Elon Musk has job openings for more than 500 people at SpaceX — here's who the rocket company wants to hire

  • A careers page for SpaceX shows that the rocket company founded by Elon Musk is in a big hiring phase.
  • SpaceX appears to be using new hires to establish a global satellite internet network, build rocketships that could go to Mars, and launch NASA astronauts into space.
  • Most jobs call for engineers, technicians, and supervisors or managers. But some positions are for cooks, security guards, writers, editors, and even baristas.


SpaceX's first launch — its own — was more than 16 years ago, when a handful of employees opened a nearly empty office.

"In 2002 SpaceX basically consisted of carpet and a mariachi band. That was it," founder Elon Musk has said.

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Elon Musk through the years
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Elon Musk through the years
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk takes the stage to speak at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
FILE PHOTO: Tesla Chief Executive, Elon Musk enters the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
Elon Musk, Chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks at SolarCity's Inside Energy Summit in Manhattan, New York October 2, 2015. SolarCity on Friday said it had built a solar panel that is the most efficient in the industry at transforming sunlight into electricity. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi
Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk unveils a new all-wheel-drive version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California October 9, 2014. Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday took its first step toward automated driving, unveiling features that will allow its electric sedan to park itself and sense dangerous situations. The company also said it will roll out an all-wheel drive option of the Model S sedan that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds yet doesn't compromise the vehicle's efficiency. Musk said "D" stands for "dual motor," meaning Tesla's all-wheel drive vehicle will have a motor at either end of the chassis to increase control. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT)
Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk unveils a new all-wheel-drive version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California October 9, 2014. Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday took its first step toward automated driving, unveiling features that will allow its electric sedan to park itself and sense dangerous situations. The company also said it will roll out an all-wheel drive option of the Model S sedan that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds yet doesn't compromise the vehicle's efficiency. Musk said "D" stands for "dual motor," meaning Tesla's all-wheel drive vehicle will have a motor at either end of the chassis to increase control. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT)
Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk speaks during a news conference in Tokyo September 8, 2014. Musk said on Monday that he would not be surprised if there was a significant deal with Toyota Motor Corp in the next two to three years, though there were no definitive plans. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS TRANSPORT)
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, waves during a news conference to mark the company's delivery of the first batch of electric cars to Chinese customers in Beijing April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA
CEO & CTO of SpaceX and CEO & Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors Elon Musk receives The President's Award for Exploration and Technology at the 110th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York March 15, 2014. The club, which promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space featured catering for the event by chef and exotic creator Gene Rurka. Chef Rurka prepared a variety of dishes featuring an array of insects, wildlife, animal body parts and invasive species. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY FOOD)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk talks at the Automotive World News Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks after unveiling the Dragon V2 spacecraft in Hawthorne, California May 29, 2014. Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, on Thursday unveiled an upgraded passenger version of the Dragon cargo ship NASA buys for resupply runs to the International Space Station. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk poses at the premiere of the documentary "Revenge of the Electric Car" in Los Angeles October 21, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TRANSPORT BUSINESS PORTRAIT)
Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, attends the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT)
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk leaves a press event at his company's factory in Fremont, California, June 22, 2012. Tesla began delivering its Model S electric sedan to customers on June 22. REUTERS/Noah Berger (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)
SpaceX founder Elon Musk pauses at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
SpaceX founder Elon Musk listens at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk waves as he leaves the stage after speaking at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
89th Academy Awards - Oscars Vanity Fair Party - Beverly Hills, California, U.S. - 26/02/17 ? Elon Musk. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks during the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, arrives at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition II in Hawthorne, California, U.S., August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk attends a forum on startups in Hong Kong, China January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks about new Autopilot features during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Tesla founder Elon Musk arrives for the the annual Allen and Co. media conference Sun Valley, Idaho July 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: Elon Musk speaks onstage at Elon Musk Answers Your Questions! during SXSW at ACL Live on March 11, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Saucedo/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: Elon Musk speaks onstage at Elon Musk Answers Your Questions! during SXSW at ACL Live on March 11, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 10: Elon Musk speaks on stage during the Westworld Featured Session during SXSW at Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 10: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX speaks onstage during SXSW at Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 08: Elon Musk attends the 'Goldenes Lenkrad' Award at Axel Springer Haus on November 8, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Tristar Media/WireImage)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks at a press conference during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on September 27, 2016. / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
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But these days, thanks to cash infusions worth billions of dollars, SpaceX has ballooned its staff beyond 6,000 people, according to recent FCC filings. The rocket company is using this army to out-price and out-perform its competitors in a new space race. SpaceX and Musk's ultimate quest is to create a human settlement on Mars.

To get these and other jobs done, the rocket company is on a hiring spree that shows no signs of slowing.

In March 2017, SpaceX had more than 470 positions listed on its careers page, and presumably most of those positions have been filled by now. As of Tuesday, however, SpaceX has more than 540 open positions. An analysis by Thinknum suggests the company's hiring slowed around September 2017 but has risen steadily since then.

"The men and women who work with me are integral in supporting our mission to make humanity multiplanetary — and we need more folks to join us," Andy Lambert, SpaceX's vice president of production, said in a recent Reddit post.

