Get a Job in the Space Industry: 5 Companies at the Cutting Edge of Innovation


Are you a space enthusiast who wants to join a startup working at the cutting-edge of space exploration? If so, you’re in luck because the space industry is experiencing a renaissance. Breakthrough innovations are happening at an unprecedented pace, and the world’s leading space startups need great people as they continue to grow.

Opportunities abound for engineers at the world’s leading space startups, but there are also plenty of opportunities for non-technical roles. In this post, we’ll cover five of the leading companies at the cutting edge of the modern space exploration revolution.

SpaceX: The Pioneer Redefining Space Transportation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has become synonymous with revolutionizing space exploration. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and to colonize Mars. SpaceX has led the way for the private space exploration industry.

SpaceX is the first private company to: 

  • Develop a liquid-propellant rocket that has reached orbit

  • Recover a spacecraft

  • Send a spacecraft to the International Space Station 

  • Send astronauts to the International Space Station 

  • Achieve a vertical propulsive landing of an orbital rocket booster and reuser the booster

The SpaceX team works on programs and projects that have the potential to impact our lives both on Earth and beyond the stars. SpaceX prioritizes hiring top talent and has built a culture based on merit.

Employees at SpaceX are expected to work hard, but they are also immersed in an environment that fosters creativity and encourages thinking beyond traditional boundaries. Teams are expected to collaborate across disciplines to achieve big goals. SpaceX also provides resources for its employees to expand their knowledge and skills and stay at the forefront of technological advancements.

SpaceX was most recently valued at $180M in the private market, which is larger than any IPO valuation in history. SpaceX offers employees very generous base salaries, total rewards packages, and long-term incentives like company stock, stock options, and discretionary bonuses through its employee stock purchase plan.

Check out over 1,000 open roles at SpaceX’s here.

ABL Space Systems: Developing Low-Cost Launch Vehicles

ABL Space Systems manufactures deployable launch vehicles and infrastructure for sending commercial small satellites into orbit. The company uses 3D printing and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to minimize launch operations.

ABL manufactures the RS1, a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle, and GS0, a deployable launch pad. Their RS1 rocket offers a maximum capacity of 2,980 lbs to low Earth orbit at a cost of $12M per launch. Their medium-lift rockets sit between large launch companies like SpaceX and smaller launchers like Rocket Lab.

ABL has been able to get to launch within three years at a much lower cost than earlier entrants, owing to the fact that they have vertically integrated the manufacturing process (i.e., designing 3D printed engines) and taken a bottoms-up approach towards building the company.

ABL Space Systems was founded in 2017 by SpaceX and Morgan Stanley veterans Harry O’Hanley and Dan Piemont. The company is based in El Segundo, CA, where it has 30,000 square feet of facilities, and manufactures its components in the USA.

The company has recently raised a total of $370M from T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and private investors in an extended Series B round that values the company at $2.4B. Their clients include NASA, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Space Force, and Amazon.

Check out the open roles at ABL Space Systems here.

Varda Space Industries: Manufacturing in Space

Varda Space Industries is building the world’s first commercial microgravity industrial park at scale. They are on a mission to expand the economic bounds of humankind.

The best way to think about Varda is as a space company and a biotech company all rolled into one. Varda creates products that defy the constraints of Earth by using its spacecraft as a manufacturing and test platform in space. These products are then brought back to Earth using Varda’s autonomous reentry capsules.

Why manufacture in space? Manufacturing in space takes advantage of microgravity and the absence of dust particles. What is Varda building in space? There is a world of products used on Earth today that can only be manufactured in space. Everything from powerful fiber optic cables to computer chips and new life-saving pharmaceuticals.

Varda Space was founded in 2020 by SpaceX alum Will Bruey and Founders Fund principal Delian Asparouhov, and began designing their first generation of space vehicles in 2021. Varda has raised money from many of Silicon Valley’s top investors, including Khosla Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, and Founder’s Fund.

If you want to learn more about Varda and its mission, check out this amazing interview with co-founder Delian Asparouhov. In the interview, Delian covers microgravity manufacturing, the next generation of space companies, the media’s role in technology, speed, the Hollywood model of startups, and more.

Check out Varda’s open roles here.

Apex Space: Supplying Spacecraft Platforms

Apex Space is on a mission to become the largest supplier of spacecraft platforms in the galaxy, enabling humankind’s access to space.

As launch costs have decreased, more and more companies and governments are launching increasingly large numbers of smaller satellites. For the first time in history, this increase in demand is driving a massive need for spacecraft platforms, known as satellite buses, which carry customers’ payloads and are delivered to space on launch vehicles.

Apex solves the largest bottleneck in the space industry: spacecraft manufacturing. Their satellite buses enable governments, companies, and individuals to get to space more rapidly, with transparent pricing and high reliability. Apex designs satellite buses at scale using a combination of disruptive software, vertical integration, and hardware that is designed for manufacturing.

Apex, founded by Ian Cinnamon and Max Menassi, came out of stealth in October 2022. The company has raised more than $35M so far from backers, including Andreessen Horowitz and Shield Capital. They recently announced plans for a 45,000 square-foot manufacturing space in LA, called “Factory One,” that it will use to build even more spacecraft.

Check out Apex Space’s open roles here.

Relativity Space: 3D Printing the Future of Rocketry

Relativity Space is on a mission to become the next great commercial launch company. They’re doing this by rewriting the rules of rocket manufacturing with its innovative use of 3D printing technology. They’ve developed a vertically integrated technology platform that leverages additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robotics to 3D print rockets.

Relativity’s 3D-printed reusable rockets help meet the ever-growing demand for space infrastructure by offering customers the right payload capacity at the right cost. Their patented technologies enable innovative designs once thought impossible and unlock new value propositions in the booming space economy.

Relativity believes in a future where interplanetary life fundamentally expands the possibilities for human experience. Their long-term goal is to create humanity’s industrial base on Mars. In March 2023, the company launched Terran 1, the world’s largest 3D-printed object, into space. This maiden voyage proved that 3D-printed rockets are structurally viable—ushering in a new era of aerospace manufacturing.

Relativity was founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, previously engineers at Blue Origin and SpaceX, respectively. In June 2021, the company announced a $650M funding round, led by Fidelity Investments, that values the company at $4.2B.

Check out Relativity Space’s open roles here.

In Conclusion

If you want to work a normal 9-5 job, working at one of these innovative space companies is probably not for you. However, are intensely curious and live, eat, and breathe aerospace, joining one of these companies will allow you to be part of a mission to move the future of humanity beyond Earth.

There are plenty of roles available across all functions for people with all skillsets. Explore the open roles on Dream Startup Job today!