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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0165
Post Date 8/8/2017
Title Technical Associate I
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) manages several astronomical observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) and construction projects (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Daniel. K. Inouye Solar Telescope) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has an opening for a Technical Associate at the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO). This position provides electrical and mechanical support for the telescopes on Kitt Peak. This includes maintaining all the various control systems ranging from servo systems to weather stations. Performs telescope instrument changes and monitors them when needed. Sets up the telescopes for nighttime operations.


  • Performs technical support activities, including some project planning and control, and data analysis
  • Provides support for solving design problems.
  • Assists in solving coordination problems of a technical nature directly or in conjunction with other members of a project team.
  • Recommends improvements to existing designs and manufacturing procedures if appropriate.
  • Responsible for compliance with technical requirements and approved time schedules of assigned work.
  • Cooperates closely with representatives of the major instrumentation and scientific divisions, and others involved with the assigned technical problem.
  • Reports results of activities and notes unusual situations.
  • Maintains familiarity and knowledge of parts, materials, tools, etc. to be used on assigned project
  • Builds, assembles and/or maintains equipment for a project.
  • Responsible for safety of own operations and for reporting unsafe practices or conditions.
  • Two to Ten years of advanced level, relevant work experience, Associates degree or college level courses in engineering or science preferred.
  • Knowledge of  electronics, computers,  instrumentation, as required.  Knowledge of telescope operations a plus.
  • Ability to resolve technical problems by application of elementary engineering and physics principles relevant to project requirements.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation and presentation of reports.
  • Ability to thrive in a culturally diverse team environment.
  • Basic Computer skills for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, Working knowledge of spreadsheet and word-processing software.
  • Valid State driver’s license and a valid GSA permit issued by NOAO.
  • Ability to drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
  • Knowledge of electronic test equipment such as volt-ohm meters, oscilloscopes, network cable tester.
  • Experience with vacuum systems, vacuum pumps and liquid nitrogen cooled CCD’s a plus.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; to use hands and fingers, to handle, or feel; and the ability to talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl. The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception, ability to adjust focus and normal color vision.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately
  • Able to climb stairs and work at 6,800 feet altitude for sustained periods of time in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.

To apply send cover letter and resume, and please include a telephone number where we may contact you during business hours between 8 AM – 3 PM. Please reference Job #17-0165, Technical Associate, when applying. If you have any attachments, please save them with the following format: 17-0165_lastname_docname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

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

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 does 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 recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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