Staff Design Engineer, Nozzles - Solid Rocket Motors

Berthoud, CO
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Ursa Major was founded to address a critical shortfall in the U.S. industrial base and bring a new model to aerospace and defense systems: we design and manufacture the world’s leading propulsion systems for space, hypersonic applications, and missile systems. 

Our products and technologies require an extraordinary team – a team that will mold tomorrow’s technologies while deploying today’s best. We are an intrinsically motivated team that has a passion for solving problems and empowering each other every day to develop our skills, knowing that there is always room for growth.

As Ursa Major expands into the realm of solid propulsion, we’re assembling the most innovative and nimble team in order to unseat the reigning players.  We’re applying the latest technologies to an outdated business model that improves cost, lead time, and flexibility without impacting reliability.  We must continue to build in-house capabilities in energetics, ballistics, and composites with an emphasis on novel designs focused on manufacturability and high-rate scalability.  

The Staff Design Engineer, Nozzles is responsible for the design, analysis, and qualification of solid rocket motor nozzles and supporting insulation solutions based on customer requirements and industry specifications.  Since Ursa Major leverages additive manufacturing to a significant degree, experience with metal additive design and emerging technologies is required.  Additionally, experience designing for high-rate production, automation, and reduced touch labor is essential to scalability


  • Clean sheet design of novel solid rocket motor nozzle with limited guidance from subject matter experts.
  • Distill customer requirements into a design that meets or exceeds the intent while adhering to the Ursa Major criteria for low-cost yet reliable products. Also, support customer interactions when requested.
  • Lead development campaigns to prove conceptual designs and evaluate applicability to realized products.
  • Provide guidance on assembly and testing of initial prototypes and troubleshoot as required.
  • Review test data to ensure the product is operating as expected and support design changes as needed.
  • Lead cross-functional communications to ensure designs satisfy the needs of each stakeholder.
  • Develop and maintain aggressive but achievable product schedules that proactively identify and mitigate high-risk design decisions.
  • Generate, review, and approve CAD models and drawings that are consistent with internal best practices and ASME Y14.5-2009
  • Provide dispositions for discrepant hardware including supporting analysis if required.
  • Maintain proper documentation of all designs including design reviews, test plans, requirements verification, customer documentation, etc.
  • Work with the procurement team to ensure the supply chain can support anticipated production rates and adjust designs when significant supply chain risks are identified.
  • Technical mentor for less senior members of the team.
  • Author guidance on design best practices and supporting formal documentation as required.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field with 7 years of relevant experience.
  • Relevant experience with erosive and non-erosive nozzles and manufacturing practices.
  • Ability to appropriately size nozzles and perform thermal and fluid analysis.
  • Proficiency with computer-aided design and analysis tools.
  • Strong understanding of design for additive manufacturing including material and design limitations of metal additive processes.
  • Strong engineering fundamentals including in-depth knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and structural mechanics.
  • Effective communication skills are crucial for collaborating with cross-functional teams, presenting design concepts, and documenting work.
  • An understanding of insensitive munitions protocols and practices utilized in the design of solid rocket motors.
  • This position requires that the employee be eligible and maintain eligibility for a Secret Clearance.

Desired Experience:

  • Master’s degree or PhD in in a technical discipline such as mechanical or aerospace engineering.
  • Experience with ceramic matrix composite nozzle design and fabrication.
  • Hands-on experience supporting rapid product development.
  • Experience designing hardware for high-rate production including automated processes.
  • Experience with Siemen’s NX and Ansys software packages.
  • DoD Secret Security Clearance or higher.

Colorado law requires us to tell you the base compensation range of this role, which is $120,000 - $190,000, determined by your education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. What we can’t quantify for you are the exciting challenges, supportive team, and amazing culture we enjoy. Click here for more information about our awesome benefits.

Classification: Full-time Exempt

Benefits Include:


  • Unlimited PTO - Vacation, Sick, Personal, and Bereavement
  • Paid parental and Adoptive Leave
  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Tax Advantage Accounts (HSA/FSA)
  • Employer Paid Short and Long Term Disability, Basic Life, AD&D
  • Additional Benefit Options Including Voluntary Life and Emergency Medical Transport
  • EAP Program 
  • Retirement Savings Plan - Traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)
  • Company stock options 

NOTE: Research suggests that women and BIPOC individuals may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who believes they have the skills and the drive necessary to succeed here to apply for this role.
We’re an equal-opportunity employer. You will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.
No outside recruiters, please.