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Requisition Number 17-0149
Post Date 8/18/2017
Title Flight Operations: Controller and Ground Systems Engineer
City Baltimore
State MD
Description The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), located on the Johns Hopkins University Campus in Baltimore, MD, is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the science and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in October, 2018. Join the team and work at the forefront of astronomy in a job that offers a competitive salary and generous benefits. STScI is seeking qualified candidates for two openings on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Flight Operations team: Ground Systems Engineer (GSE) and a Flight Operations Controller (FOC).

The FOC and GSE positions are 8-hour daytime positions prior to launch, with the expectation that pre-launch testing will also require shift work and additional hours. Shift-work is a requirement of the position and will begin shortly before the scheduled JWST launch. Normal operations will consist of a 12-hour per shift rotating schedule.

Flight Operations Controller
A Flight Operations Controller is a member of the JWST Flight Operations Team (FOT), operating the Flight Operations System (FOS) to monitor the activities of the JWST Observatory. A FOC performs real-time activities during scheduled ground station contacts, receives telemetry and science data, and transmit commands and daily loads to the Observatory. A FOC is responsible for monitoring housekeeping telemetry for the purpose of ensuring the health and safety of the observatory. Commanding is performed using approved procedures and operations schedules. In the event of anomalous conditions, a FOC is responsible for initial triage of the problem and escalation to engineering staff.

A FOC provides a real-time evaluation of the telemetry and statistical trends to ensure the Observatory is operating within nominal ranges, maintains records of daily activities, and responds to activity requests and engineering changes. A FOC also assists in initial troubleshooting and response to flight and ground segment anomalies. The team of FOCs assists in development, maintenance and upkeep of operations products (scripts, pages and tools) and procedures used to conduct flight operations for the life of the JWST mission.

During the prelaunch phase of the mission, FOCs participate in Flight Segment Integration and Test (I&T) activities to become familiar with the hardware, and operations conducted during testing. This experience will form the core of training for Flight Operations Controllers, as well as provide the knowledgebase for development of the operations products and procedures required for nominal operations. Flight Operations Controllers may also participate in testing using JWST simulators and test beds.

Ground System Engineer
A Ground Systems Engineer is a member of the JWST Flight Operations Team (FOT) and supports a small team of ground system experts to ensure the JWST Flight Operations System (FOS) is operating normally. This position requires knowledge of and interaction with the Project Reference Database (PRD), the centralized database of all mission commands, telemetry and configuration items. Strong organizational skills are also essential a GSE will be responsible for configuration management and data management for the FOS. A GSE also coordinates with the ground system developers, system administrators, network entities and ground station entities to ensure resources are available and configured to support JWST flight operations. During real-time operations, it is a GSE’s responsibility to monitor and analyze the performance of the JWST FOS, identifying and troubleshooting any anomalies which might arise. Prior to launch, a GSE develops operational processes/procedures, writes documentation and attends programmatic reviews to support the JWST FOS.

This position will be a part of the larger JWST Flight Operations Team (FOT). As such, the employee will support the JWST Flight Operations Manager in the planning and development of operational processes/procedures, documents and programmatic reviews in addition to the primary role of Senior GSE.

During the prelaunch phase of the mission, FOT subsystems engineers will participate in Flight Segment I&T activities to become familiar with the hardware and operations conducted during testing. When the engineers are not located at the I&T facilities, the FOS will be utilized to provide remote observation of the testing from the operations center. These data flows will provide experience for the Ground Systems Engineer and form part of their core training as well as provide the knowledge base for development of the operations products and procedures required for nominal operations. As such, the Ground Systems Engineers will also be responsible for the coordination and development of ground operations products (scripts, pages and tools) used to conduct flight operations.
Requirements Flight Operations Controller
Applicants require a minimum of a B.S. Degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or related physical science. The position level and salary are commensurate with education and experience. Substitution of additional relevant education or experience for stated qualifications may be considered.

• Technical writing experience is required. Must be efficient using standard productivity software and database tools to develop documentation and test results
• Knowledge and understanding of flight operations is required
• Prior pre-mission operations experience and experience in on-orbit activation and commissioning is considered an asset
• Shift work is a requirement of these positions. The candidate must be willing and able to support 12-hour, rotating shifts with periods of night shifts up to 7 consecutive day
• Experience with a large space-based astronomical observatory with multiple instruments is considered an asset
• Experience using a sophisticated telemetry and command system as well as writing process using advanced scripting languages to conduct flight operations is considered an asset
• Experience with L2, L1 or deep space operations is considered an asset
• Familiarity with use and scheduling of the DSN is a is considered an asset
• Prior experience in integration and test of spacecraft is considered an asset
• Prior experience with a Raytheon ECLIPSE based Telemetry and Command System is considered an asset
• Scripting and operations of observatory simulators is considered an asset

Ground System Engineer
Applicants require a minimum of a B.S. Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, Engineering or similar field. The position level and salary are commensurate with education and experience. Substitution of additional relevant education or experience for stated qualifications may be considered.

• Thorough understanding of flight operations is required
• Experience with large/complex ground systems used to control and monitor space based astronomical observatories is required
• Familiar with computer system administration and leading a team of SAs
• Experience using, analyzing, maintaining and troubleshooting sophisticated telemetry and command systems as well as writing procedures using advanced scripting languages to conduct operations is required
• Technical writing experience, including prior experience writing requirements, decomposing requirements into lower level requirements and preparing acceptance test procedures is required
• Demonstrated ability to interact with numerous contractors, institutional organizations, external partners and agencies as is required
• Familiarity with interfaces, utilization and troubleshooting of Communications Services Office (CSO) integrated networks (formerly NISN) is required
• Familiarity with interfaces, utilization and troubleshooting of Space Network (SN) and/or Deep Space Network (DSN) is required
• Shift work is a requirement of these positions. The candidate must be willing and able to support 12-hour, rotating shifts with periods of night shifts up to 7 consecutive day
• Prior experience in ground system integration and test is considered an asset
• Prior experience with a Raytheon ECLIPSE based Telemetry and Command System is considered an asset
• Scripting and operations of observatory simulators is considered an asset

For both positions: Candidates must be a US citizen or Permanent Resident. ITAR clearance is required.
Available/capable to Travel: Travel to NGAS (Los Angeles) may be necessary.

To Apply: STScI offers an excellent benefits package, tuition reimbursement, competitive salaries, and a stimulating environment. Interested candidates are requested to complete an on-line application through our website at http://www.stsci.edu/jobs and attach a resume in the "Resume Upload Section." Please include job # 17-0149 in the filename. Resumes received by September 10, 2017 will receive full consideration.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at http://www.aura-astronomy.org/diversity.asp.


As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.


STScI sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to create a first-rate scientific community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities.


Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at careers@stsci.edu EOE/AA/M/F/D/V Voted to the Baltimore Magazine Hall of Fame in 2015 – Top 25 Places to Work in Baltimore.



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