Career Pivots Hero ImageCareer Pivots Hero Image

How I Got into Aerospace: An Ursa Major Series on Career Pivots


A software engineer finds purpose in coding for hardware; a musician shifts to compliance

Research demonstrates that diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions and are more successful at solving complex problems.

Diversity of thought, education, and background contribute to the dynamic culture and work environment at Ursa Major.

In this series, we highlight the journeys of our colleagues who didn’t start their careers in aerospace.

Writing Software That’s Out of This World

Yusuke Morita (he/him/his), Staff Software Engineer

The Journey

I’ve been writing software for over 30 years for many different industries, including telecommunications, education, medicine, finance, legal, and more. Regardless of the application, I most enjoyed how software can solve real-world problems and fulfill day-to-day human needs.

In 2021, a friend told me about an aerospace company called Ursa Major. Space exploration has always fascinated me on a personal level, but after one look at an engine hotfire, I was ready to make the move.


I design and create software that helps connect and visualize the tremendous amount of data we produce during manufacturing, testing, and delivery of rocket engines. This software helps Ursa Major easily and efficiently access and interpret this data and apply their insights to continuously improve our engines and develop new ones. What could be cooler than seeing the results of engine hotfire tests on systems that I built?

Why Ursa Major?

Ursa Major lets me apply my decades of experience in writing software to driving innovation in American-made rocket propulsion technology. It’s taken my sense of professional purpose to another level. And the fantastic culture at Ursa Major has made me feel welcome and connected even though I work remotely.

Ursa Major in three words:

So. Frickin’. Cool.

From music to compliance

Kristi Stahli (she/her/hers), Compliance Manager

The Journey

I was a professional musician (harpist) and mom for most of my life. But the reality is that being an artist has a lot of inherent uncertainty, and it can be a bit lonely.

That’s why when I had the opportunity to join a successful aerospace and defense company as a receptionist, I jumped at the chance. It turns out that I enjoyed the structure and process a lot. I joined the company’s internal audit team in addition to my receptionist duties, which eventually led to a full-time role in compliance. There, I learned the ins and outs of aerospace compliance on the job, which is the best training.


At Ursa Major, I provide guidance to ensure we are always in compliance of state and federal regulations specific to our headquarters facility and rocket propulsion. I am responsible for fostering a compliance-conscious culture, which includes training, assessing security risks, and developing strategies to alleviate those risks. The engineers at Ursa Major have been amazing in helping me develop a deep technical understanding of our products and systems. Working with the legal team gives me a view on the bigger picture of the company’s strategy.

Why Ursa Major?

While ending my professional music career was bittersweet, I am much happier as a member of the Ursa Major team. I have a different kind of career fulfillment, and the financial security and benefits help me better support my family. I still play music in my free time!

Ursa Major in three words:

Exciting. Rewarding. Team.

Ursa Major Staff - Launch-Ready Propulsion for every sector of aerospace

Seeing aerospace advancement as a technological imperative, we’re accelerating the industry as the leading source of world-class propulsion systems.


More from Ursa Major

|Company News
Ursa Major's Lynx: Pioneering the Future of Solid Rocket Motor Manufacturing
Read More
From Pennies to Propulsion: The Use of Copper in Aerospace
Read More
Engine Test Roundup for Q2 2023
Read More