Space Exploration Technologies

  www.spacex.com
  www.spacex.com

Space Exploration Technologies Reviews

Updated November 24, 2014
Updated November 24, 2014
179 Reviews
3.9
179 Reviews
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Space Exploration Technologies CEO and CTO Elon Musk
Elon Musk
144 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Enjoy fast-paced environment or start-up culture (in 18 reviews)

  • Free Frozen Yogurt/Sodas/Coffees (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • No work-life balance for the people who work on the production floor (in 26 reviews)

  • People complain about long hours, but nobody forces you to stay for 10-12 hours a day (in 34 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Only for the truly passionate.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Propulsion Analysis in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Propulsion Analysis in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    I learned so much during my three months. I did analysis on all the SpaceX engines. Assemblies were: a lot of injector analysis, valves, propellant management devices, nozzle skirt, gas generator assembly, pressure regulators, feedlines, main oxygen valve. Extremely fast paced and the faster you are, the more work they give you. You won't get much positive feedback and you won't receive any training. Day 1 I was given a part to do thermal analysis on that was due in a week and this new design was going to be going up to space the very next launch. I couldn't sleep because I was so freaked out about something being wrong so I ended up coming in all weekend and making sure everything was correct.

    Cons

    I put in 50-95 hours a week and the week I only put in 50 hours was because they let me have the Friday off for working so hard. You will almost never get positive feedback because everyone is smart. I had some negative feedback because I was very loud and confident, there is no room for mistakes so it's best to be humble, even if you know you're right act like you don't, because you never have enough time to go down every path before the due date. If you are bad at multi-tasking you will fail. If you don't absolutely love what you are doing, you will fail. If you do not give 110% at all times you will fail. There is no job security, you can be working there 4 years and all of a sudden get laid off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    2 works, systems engineers. Hire some for everyone's sake.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Best place to work at!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    +Culture
    +Projects
    +People
    +Food
    +Space
    +Elon
    +Everything, this is the perfect company to work for. You get amazing work experience working here.

    Cons

    +None
    +Long hours isn't a problem if you love working there, which you should.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Instrumentation Technician in McGregor, TX
    Former Employee - Instrumentation Technician in McGregor, TX

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    you get to work on rocket engines that eventually will be in space on missions..

    Cons

    in the middle of nowhere and pay scale not quite up to standard for the industry..I gained incredible experience and enjoyed everyday at work...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    weed out the snakes and yes men..find out who is really committed to their job and excellence..

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Exciting experience for a summer, nothing more

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    As a graduate intern, I was given a lot of responsibility and power to work on and lead real projects. In fact, SpaceX probably gives interns too much freedom and power (in an unsafe manner), but as an intern I wasn't complaining. Meh discount housing, shuttle to work, cheap and delicious food, amazing product, excited workforce.

    Cons

    The company is in chaos. There is little organizational clarity, teams have no idea what their neighbors are doing, and all decisions seem short term and unthought out. The facilities are unable to support the now massive engineering force (power outages, no AC, cycling lighting, zero personal space, monitors touching your neighbors on both sides). There are many software packages used by different teams that are not compatible with others.
    Obviously, work-life balance is nonexistent. Interns are expected to work 50-60 hours a week, and full timers 65+ without overtime or fair compensation. You will be compensated similarly to that of other aerospace companies, but then worked to death in expensive LA.
    Employee retention is ludicrously low, and the company does not seem to care.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate more with the workforce on more than "we're going to mars!" All information passes via word of mouth nowadays, so much of it is inaccurate.
    The attitude currently conveyed to employees is "work yourself to death or get out, we can easily replace you."

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    a very fast paced environment with ambitious goals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Specialist in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Specialist in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    the stock option program is very lucrative

    Cons

    very poor work life balance for employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    interview random employees to check their workload

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great learning experience & terrible work-life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Design Engineer Co-op in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Design Engineer Co-op in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    My 6 month Co-Op was a great learning experience, and SpaceX really values the practical application of knowledge. Student project team experience has a lot of weight in the interview/application process, and they seemed to prefer applicants with actual design/production/implementation experience. I also found that the high GPA "Honor roll" students really struggled here, and are probably a better fit at a large prime contractor where interns push paper around most of the time. I left this Co-Op with a lot of great experience, and was able to take components "full cycle" from design, through prototype and into production. Tons of freedom and you don't get bogged down with red tape and bureaucracy.

