10 tough interview questions you may have to answer if you want to intern at SpaceX

Elon musk spacexKevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesElon Musk is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX.

Forget about fetching coffee — as an intern at SpaceX, you’ll help design, build, and launch rockets that could potentiallytake humans to Mars.

So it follows that you’re going to have to answer some tough interview questions to get the gig.

Each year, more than 700 interns join SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, for 80-hour workweeks at about $US22/hour in departments like avionics, dynamics, launch operations, manufacturing, and enterprise information systems.

The hiring process typically consists of two in-depth phone interviews, during which intern candidates have to answer questions like the following, which we found on Glassdoor.

'What are composites?'

SpaceX Internship Program
SpaceX interns gather in front of the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

'What is the size of an integer on a 32-bit system?'

Courtesy of SpaceX Intern
A group of SpaceX interns celebrate a win at the company's annual 'Aerospace Summer Games.'

'Let's say you have a variable 'var' assigned to be '2'. What will display if you print 'var++'? If you print '++var' on the next line, what will be displayed? What is the final value of 'var'?'

An interior promo shot of the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which is designed to carry astronauts.

'What is a null pointer?'

A shot from a GoPro inside a SpaceX rocket.

'Imagine a cantilever beam fixed at one end with a mass = m and a length = L. If this beam is subject to an inertial force and a uniformly distributed load = w, what is the moment present at a length of L/4?'

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Elon Musk standing in front of the SpaceX Dragon.

'How would you find a cycle in a singly-linked list?'

The interior of SpaceX Crew Dragon, which will carry out the company's first human missions in 2017.

'One side of a beam is attached to a wall and the other is free. If a force is applied, where would it break, and what would you need to know to determine the force that would break the beam?'

A SpaceX intern works on a SpaceX model.

'Describe the design process of a series of pipes to be used in a rapid fuelling system for a liquid propellant rocket engine. Be sure to include which equations would be best for the case at hand for fluid pressure calculations and structural considerations.'

The SpaceX Dragon is designed to carry both cargo and humans, although the first human missions for the company will not take place until 2017.

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