The myriad job descriptions, along with recent statements from Musk, reveal what kind of help SpaceX is looking for.

Why SpaceX is hiring hundreds of people

Musk's rocket company plans to launch 30 of its workhorse Falcon 9 rockets this year, which is a record-breaking pace for a country, let alone a single company.

SpaceX is about to fully transition to the last major iteration of its Falcon 9 rocket, called Block 5. Musk has described the partly reusable launcher as "the most reliable rocket ever built." The company also recently wrapped up a $500-million, years-long effort to create its behemoth Falcon Heavy rocket — which essentially puts the power of three Falcon 9 launchers into one system.

These advancements, Musk has said, have freed up much of his engineering workforce to focus on other projects.

As we previously reported, SpaceX is shifting a lot of resources toward its most ambitious project: the Big Falcon Rocket (also called the Big F--king Rocket).

The 348-foot-tall, fully reusable system is scheduled for an "aspirational" first launch toward Mars in 2022. Its enormous spaceship — which sits atop a similarly enormous booster — is currently being built out of carbon-fiber composites in the Port of Los Angeles. That prototype is slated to roll out of SpaceX's facilities in Texas and begin hopping around with short test launches sometime in 2019.

In a series of remarks made in September 2017, Musk said the system will replace everything SpaceX has built thus far, since its total reusability means it will cost relatively little to launch payloads of any size.

"We want to have one system, one booster and ship, that replaces Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon," Musk said of SpaceX's other rockets. "If we can do that, then all the resources that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon can be applied to this system."

But the BFR isn't just for Mars: Musk plans to use it to create the world's fastest transportation system, in conjunction with a Hyperloop — a subterranean transportation network he's also working on.

Though SpaceX is hinging its future on the BFR, it's just one major effort the company needs workers for.

SpaceX is also working on its Crew Dragon spaceship as well as cargo launches for NASA.

Then there's Starlink: a global constellation of nearly 12,000 internet-providing satellites. (That's double the number of satellites that have been launched in the history of access to space, according to a count by the Union of Concerned Scientists.) SpaceX launched two hand-made Starlink prototypes in February, and the FCC approved its larger plan in March. If the rocket company can pull that project off, the entire planet will be covered in ultra-high-speed, low-latency internet signal within a decade.

It's a lot to take on, so SpaceX needs talented help — and quite a bit of it — if those efforts are to succeed.

The jobs available at SpaceX and where they're located

As of Tuesday, SpaceX's careers page offered 542 jobs across 42 departments, and all of the postings begin with this otherworldly mission statement:

"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."

Here's where SpaceX's jobs are located across the US:

spacex jobs by location v3Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

About two-thirds of positions are based at SpaceX's global headquarters in Hawthorne, California, which is part of the greater Los Angeles area.

The Redmond-based jobs are likely tied to Starlink, since that's where SpaceX has opened up a fabrication facility. If the job descriptions and the company's history are any clue, SpaceX plans to do as much in-house manufacturing as possible.

Take the description of the first open position on the list, for example — an antenna engineer:

You will be part of multidisciplinary team that will contribute to the following:
• Design of advanced antenna and feed systems in support of next generation products.
• Fabricate and characterize prototypes of antennas, feed systems and RF front ends.
• Contribute different aspects of the integration of the antennas into spacecraft and other systems.

In short, this person will likely help enable Starlink satellites to send data to and from Earth.

SpaceX is also hiring in McGregor, Texas, where its testing facility is located. That's the facility in which the company's next-generation Raptor rocket engines are being developed.

Here's a rough breakdown of the types of jobs the company is offering:

spacex jobs by type v2Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

Nearly all of these jobs are full-time, and about half are for engineers and technicians who have experience working with rocket engines, robots, software, explosive fuels, or other high-tech systems required to colonize Mars.

That leaves a bunch of "other" jobs, though, and few walks of life are excluded.

SpaceX needs four line cooks to provide "courteous and informative customer service in an 'open kitchen' format" — two in Cape Canaveral, Florida (a hub of launch activity), one in Hawthorne, California (company headquarters), and another in Vandenberg, California (where SpaceX sometimes launches rockets).

It's also hiring four technical writers and an editor, as well as electricians, security officers, and coffee shop baristas.

What working for Musk and SpaceX is like

People who worked at SpaceX — or at least claim to have done so — have provided mixedreviews of their experiences in recent years.

Some praised Musk's leadership on Quora, saying they'd follow him "into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil."

But former SpaceX interns previously told Business Insider that "people who work there are more driven to work than they are driven to go home. They get burned out really quickly." Other former interns said that, while SpaceX employees are "some of the hardest-working and brightest people in the world," they are "universally defeated" by the intense work demands and expectations.

SpaceX maintains that it's a top place to make a career.

"SpaceX has been named one of the top 50 places to work by Glassdoor the past two years in a row," a SpaceX representative told Business Insider. Glassdoor is a site that gathers anonymous reviews of companies by current and former employees.

If you want to work at SpaceX, the résumé you hand in better list some serious qualifications.

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