Browse Open Jobs | Search Open Jobs | Edit Your Profile | View Submitted Applications

Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0199
Post Date 9/15/2017
Title Systems Engineer
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation (NSF). AURA also has cooperative agreements with the NSF to construct the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).

LSST is a planned, large-aperture, wide-field, ground-based telescope that will survey half the sky every few nights in six optical bands. It will explore a wide range of astrophysical questions, ranging from discovering “killer” asteroids, to examining the nature of dark energy. The project includes an 8-meter class wide field telescope, a 3.2 gigapixel camera with 2-second readout, and a state-of-the-art petascale data management system to process, archive, and distribute the 15 TB of data produced every night. LSST Construction is underway, having started an 8-year effort in July 2014. LSST is a single project funded by both the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Once completed, the LSST will be the largest and most modern optical survey project ever built.

LSST is soliciting applications for a Systems Engineer within the Project Systems Engineering (PSE) team at the LSST Project Office (Headquarters) in Tucson, AZ. The Project Systems Engineering team is responsible for project-level systems engineering functions, including technical oversight and planning for the project. The PSE team is also responsible for leading and coordinating the final system integration and commissioning of the LSST Observatory System. The PSE is responsible for properly defining, decomposing, and maintaining technical performance, functional, and interface requirements and then ensuring that all of the requirements are properly verified and validated, resulting in a commissioned system that meets all stakeholders’ needs. Inherent in this scope is the need to develop and manage requirements, verification plans, performance estimates, cross-subsystem interfaces, cross-subsystem deliverables, and integration, commissioning and operations plans. Additionally, Project Systems Engineering develops and implements common processes, conducts risk and opportunity management, and implements change and configuration control. The LSST PSE team utilizes Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) to manage many of the typical systems engineering functions.

The Systems Engineer will report to the Systems Engineering Manager. She/he will focus on planning for the Commissioning phase of the project, which includes developing verification plans, test cases, and procedures. The Systems Engineer will support the development, implementation, and usage of a common Work Management System tool to be used to coordinate work during commissioning and operations, including the execution of verification activities. During Commissioning the SE will oversee verification activities, track progress, and work with other members of the team to develop responses to non-compliances. The SE will also develop Failure Modes Effects and Causality Analysis (FMECA) tables and Fault Tree Analyses (FTA) for the system to understand system behavior leading in to Commissioning and Operations. The Systems Engineer will be responsible for working in an MBSE environment.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop detailed system and subsystem verification plans
  • Generate verification (test) cases and verification (test) procedures to verify requirements in Commissioning
  • Oversee the development and/or customization of a Test Case management and execution software tool
  • Oversee and track verification activities in commissioning and develop responses to non-compliances
  • Maintain and update the observatory SysML model in MagicDraw
  • Coordinate and monitor the evolution of system and subsystem level requirements
  • Coordinate and monitor the evolution of interfaces between subsystems
  • Coordinate and monitor the early cross-subsystem deliverables
  • Facilitate the implementation of approved change and deviation requests
  • Contribute to the development and refinement of Systems Engineering processes
  • Contribute to the management of Risks and Opportunities



Candidates for this position will possess a general understanding of Systems Engineering fundamentals, including the requirements, verification, and validation processes; interface management; integration plan development; functional and physical architectural definition and decomposition; and behavioral definition. The ideal candidate will have a strong understanding and background in preparing for and executing projects in the assembly, integration, and verification/validation phases of a project and have previous experience with Model Based Systems Engineering.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in an Engineering discipline.
  • Understanding of traditional Systems Engineering processes (as defined by the International Council on Systems Engineering – INCOSE) as demonstrated by course work and/or experience.
  • Five or more years of professional experience working as a Systems Engineer.
  • Experience with the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) and object oriented Model Based Systems Engineering.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation and presentation of reports.
  • Attention to detail and commitment to achieving high quality results on time.
  • Ability to cooperate with and obtain the support of others.

Desired Experience/Skills/Abilities

  • Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering
  • Experience with documenting undesired behavior via FMECA and/or FTA techniques. Experience with documenting desired system behavior using state machine, use case, activity decomposition, or similar techniques
  • Professional Systems Engineering certificates in the following areas:
    • Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)
    • OMG Certified Systems Modeling Professional (OCSMP).
  • Experience with software development
  • Experience with Quality Assurance / Quality Control
  • Experience preparing for and executing projects in the assembly, integration, and verification/validation phases
  • Experience with MagicDraw or another MBSE tool
  • Experience working on telescopes or other similarly complex systems.

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a letter of interest and CV/resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0199LastnameDocname. 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)
Apply On-line
Send This Job to a Friend