    Even a few years ago, the company offered employees a lot of "day to day" perks that have been removed from many offices in the age of corporate cost savings. A little free coffee goes a long way. The overall culture here is awesome, and everybody truly wants to see the company succeed. Most of the engineers are very young, and there's a lot of socializing out of work. HR hooks interns up with furnished apartments at a discounted rate in a pretty nice area too.

    Cons

    The intern salary would have been very good for a 40 hour/week role, but we routinely worked 60+, which can really burn you out after a few months. One needs to realize that this company operates very differently than most aerospace companies, which is not a bad thing, but don't expect a successful internship at another big company to guarantee success here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Never stop innovating!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    A revolutionary and supportive place to work if you can handle the workload.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Every day I wake up and go to work on the most advanced rocketry on earth. The technical challeneges are engaging and the company provides all the resources you would need to resolve any issue. The pace is extremely fast and I see the difference I make on an almost daily basis. No matter how busy people are, I can get 30 minutes with almost anyone to ask engineering and business questions, and overall there's a strong support for education, learning, and growth.

    SpaceX has all the benefits of a tech start-up without the negatives. Great food in the cafeteria (think organic, sustainable, etc.) for $5 or less, free top-notch espresso and frozen yogurt, and an endless stream of branded T-shirts.

    Cons

    The work can be consuming, which is more of a general warning than an actual negative comment. I find it empowering, but not everyone does. Overall financial compensation may not be as high as at larger companies, but the stock, benefits, coffee, and culture more than compensate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to grow communications as the engineering grows.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great company undergoing growing pain

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The mission; the people and the thrill of watching something you directly helped come to fruition break the bonds of earth.

    Cons

    SpaceX needs grow fast and would really benefit from some change management experts and organizational design experts. It's growing too fast without the infrastructure and design to support it. Leads to a lot of employees getting lost in the shuffle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Retooling of HR; bring on board leadership with experience bringing organizational change to an organization, especially a start up one. Bring in consultants and listen to them about how to be the company you want to be.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 16 people found this helpful  

    I would not feel safe in this company's manned spacecraft.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Engineering in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very fulfulling work, feeling like you are contributing to an important chapter of history. Good cafeteria on site. The ability to walk down to the first floor and talk with shop workers about manufacturing limitations, and see spacecraft being built all around you.

    Cons

    SpaceX is quickly losing its small-company feel. By now it's unthinkable for the engineers actually to fabricate parts, and production parts are the high priority in the shops (not R&D). The stock options are a joke at this point, and they're bringing in a classroom full of people every week. Don't come here if you're expecting the company SpaceX was 5 years ago.

    High turnover and burnout rate. Their MO is to hire fresh college graduates, overwork and underpay them for a few years because they don't know any better. There used to be free dinner at 7:30, the CEO emailed the company criticizing those who stayed until 7:30 for the dinner then left, then they just started charging for the dinner.

    Meager benefits, (notice how many people list "free coffee and frozen yogurt" as 'Pros'? That should illustrate how much one has to stretch. You'll quickly tire of eating frozen yogurt every day, and how much would you be spending on your own coffee? $1.50/day? Wow, awesome 'perk.')

    Universal condemnation and lack of respect for competitors, even the CEO blatantly jokes about competitors. Blind CEO/COO worship, even a senior manager commented that it's a "Emperor's New Clothes" atmosphere in that no one brings serious glaring issues to the top officials and problems get ignored and swept under the veneer of everything being great, operating nominally, etc. Of course, when you feel you could be fired any given day, why would you?

    Overall a cult-like atmosphere of superiority, and yet an "us vs. them" childlike clique mentality between groups, lots of blame and finger pointing over delays. Lots of media hype-mongering as well, future projects are touted as if they're fully operational and tested, while problems with real hardware are ignored and hush-hushed. At one point a launch feed video blackout was explained away as "we decided to forego the video feed because launches have become so routine." WHAT?!

    Boring location; you have to live at least 10 miles away if you want to be anywhere interesting and it takes 15 minutes to get from the parking garage to HQ.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Inventory Control

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time

    Pros

    great environment to work at

    Cons

    lack of promotions/recognition for future

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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