1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Want to work at SpaceX!

  1. Sep 6, 2011 #1
    But my problem is that I am from Sweden. My school has exchange agreements with california polytechnic state university and rutgers. Are any of them good and witch is prefferable if you want to work in the aerospace indusry in america?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2011 #2
    Of those two Cal Poly is at least closer to SpaceX in L.A. But I do not think either is particularly into aerospace.
  4. Oct 5, 2011 #3
    Probably the more important issue is the export restrictions on rocket technology which mean that only US citizens or permanent residents can work at SpaceX. This is not insuperable, but you need to know this up front. The SpaceX career page also makes clear what they are looking for in candidates.

    See here:
    To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, SpaceX hires only U.S. citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents.
  5. Oct 6, 2011 #4
    Yes, but it should not be impossible to get a residency. What is the best way? Maybe first get a phd and then apply? Is cal poly considered any good in USA, average or very bad? At least they have a sounding rocket club. I just realized my school has got an agreement with Uni of Illinois as well...
  6. Oct 6, 2011 #5

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Unfortunately, it almost is impossible nowadays. Sept. 11 changed everything, particularly so for employers such as SpaceX that are subject to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Suppose a company subject to ITAR did hire you on a H1B visa and did sponsor your permanent residency. You will not be allowed to work on anything that is subject to ITAR until your green card comes through (a process that takes several years). In a company such as SpaceX, almost all technical work is subject to ITAR. With little or no non-ITAR work for you to work on, why should they hire you if you don't already have a green card?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2016
  7. Oct 6, 2011 #6
    There is a catch-22 here. Usually, when you graduate, you get a window (OPT) of 1~2yrs to find a job in your field, and then the company tries to sponsor you for work visa (H1B) that will need to be renewed after 6 years, and while still on H1B either you or the company tries to sponsor you for permanent residency (green card) which can take many many years.

    The catch is, without permanent residency, you'll not land a job in the field that needs it, so you'll not have a company sponsor you permanent residency. If you land a job in some other field, by the time you get residency a decade might have passed, and then you need to still have the will and ability to jump to what you had wanted to do.

    I had totally wanted to, and given up on, working on anything that can be called a spaceship. But that's just me. And if I see any opportunity I'll still jump at it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2016
  8. Oct 7, 2011 #7
    Yes, thats right. The only private orbital space industry is in america. So by studying aerospace I wont be able to contribute anything. And its so hard to get a residency.

    But new materials are crucial for the space developement. Maybe I should go into nanophysics instead?
  9. Oct 8, 2011 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Have you considered Esrange? It is not SpaceX, but I believe Virgin Atlantic and a few other private companies are interested in operating from there.
    And they DO launch things into space (not to mention run controll rooms for varius projects).

    Although you would of course have to live in Kiruna....
  10. Oct 9, 2011 #9
    Well, I dont think it counts if you are not in orbit. I mean you cold go to space in a ballon. They only launch solid boosters, and they are not developed there. I want to develop new space technology to make space more available...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook