Production Programmer


Alameda, CA


Position summary

The Company

Astra's mission is to improve life on Earth from space by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Astra delivered its first commercial payload into Earth orbit in 2021, making it the fastest company in history to reach this milestone, just five years after being founded in 2016. By achieving monthly, weekly, then daily launches, we'll create the infrastructure services our customers need in space to build a healthier and more connected planet. If you're excited by a sense of possibility, the chance to innovate, and make a difference here on Earth, we think you should work here too.

The Team

The Production Team is a small highly skilled group that can meet managements deadlines through efficient use of multi-axis lights-out cell systems. We are responsible for taking raw materials to finished form, while observing dimensional requirements and schedule constraints. Our goal is always to produce finished parts that are of higher quality, lower cost, and to make them faster than any other shop!

The Opportunity

As Production Programmer, your focus is on programming but may require setting up, and operating 3, 4, and 5 axis CNC mills and lathes. You should be comfortable programming CNC machines, with the focus being on a cell system in a production environment. This position requires prior experience using CAM software such as NX Cam to program parts of moderate to high complexity. Your experience selecting and setting up tools and work holding is put the test on a daily basis, as a wide variety of part styles require turning and/or milling operations. A high level of comfort running multi-axis CNC mills and lathes is a must. Part inspection and the use of handheld measurement tools for in-process and final part inspections are an integral part of the job as well. Strong communication, attention to detail, and willingness to jump into action on any part type are your strong suits and contribute to your involvement in a large variety of projects. Your priority, along with the rest of the shop team, is to produce finished parts faster, cheaper, and at higher quality than our vendors. This is a strong individual contributor role that will report directly to the Production Shop Manager.

How You’ll Fulfill Your Mission

Interpret dimensioned part drawings with fluency in order to ensure that the correct machine tools, work holding, and inspection equipment are selected in order to meet the dimensional and process requirements of the part.

Program and operate CNC machines with an emphasis on CNC cell systems. This requires taking a part from start to finish and includes programming and verification in CAM software (NX Cam with G-Code Simulation), calculating feeds and speeds, setting up cutting tools and work holding, proofing programs, inspecting first articles, loading parts, and have a sound proven and repeatable program.

Inspect finished parts using a variety of handheld inspections tools including calipers, micrometers, and hard gauges. You may also employ a surface plate and height gauge and profilometer during part inspections. You will use the results of these inspections to adjust offsets or otherwise modify your programs and setups in order to produce in-tolerance parts.

Communicate with other shop, quality control, and engineering personnel in pursuit of a transparent and cooperative atmosphere. Such communication is needed in order to deliver critical feedback to designers and technicians, to ensure proper fitment or special handling requirements are met, or to participate in manufacturability reviews.

Improve shop effectiveness by identifying bottlenecks and recurring issues and offering potential solutions. You have an understanding of what continuous improvement looks like, and you leverage your position as a Programmer to support that end.


Your 5+ years experience as a CNC machinist have prepared you for this fast-paced shop atmosphere

You have 2+ years experience with NX Cam 

You are very comfortable programming, setting up, and operating in a multi-axis CNC cell system for complex parts, and can do so with little to no supervision

You can calculate feeds and speeds and can solve geometry problems

You understand the differences between different types of materials, their grades, their relative machinability, and can identify them quickly

You are proficient with fundamental measuring instruments including calipers, micrometers, hard gauges, and height gauges

You can read shop drawings with fluency, and can communicate the requirements set forth by the drawing to others if requested

You understand GD&T

You can dispose of waste or scrap material according to established company processes

You can lift 40+lbs, push heavy carts or crates, and can stretch, reach, kneel, or crawl as may be required by certain tasks

You can monitor machinery in order to identify or diagnose necessary maintenance or safety issues, and can work to resolve those issues

You can maintain a clean work area, and can perform your own preventative maintenance

You can use Excel, Word, and email, and are otherwise comfortable using a computer for information retrieval and storage

You are comfortable conferring with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information.

You undertake projects and tasks with a distinct attention to detail, a sense of urgency, and an optimistic attitude

You are an energetic individual with excellent communication (written and oral)

You are dedicated to the quality of your work, and the quality of the parts that the shop produces

You aren't afraid to admit fault, and don't hesitate to ask questions when in doubt

You are always looking for ways to make yourself and your team faster, stronger, and happier!

Desired Multipliers

10+ years of hands-on experience as a machinist in a professional shop environment

CNC Lathe programming and operation

Experience in a high-mix, fast paced job shop

Experience in fabrication, including welding, sheet metal, waterjet, assembly, or finish work

Trained in an engineering or design discipline

Lean manufacturing certifications

Experience with Proto-TRAK, palletized HMCs/VMCs, laser cutting, or EDM.

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About the company

Industry: Aerospace

Astra’s mission is to improve life on Earth from space® by creating a healthier and more connected planet. Today, Astra offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch dedicated orbital launch services of any operational launch provider in the world, and one of the industry’s first flight-proven electric propulsion systems for satellites, Astra Spacecraft Engine™. Astra ...