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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Commercial Space Transportation Careers

Join the new race to space in the exciting field of commercial space transportation! As an aerospace engineer or transportation industry analyst in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), you will work in the newest transportation sector and work on the latest developments for space flight, including private human space flight and space tourism. We are accepting resumes from applicants seeking challenging career opportunities.

The Office of Commercial Space Transportation hires engineers focused in aerospace applications to support its safety responsibilities through the licensing and regulating of commercial space launches and reentries, and the operation of launch and reentry sites. Employees selected for these positions will:

  • Work in a unique high performance organization to analyze and conduct safety evaluations of proposed space transportation activities. These activities involve the launch or reentry of expendable and reusable launch vehicles and operation of non-Federal launch and reentry sites.
  • Assess the safety of a wide variety of leading-edge technologies and systems including reusable launch vehicles and expendable launch vehicles.
  • Perform safety inspections of commercial launch and launch site operations to ensure compliance with safety and regulatory requirements.
  • Work with industry and other Federal agencies to promote and facilitate commercial space transportation.
  • Perform challenging and rewarding work on the development of public safety standards and requirements addressing new reusable and expendable launch vehicle concepts and operations, and emerging space sectors including space tourism.

Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

Commercial Space Transportation vacancies:

Commercial Space Transportation Skill Sets

Education, training or experience in one or more of these skill sets is necessary.

Aerospace Vehicle Systems

  • Flight Dynamics (reentry dynamics; Monte Carlo simulation, six-degree of freedom modeling; stall, including takeoff and landing, for subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds)
  • Command and Control (open and closed loop tests; stability analysis and testing)
  • Qualification/Acceptance Testing of Vehicle and Ground Systems
  • Tracking (translators and transponders for GPS, radar and other systems)
  • Link Analyses (antennas, receivers, transmitters, plume attenuation)
  • Propulsion (jet, solid, liquid, electric, nuclear, scram jet)
  • Communication (voice, telemetry, command and control)
  • Frequency Standards/Requirements/ Monitoring
  • Attitude Control (cold gas, bi- and mono- propellant)
  • Sensors (star, engine, system, horizon, structure)
  • Health Monitoring (sensors, processors)
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Automatic Fail-Over Systems
  • Maintenance/Inspections
  • Back-up Power Supplies
  • Satellite Technology
  • Flight Worthiness
  • Navigation
  • Thermal
  • Loads

System Safety/Quality Assurance Engineering

  • Hazardous Materials/Explosives (modeling; inspections; radio-nuclear; dispersion modeling; toxic/hazardous materials; quantity/distance standards; solid and liquid propellant safety; ordnance testing, storage, handling, installation and transportation)
  • Aerospace Flight Safety (flight dynamics, trajectory dynamics, safety limits analyses, Monte Carlo simulation, hazards and risk analyses, range safety officer functions, range surveillance and notice requirements)
  • Ground Processing Safety (security, inspections, hazardous processing standards/requirements, scheduling around hazardous processing conflicts)
  • System Safety (statistics; hazard analysis; MEA, fault tree, sneak circuit and functional analysis)
  • Human Factors (ergonomics, human error potentials, fatigue and rest standards)
  • Reliability Analysis
  • Quality Assurance

Structural/Mechanical Engineering

  • Thermal Engineering (thermal loads from equipment, launch- and reentry-induced thermal loads, thermal protection systems and capabilities, active and passive thermal control and dissipation)
  • Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue
  • Electromechanical Devices
  • Metals and Composites
  • Form, Fit and Function
  • NASTRAN Modeling
  • Pressure Vessels
  • Maintenance
  • Inspections
  • Hydraulics

Software Engineering

  • Artificial Intelligence/Autonomous Systems Operation
  • Design, Development, Documentation and Testing
  • Independent Verification and Validation
  • System Safety
  • Simulation


  • Space Weather Issues
  • Wind Measurements
  • Adverse Weather
  • Forecasting

Space Transportation Analysis

  • Launch Forecasting
  • Economic Analysis

Environmental Assessment

  • Identifying, estimating, and evaluating the environmental impacts of existing and proposed projects
  • conducting environmental studies, to mitigate the relevant negative effects prior to making decisions and commitments

Federal Aviation Administration/Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Washington, DC
Salary: $46,321 - $150,552

If you are a U.S. citizen and have education, training or experience in one or more of the skill sets above, consider AST. AST offers:

  • ongoing interaction with leading "space" organizations (i.e., Federal agencies, associations, private firms);
  • a dual-purpose mission committed to both safety and entrepreneurial development of the industry;
  • a start-up work environment that demands listening and adaptation to serve its customers;
  • ground-floor participation in an emerging field with new technologies and new players;
  • a work environment that requires technical breadth and depth from every employee;
  • an overview of what is happening in every enterprise in the industry;
  • opportunities for in-service training on the "state-of-the-art";
  • a tangible sense of contribution to the agency's goals;
  • a competitive compensation package; and
  • pay for performance.

All positions are located in metropolitan Washington, D.C. – a national and international seat of power with key policymakers and decision-makers, a cultural center with state-of-the-art knowledge and nationally ranked public school systems, colleges and universities, accessible public transportation, public parks and a strong sense of neighborhood.

To request additional information or submit your resume, please send an email to