analytical backgrounds, with the ability to analyze and interpret production data or simulations to support feature validation and inform future development. No other team at any company has as much influence on space safety. If you are really excited about joining our team, it is more important to be motivated and to be able to learn quickly than it is to check every box. If you're less experienced, we'll pair you up with an excellent mentor to help you make improvements as fast as possible. If you're more experienced, we'll look forward to you jumping right in and helping us improve space safety.


  • Design and implement autonomous on-satellite collision avoidance algorithms using C++.
  • Design and implement ground services necessary to facilitate fully automated maneuver scheduling decisions using C++ and Python.
  • Design and implement tools and dashboards for monitoring the performance of the autonomous collision avoidance system.
  • Design and implement orbit determination systems, including state/uncertainty propagation for accurate orbit prediction.
  • Run Monte Carlo analysis to characterize the performance of new features.
  • Bulk data analysis of telemetry from thousands of satellites and dozens of ground services to precisely characterize system performance and identify future improvements.
  • Write integrated test cases for satellite and ground software.
  • Write high-quality documentation for implemented software and tooling.
  • Monitor on-orbit system performance, troubleshooting if necessary.
  • Coordinate with third-party data providers and constellation operators.
  • Incorporate into the on-call rotation and command satellites when manual intervention is necessary


  • Bachelor's degree in software, engineering, physics, or a related field.
  • Software development experience in either C++ or Python.


  • Master's degree in software, engineering, physics, or a related field.
  • 2+ years of experience in a space mission design or related role.
  • Strong understanding of some or all of the following areas: orbital mechanics, modeling and simulation, software development, statistics, and systems engineering.
  • Familiarity with state estimation and Kalman filtering, ideally with exposure to orbit determination applications.
  • Familiarity with the physics of the orbital debris and micrometeorite environment.
  • Familiarity with numerical probability of collision methods such as Alfano, Foster, and Hall.
  • Familiarity with micrometeoroid and orbital debris analysis techniques for assessing on-orbit risk.
  • Practical experience flying spacecraft.
  • Capable of identifying and solving complex problems with little to no supervision or direction.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, autonomously driven, and demanding atmosphere.
  • Examples of high-quality writing or software documentation on past projects


  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed.


Pay range:
GNC Engineer/Level I: $120,000.00 - $145,000.00/per year
GNC Engineer/Level II: $140,000.00 - $170,000.00/per year

Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k)-retirement plan, short & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per y


  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.