Skip to main content
Career Profile

Margarita Marinova

SR. Mars Development Engineer
Margarita Marinova | Ingénieure principale de développement, SpaceX
Margarita Marinova | Ingénieure principale de développement, SpaceX
Location Now
Education Pathway

Margarita Marinova is a SR. Mars Development Engineer for Spacex.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. I lived there until I was 10, after which my family moved to Vienna, Austria for 1 yr, and then to Toronto, ON, Canada where we stayed for 7yrs as I went to middle and high school.

I now live in: Los Angeles, California, USA

I completed my training/education at: I went to Northern Secondary School in Toronto. I consequently went to university at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA to study Aerospace Engineering, and afterwards completed my Masters and PhD in Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Los Angeles, California, USA.

What I do at work

One of the things that I greatly enjoy about my work is that I get to do so many different things! In some ways I think that’s typical of many jobs, and something we don’t often think about. In my job, I get to think broadly about colonizing Mars, design rocket systems with my team, think through operations, learn from what has already been done, and interact with a lot of people in the process. This wide range of activities fits well with my broad background and interests: from testing rocket engine nozzles in Germany to studying extreme environments such as Antarctica and the Martian surface and working on reusable rockets.

I always liked looking at multiple problems and from all sides. I think it gives me a lot of perspective on problems, and allows me to contribute to novel solutions. Also having studied a lot of math, science, and having hands-on experience allows me to at least know where to start on hard problems, which is in many ways the hardest part. In addition to drawing on my previous experience, I find it really important to listen carefully to everyone around me and to read published papers. That’s the way to learn, but it’s also the way to really design and build the best system. I think listening rather than talking is the most important ingredient to making a team work. And when you’re building a rocket you definitely need to work as a team!

My career path is

What I am doing today is amazingly very close to what I wanted to do when I was in high school: a combination of science and engineering that would help us understand Mars and send people there. When I was in high school I remember being told that I should look at other ideas and careers, but I was really set on what I wanted to do! Now I realize that what some may call hardheadedness was really the dedication I needed to keep pursuing my goal despite how difficult it got, and to succeed! I think the other key ingredient was that I never grew out of the little kid stage – I always kept asking why and wanted to learn and do more! Whether it was mixing colours to be really sure that yellow and blue make green, or doing science experiments, or reading (and trying to understand) papers from the university library – I just didn’t want to take anything as “just there” and wanted to know how it worked. That led me to a lot of experimenting, reading, co-ops, summer science jobs, and conferences.

There certainly were challenges along the way. My favourite kind was the problem that I couldn’t solve, because it meant by the end I would have learned something really cool. When things you can’t control get in the way, I think it’s important to really think about the essence of what you want, and think creatively of how to get that – there are many paths to the goal. But when the challenge is people who doubt you and don’t support you, I think it’s best to find people who are supportive and appreciate your passion.

I am motivated by

When I was a little kid, I always wanted to go look at the stars. But for me it wasn’t memorizing constellation, but I would dream of what it would be like to be out there, to “touch the stars.” That dream was fueled as my parents told me about meeting Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space. I was mesmerized! Amazingly I have stayed true to that passion, the passion to explore and to understand what it would be like to live in a foreign and different world. That explorer spirit in me is what has brought me to studying extreme environments on Earth and building rockets to take us to Mars. Knowing that I am contributing to exploration and to learning something that we have never known before is deeply satisfying to me. When I was doing more scientific research, I remember late nights of working when I would think “wow, I just figured out something that probably no one else in the world knows!” It may have been something really small, but I find it incredibly cool for that moment to hold a piece of information that will add to the world knowledge. 

How I affect peoples’ lives

I think the impact of a job is a combination of making people’s lives better and inspiring people. As humans we need both. Going to Mars improves our lives by developing the capability to launch satellites around the Earth more cost-effectively (for example for drought and hurricane forecasting), and developing new technologies (when was the last time you used a GPS?). It also inspires generations to dream of what life could be like when the world comes together to work on a difficult and amazing problem.

