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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0161
Post Date 8/1/2017
Title IT&C Observatory Technician (Mechanical)
City Maui
State HI

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

The NSO Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Project has an immediate opening for an Observatory Technician (Mechanical), OTM hereafter. The OTM will provide support to Integration, Testing and Commissioning (IT&C) engineer(s) on site and as directed by the IT&C manager. As the first technician(s) on site they will be expected to participate in the development of maintenance programs as new sub-systems come on-line. As the IT&C program develops the OTM will become an integral part of the IT&C team responsible for development of new sub-systems and maintenance of existing commissioned facility equipment. This position is permanently located on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Essential Functions:

  • Installation, improvement and modifications of structural and mechanical sub-systems, instrumentation and facility buildings under the direction of a supervisory engineer.
  • Perform technical support activities, at an experienced level, including mechanical assembly, precision alignment, basic manufacturing including welding, turning and machining.
  • Execution of observatory system maintenance, development of planned maintenance on new sub-systems.
  • Identify discrepancies in documentation, red-line drawings or text and reports errors for updating.
  • Participate in the site acceptance testing of sub-system equipment and any associated maintenance training.
  • Ensure the mechanical workshop is kept operational: all machine tools, consumables, spares, tools, and test equipment are maintained.
  • Assists in solving design problems as required, achieving assigned project objectives.
  • Solves coordination problems of a technical nature directly or in conjunction with other members of a project team.
  • Assists other technical support personnel as necessary.
  • Responsible for compliance with technical requirements and approved time schedules of assigned work.
  • Cooperates and coordinates closely with representatives of the major instrumentation and scientific divisions, and others involved with the assigned technical problem.
  • Monitors and reports results of activities and notes unusual situations.
  • Builds, assembles, modifies, repairs, troubleshoots and maintains equipment for a project.
  • Responsible for compliance with applicable safety standards and for safety of operations in areas under purview and reporting unsafe conditions and practices.
  • Prepares technical documentation for use by technicians, operators, engineers, and scientific staff.
  • Associate degree, military schools, or college level courses in Machine Shop Technology or equivalent combination of trades/skill training and demonstrated work experience sufficient to meet job requirements.
  • Minimum five years of experience in relevant technology or engineering support of large precision machines / mechanisms.
  • Ability to interpret Engineering Drawings.
  • Precision machining of small-medium sized mechanism parts and related components.
  • Structural mechanical fabrication including welding and brazing a variety of materials
  • Craning and slinging of equipment.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation and presentation of reports.
  • Ability to thrive in a culturally diverse team environment.
  • Willingness to actively participate in team safety meetings and adhere to (and advocate for) safety procedures and protocols.
  • Sensitive to and respectful of cultural and environmental issues.
  • Basic computer skills

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience of working in an Astronomical or Scientific Laboratory environment.
  • Experience of CNC machine operation and programing
  • Experience with CAD to create and modify drawings
  • Experience of forklift operation
  • Servicing and repair of high vacuum cryogenic scientific instruments.
  • Optical mirror cleaning and/or coating.
  • Vacuum or cryogenic experience

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; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and 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 and ability to adjust focus.
  • 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
  • Must possess sufficient mobility, strength or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) grasp, push, pull, turn or otherwise manipulate tools and mechanisms; b) push, shove, pull or otherwise safely and efficiently manipulate tools or mechanisms; c) lift, hold, maneuver, objects of 50 lbs or more; d) maintain balance while performing work; e) remove parts, systems, tools of 50 lbs or more
  • Some travel may be necessary in or outside the contiguous United States.
  • Ability to work at 10,000’ elevation, sometimes during inclement weather
  • There will be occasional working at height utilizing fall protection equipment, ladders and scaffolding

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0161LastnameDocname. 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.

  • 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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