Structural Analyst at Planet

Posted on:
April 5, 2023

🔭 Our mission & vision

Job Description

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, and The Netherlands.

About the Role:  

The Mechanical Engineering team at Planet is seeking a Structural Analyst to help drive structural analysis across Planet’s fleet of Earth-imaging satellites! Your mission will be to champion our analysis efforts, from the subsystem level, all the way up to the top-level spacecraft. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned stress analyst who has led FEA efforts across multiple spacecraft programs from conceptual design, through to model correlation, and flight. As a member of the Mechanical Engineering team within Planet’s Space Systems division, you will be a key contributor and stakeholder in Planet’s agile aerospace approach to spacecraft design, and will work hand-in-glove with mechanical design, thermal engineering,  and reliability & qualification, as well as the rest of Planet’s leading-edge spacecraft design and manufacturing teams.

Impact You’ll Own:

Drive predictive structural analysis across the spacecraft fleet

Build and own in-house finite element models (FEMs) from scratch, from conception at the simplified level, through to maturity at the detailed level

Through FEA and hand calculations, validate that our designs meet stiffness and strength requirements

Report margins of safety from launch loads, including quasi-static, sine, random, and shock

Support Structural, Thermal, and Optical (STOP) analysis of optical payloads

Drive stress analysis at external vendors, reviewing their designs and deliverables to ensure that design guidelines and requirements are met

Support ICD development and release of key structural interfaces

Drive documentation and presentation of analysis results and design recommendations

Build scripts to automate in-house FEM development

Support test-planning and correlating FEMs to test results

Support debugging and root-causing on-orbit anomalies using predictive FEMs

What You Bring:

Deep expertise in finite element analysis (FEA), and ability to analyze and root cause problems quickly and efficiently

5+ years experience in static and dynamic structural FEA analysis using Femap/NX Nastran

Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or other related engineering or science degree

Hands-on experience with dynamic hardware builds, vibration and shock testing

Experience scripting and interfacing between Femap and Solidworks API

Experience correlating FEA and test results

Experience analyzing composite layups and orthotropic materials

Experience with design and fabrication of composites and metal parts

Experience in force- and response-limiting methodologies

Proficiency in SolidWorks and ability to dive into 3D CAD and make design recommendations and improvements

Self-motivation and a sense of ownership over one’s work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment

Outstanding verbal and visual communication skills

What Makes You Stand Out:

Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering or other related engineering or science degree

5+ years of experience designing spacecraft

Ability to generate part drawings and perform GD&T

Ability to interface with manufacturers and drive DFM

Expertise in optics / opto-mechanical hardware

Expertise in Coupled-Loads Analysis (CLA) for launch providers

Expertise in composites design and analysis

Proficient in Matlab, Visual Basic, Python and/or C

Benefits While Working at Planet:

Comprehensive Health Plan

Wellness program and onsite massages in specific offices

Flexible Time Off

Recognition Programs

Commuter Benefits

Learning and Tuition Reimbursement

Parental Leave

Offsites and Happy Hours

Volunteering Benefits


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. 


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 interview process, please call Planet's front office at 669-214-9404 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.

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