Outside of work I

When I am not at work, my time is always packed. I love being outdoors – hiking, camping, paddle boarding, rollerblading! I also love reading, spending time with friends, salsa dancing, fly helicopters, love being physically active, and am starting to learn Spanish.

My advice to others

Go after what you love doing – it’s a powerful force in making you succeed! Do what you want to do instead of always listening to people telling you what the ‘best path’ is – there are many best paths. And definitely take lots of math – math will make you stand out in every field, from engineering, to biology, to art.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Industrial Arts/Shop Programs
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Foreign Languages
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Related Topics


Canada 2067 Logo
Canada 2067

Let's Talk Science recognizes and thanks Margarita Marinova for her contribution to Canada 2067.

Explore Career Profiles

  • Elizabeth Moses

    Elizabeth Moses (she/her)

    Sheet Metal Worker

    As a Sheet Metal Worker, I work in the HVAC industry fabricating air ducts for buildings.
  • Kim TallBear headshot

    Kim TallBear

    Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Society, Faculty of Native Studies

    I teach university and do research on science and technology from an Indigenous perspective.
  • Katie Mack headshot

    Katie Mack (she/her)

    Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication

    I study of the fundamental physics of the universe.
  • Sarah Eaton headshot

    Sarah Jane Eaton


    I lead a team that is responsible for licensing small modular reactors.
  • Megan Coles headshot with blurred buildings and landscape in the background

    Megan Coles

    Pediatric Nurse

    I care for the inpatients admitted to the medical-surgical units at my local children's hospital.
  • Nicole Redvers headshot

    Nicole Redvers (she/her)

    Associate Professor and Director of Planetary Health

    I carry out Indigenous health research and support Indigenous communities and organizations in their health research needs.
  • Chris Murray headshot

    Chris Murray

    Associate Professor (Physics)

    I teach undergraduate physics and conduct research in biopolymers and environmental technology.
  • Natasha Holmes headshot

    Natasha Holmes

    Associate Professor (Physics)

    I study how people learn physics and how to structure physics courses to improve student learning.
  • Jyoti Rani at work at Seaspan Shipyards

    Jyoti Rani

    Electrical Production Engineer

    I troubleshoot problems with electrical equipment and cable routes on the ships we build.
  • Delia Warren headshot

    Delia Warren (she/her)

    Lead Renewables Consultant

    I help companies get involved in the offshore wind energy sector.
  • Benjamin Pauquet designing a part for the lunar lander on his computer

    Benjamin Pauquet (video)

    Mechanical and Materials Engineer

    I design parts for off-road and off-planet vehicles.
  • Stephanie Arnold pilotant un drone dans un champ de pommes de terre.

    Stephanie Arnold (she/they)

    Climate Services Specialist (PEI)

    I help others understand how climate change affects themselves, their communities and their work.
  • Samantha Yammine

    Samantha Yammine (she/her)

    Science Communicator

    I create and share engaging science content on social media.
  • Corey Nislow headshot

    Corey Nislow (he/him)

    Professor and Genomics Research Chair

    I study how drugs work and how an individual’s genetic makeup can affect their response to drug treatment.
  • Evaline Warmels with lunar rover in background.

    Evaline Warmels (Video)

    Mechatronical Engineer

    As an electrical engineer at Canadensys, I help build robots (lunar landers) that will explore the surface of the moon.
  • Evaline Warmels headshot taken outside in winter.

    Evaline Warmels

    Mechatronic Engineer

    I design, build, and test devices that use electricity to do something that a human couldn't do on their own.
  • Benjamin Pauquet with lunar rover in testing room.

    Benjamin Pauquet (he/him)

    Mechanical and Materials Engineer

    I design parts for off-road and off-planet vehicles.
  • Christy Hipel headshot

    Christy Hipel

    Account Solutions (Sales)

    I contact potential clients to help them understand how we can help them address their environmental problems.
  • L. Creighton Avery looking at specimen using a microscope in her lab.

    L. Creighton Avery


    I examine human skeletal remains from archaeological sites to learn about their lives.
  • Alyssa Smith headshot

    Alyssa Smith

    PhD Candidate in Cognitive Science

    I am researching how people’s attention is affected by factors in everyday life such as taking medications.