Investing in visionary founders, transformational technology and emergent ecosystems for a new world.

Innovation Endeavors
Innovation Endeavors

Thermal Engineer



San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Welcome to Planet. We believe in using space to help life on Earth.

Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites in history. This constellation delivers an unprecedented dataset of empirical information via a revolutionary cloud-based platform to authoritative figures in commercial, environmental, and humanitarian sectors. We are both a space company and data company all rolled into one.

Customers and users across the globe use Planet's data to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world’s toughest obstacles.

As we control every component of hardware design, manufacturing, data processing, and software engineering, our office is a truly inspiring mix of experts from a variety of domains.

We have a people-centric approach toward culture and community and we strive to iterate in a way that puts our team members first and prepares our company for growth. Join Planet and be a part of our mission to change the way people see the world.

Planet is a global company with employees working remotely world wide and joining us from offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and The Netherlands.

About the Role:

The Thermal team at Planet is seeking a Thermal Engineer to help drive the thermal design of our spacecraft and their subsystems. You will foster the improvement of spacecraft thermal designs, from inception and design efforts and subsystems to the entire spacecraft. You’ll own aspects of the design from “clean sheet” through fabrication and flight to decommissioning. The ideal candidate will progress team initiatives while working independently, they are an excellent communicator, results driven and have a track record of successfully tackling unique challenges presented by dynamic conditions. As a member of the Thermal Engineering team within Planet’s Space Systems division, you will be a contributor and stakeholder in Planet’s agile aerospace approach to spacecraft design; you will work closely with the Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Qualification, and Manufacturing teams, as well as the rest of Planet’s leading-edge spacecraft design teams.

This role will require you to be physically present at our headquarters in San Francisco, CA, 3+ days a week.

Impact You’ll Own:

  • Own the thermal design on key spacecraft subsystems across Planet’s satellite fleet.
  • Collaborate with electrical and mechanical engineers to derive requirements that drive the thermal design.
  • Ensure that all components of our spacecraft are within their operational and survival temperature ranges throughout all phases of the mission.
  • Collaborate with optical and mechanical engineers to ensure optical requirements are met.
  • Drive part/assembly thermal analysis on key spacecraft subsystems to meet temperature requirements.
  • Oversee quality of our space hardware as it’s being built.
  • Develop sub-contracts and Interface Control Documents (ICDs) for thermal hardware fabrication as needed.
  • Support test planning and qualification campaigns by developing tests that validate the thermal performance of your designs.
  • Support ICD development by ensuring the thermal interfaces are sufficiently well defined for mission success.
  • Own thermal hardware configuration management and release to production.

What You Bring:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering or other related engineering or science degree.
  • +3 years of experience thermal designing spacecraft
  • Sound understanding of heat transfer, particularly in spacecraft.
  • Knowledge of thermal control technology for spacecraft.
  • Experience testing thermal performance of hardware.
  • Experience in Thermal Desktop/SINDA for spacecraft-level analysis or similar tools for chip-level analysis.
  • Experience actualizing designs and working with external vendors.
  • Proven ability to progress initiatives while working independently and as part of a team.

What Makes You Stand Out:

  • STOP analysis and/or test experience
  • Experience with imaging satellites
  • Experience with CAD - drawing your own thermal parts is a plus
  • Machine shop and rapid prototyping experience (e.g., 3d printing, metal fabrication)

Benefits While Working at Planet:

  • Comprehensive Health Plan
  • Wellness program and onsite massages in specific offices
  • Flexible Time Off
  • Recognition Programs
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Tuition Reimbursement and access to LinkedIn Learning
  • Parental Leave
  • Offsites and Happy Hours
  • Volunteering Benefits

EAR/ITAR Requirements:

This position requires access to export-controlled technology, and as such, and in accordance to applicable law, employment is only open to US citizens, US nationals, lawful permanent residents of the US or persons admitted to the US as an asylee or refugee.


The US base salary range for this full-time position at the commencement of employment is $128,400 - $160,500. Additionally, this role might be eligible for discretionary short-term and long-term incentives (bonus and equity). The final salary range is determined by job related experience, skills and location. The range displays our typical hiring range for new hire salaries in US locations only. Your recruiter can share more about the specific salary range for your preferred location during the hiring process.

Why we care so much about Belonging.

We’re dedicated to helping the whole Planet, and to do that we must strive to represent all of it within each of our offices and on all of our teams. That’s why Planet is guided by an ultimate north star of Belonging, dreaming big as we approach our ongoing work with diversity, equity and inclusion. If this job intrigues you, but you’re thinking you might not have all the qualifications, please... do apply! At Planet, we are looking for well-rounded people from around the world who can contribute to more ways than just what is listed in this job description. We don’t just fill positions, we aspire to fulfill people’s careers, most excited about folks who are motivated by our underlying humanitarian efforts. We are a few orbits around the sun before we get to where we want to be, so we hope you’re excited to come along for the ride.

EEO statement:

Planet is committed to building a community where everyone belongs and we invite people from all backgrounds to apply. Planet is an equal opportunity employer, and committed to providing employment opportunities regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. Know Your Rights.


Planet is an inclusive community and we know that everyone has their own needs. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation during the hiring process, please reach out to accommodations@planet.com or contact your recruiter with your request. Your message will be confidential and we will be happy to assist you.

Privacy Policy: By clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this job posting, I acknowledge that I have read the Planet Data Privacy Notice for California Staff Members and Applicants, and hereby consent to the collection, processing, use, and storage of my personal information as described therein.

Privacy Policy (European Applicants): By clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this job posting, I acknowledge that I have read the Candidate Privacy Notice GDPR Planet Labs Europe, and hereby consent to the collection, processing, use, and storage of my personal information as described therein.