Jacobs’ engineering teams develop and sustain flight and ground hardware and software for human space flight. The engineering services provided are extensive, including design and fabrication; simulation; software development; thermal, stress, vibration, and loads analysis and testing; communications and data processing; and failure analysis. Applications range from crew health and habitation systems, avionics and instrumentation, cameras, robotic systems, extravehicular activity tool development, and propulsion and power systems.

Illustration of Artemis 1 orbital path from the Earth to the Moon.

Crew Systems Mechanical Design

Our mechanical engineers specialize in the design of critical mechanical systems in support of astronaut crews during human space flight. The team utilizes the latest generation 3D CAD-based software to design and provide necessary documentation for fabricating, assembling and testing crew system hardware. Tasks include the structural and component design of exploration spacesuit elements, such as the environmental control and life support systems and fluid and thermal control/heat exchanger systems. Other design areas are pressure systems, human-rated mechanisms and latches, power electronics, communications and avionics enclosures, and cable routing. Crew system mechanical engineers also utilize tolerance analysis tools and 3D prototyping hardware to enhance the development process.

Orion Service Module OMS Engine -Structures, Stress, & Fracture Analysis

Structures, Stress, & Fracture Analysis

Our stress engineers develop large structural assembly models and provide pre/post-test analysis support, fracture/fatigue analysis, linear analysis, geometric and material non-linear analysis, modal analysis, direct random vibration analysis, and analysis of non-metallic structures. Analyst engineers assess pressurized systems, habitation modules, primary and secondary structure, ground support equipment, and test support equipment. Several finite element analysis and computational tools are utilized to conduct required analyses.

Thermal & Life Support Systems

Our thermal and life support system analysis engineers perform analysis work pertaining to modeling and analyzing thermal, fluid, and chemical systems. We work in the areas of thermal/fluid and life support systems, engineering for projects for space flight hardware, ground systems, test support systems and environmental systems. Analysts provide hardware design guidance, assessment of hardware thermal/fluid extremes, guidance in designing life support hardware and identifying design cases that represent the full range of operating conditions and predicting performance throughout the life of space flight hardware. A significant amount of work also supports technology development efforts. Tools for thermal analysis, chemical system design and computational fluid dynamics are utilized by the team.

Analysis Model -Thermal & Life Support Systems
Thermal Stress Test - Structures & Mechanisms Mechanical Design

Structures & Mechanisms Mechanical Design

Mechanical engineering tasks include CAD modeling, tolerance stack-ups, manufacturing drawings, assembly and test documentation, rapid prototyping, fit and function testing, vibration testing and thermal/vacuum testing. We design structures, mechanisms, linkages, latches, docking mechanisms, tools, electro-mechanical systems, electronics enclosures and cable routing, thermal management systems, actuators, motors and gear trains, and pneumatic and fluid systems. Projects include robotics, wheeled rovers (both human-directed and autonomous), humanoid systems, ground support equipment, lunar exploration tools and crew-support systems, such as space station exercise equipment and ground-based structures simulating low-gravity environments.

Materials Analysis

Our team provides Materials and Processes (M&P) support to ensure safety and material suitability for the hardware or systems design for the space flight environment. Analysts ensure that requirements are incorporated into spacecraft design. M&P requirements include corrosion control, material selection, contamination control, nondestructive evaluation, composite overwrap pressure vessels, fluid compatibility, flammability, and thermal vacuum stability.

Electron Microscope at Materials Analysis Lab Johnson Space Center
Man assembling and testing circuit boards at a large desktop workstation.

Electrical & Electronics Design

Our engineers provide electrical design, schematic entry, board layout, simulation, power analysis, Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) derating, radiation assessments, electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility analysis, electrical checkout, and testing. We design electronic controllers for actuators, embedded processors, field programmable gate arrays, communication architectures with and without encryption, cable harnesses, and power supplies. Designs are often iterations, including prototypes, simulations, breadboards, and evaluation boards, to mature a design to be reliable, repeatable, and well documented. Projects include robotics, crewed and uncrewed wheeled rovers, oxygen generation, spacesuit Portable Life Support System (PLSS), lunar exploration tools and crew-support systems, such as space station exercise equipment and ground-based structures simulating low-gravity environments.

Drafting & Manufacturing Mechanical Design

Our team provides expertise in mechanical design, drafting and component drawing checking, mechanical manufacturing and softgoods (e.g., fabricated cloth, textile, and other flexible material assemblies) development in support of space flight hardware. We provide support to mechanical and electrical development tasks utilizing 2D and 3D CAD design tools to generate designs, drawings, models, electrical cabling systems, sheet metal, and softgoods assemblies. Design and drawing checkers review drawings to ensure conformity and compliance to the NASA and industry design/drawing standards. The team also provides content and 3D mechanical design tool guidance necessary to aid design engineers in mechanical component manufacturing methods in order to optimize cost, manufacturability and complexity .

Structural Loads & Dynamics Stress Testing at Johnson Space Center


Our engineers conduct dynamic analyses for liftoff and ascent of launch vehicles, return of crew and cargo capsules, and in-space loading for orbiting vehicles using coupled loads analyses. For on-orbit vehicles, we develop loads for docking of visiting vehicles, attitude control, extravehicular and intravehicular activity, exercise, and plume impingement using both testing and analysis. Our tasks include running multi-body dynamic simulations for docking and spacecraft separations, including covers and parachutes, and conducting six-degrees-of-freedom contact dynamics testing. The team possesses the ability to conduct modal, sine, and vibration testing of various hardware. The analysis team also conducts flight and ground testing, including development of flight instrumentation systems.