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Job Details

Requisition Number 15-0248
Post Date 12/1/2015
Title Senior Instrument Systems Engineer
City Boulder
State CO

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

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Project has an immediate opening for a Senior Instrument Systems Engineer (SISE) who is responsible for delivering the required performance of the assembled instruments, detectors, calibration units and software. This includes all system engineering activities for DKIST Instrumentation: development, laboratory acceptance testing, site integration testing, commissioning (IT&C) and handover to operations. These tasks will be accomplished in close collaboration with the sub-system Lead Engineers, Scientists and other Systems Engineers.

The SISE will begin in Boulder, CO, relocating to Maui, HI, in early 2018. Frequent travel between Boulder, Maui and Tucson is anticipated.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop a thorough working knowledge of the specifications, requirements and design of all major DKIST systems with particular emphasis on Instrumentation.
  • Use requirements tracking applications, ensuring traceability from the Science Requirements through systems level requirements and into sub-system requirements. Identify any omissions or unverifiable requirements.
  • Identify non-conformities and advocate corrective action solutions and/or requests for waiver.
  • Update existing instrument interfaces, develop interface control documents and verify conformance of the instruments to these interfaces.
  • Represent DKIST system engineering in instrument design reviews and acceptance testing with particular emphasis on compliance.
  • Advance instrument acceptance-test plans to ensure verification of all requirements.
  • Study performance related issues; develop plans to resolve or mitigate.
  • Refine instrument maintenance and operational manuals.
  • Work with project staff and instrument suppliers to develop and implement instrument IT&C plans.
  • Ensure the proper equipment, tools, materials, assemblies and methods to be used during instrument IT&C activities are in place.
  • Manage instrument IT&C activities on site to ensure that the individual instruments and the facility meet requirements. Diagnose problems and develop solutions to non-compliance areas.
  • Perform other tasks as directed by the Senior Systems Engineer
  • Bachelor's degree in physics, electronics, optics, mechanical engineering, or other relevant field — Master's degree preferred
  • Strong management abilities to achieve the Essential Functions
  • Knowledge solar physics instrumentation
  • 5 years of experience in systems engineering
  • Experience in integration and commissioning of solar physics instrumentation
  • Familiarity with solar physics observatories and observing practices.
  • Experience in verification of engineering requirements and interfaces and dealing with nonconformance.
  • Ability to resolve technical problems by application of general engineering, scientific, or mathematical techniques.
  • Good organizational skills and good written and verbal communication skills.
  • A thorough working knowledge of MS Office applications.
  • A thorough working knowledge of Project Management techniques.

Desirable Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Several years of experience in systems engineering of solar physics instrumentation
  • Experience in using DOORS or other requirements tracking applications
  • Ability to differentiate and prioritize between critical and lesser non-compliances through Root Cause Analysis, FMECA, RAMS etc.
  • Ability to apply statistical techniques to the analysis of test data.
  • Experience in Hazard and Risk management processes.
  • Experience in 3D engineering modeling
  • Experience in Model Based System Engineering
  • Experience in development of operations and maintenance documentation.
  • Experience with MATLAB/Simulink modeling of control systems

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: 15-0248LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.

  • 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.
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