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Software Engineer (Direct To Cell)

Sunnyvale, CA

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


The Direct to Cell network will expand Starlink’s vision by providing ubiquitous connectivity and seamless access to text, voice, and data for LTE phones and devices across the globe. The Direct to Cell network leverages the infrastructure we’ve built for Starlink over the past several years. Starlink is the world’s largest satellite constellation and is providing fast, reliable internet to 2M+ users worldwide. As the global leader in rocket and satellite launch and manufacturing, SpaceX is uniquely positioned to rapidly scale our Direct to Cell network and will rapidly launch a constellation of hundreds of satellites.

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Developing a satellite network that connects to unmodified cell phones, in different parts of the world and in partnership with different operators, presents several new technical and regulatory challenges. We are looking for best-in-class engineers to help realize our goals to enable various communication services. Text service begins this year, followed by voice, data, and Internet of Things (IoT) services in 2025.

As a Software Engineer on the Starlink Direct to Cell program, you will be solving challenges underpinning every aspect of the program’s growth. The areas you could have an impact on include, but are not limited to, building:

  • Cellular technologies and 3GPP standards-based protocols and interfaces, on the satellite and ground, to enable an end-to-end mobile service.
  • Firmware, embedded and controls software running on custom hardware that powers the Cell Tower in space.
  • Infrastructure and tools to enable rapid development and reliable deployment of our code to dynamic production environments.

Our software engineers are responsible for the complete life cycle of the software they create, including development, testing, and support.


Depending on the team, the responsibilities may include one or more of the following:

  • Develop highly reliable and available software systems for the Direct to Cell network.
  • Participate in architecture, design, and code reviews.
  • Develop prototypes to prove out key design concepts and quantify technical constraints.
  • Collaborate with other engineers to plan and organize the development of our products.
  • Use network monitoring tools to analyze and monitor link layer performance. Debug and fix reliability issues.
  • Write high quality Linux based software for common processors and micro-controllers (e.g. ARM, PowerPC, x86, etc.).
  • Develop tools that allow for test execution across multiple environments: virtualized hardware, real hardware-in-the-loop simulations, and on-orbit testing.


  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, math, or science discipline (STEM).
  • 1+ years of professional software development experience in C, C++ and/or Python (internship experience is applicable).


  • Developed, debugged, and deployed software that has been used in real world projects or mobile/broadband service.
  • Creative approach to problem solving, exceptional analytical skills and engineering fundamentals.
  • Strong skills in debugging, performance optimization, and unit testing.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal.
  • Ability to work effectively in a dynamic environment with changing needs and requirements.
  • Experience with networking protocols or 3GPP standards.
  • Experience in C/C++ for high performance systems.


  • Must be willing to work extended hours and weekends as needed.

Pay range:    
Software Engineer/Level I: $130,000.00 - $155,000.00/per year    
Software Engineer/Level II: $150,000.00 - $180,000.00/per year    
Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k)-retirement plan, short & long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation & will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.


  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.  

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.

Client-provided location(s): Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Job ID: 7270965002
Employment Type: Other