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Job Details

Requisition Number 16-0269
Post Date 9/19/2016
Title Telescope Systems Engineer
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, 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.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project is in construction of a large ground based observatory in Chile. The 8.4-meter LSST will survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its three-billion pixel digital camera, probing the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids, and distant Kuiper Belt Objects. The LSST Project is divided into several integrated technical components, namely the Telescope and Site (T&S) Group responsible for constructing the summit facility/telescope observatory and the base facility/data center, the Camera Group responsible for delivering the science instrument, the Data Management (DM) Group responsible for delivering the data reduction and processing pipeline systems, the Commissioning Group responsible for integrating all subsystem components together, and Project Systems Engineering responsible for the overall requirements.

The LSST Telescope and Site (T&S) Group is seeking a Telescope Systems Engineer. The T&S Group is responsible for the final design, construction, delivery, and verification of all telescope systems and subsystems, prior to the Commissioning phase. These deliverables are provided through industrial contracts along with internal development efforts. The T&S Group is currently managing efforts with major industrial vendors in Chile, Italy, Spain, Germany, New York, and Colorado, along with local vendors in Arizona to deliver these elements to meet the applicable requirements. In addition, the T&S Group is planning for the delivery, assembly, integration, and verification (AIV) activities on the LSST summit site on Cerro Pachón, in Chile. These deliverables are defined by technical, performance, functional, and interface requirements. The Telescope Systems Engineer will support the T&S Group in maintaining requirements documents, ensuring that all of the requirements are properly controlled among all stakeholders. The successful candidate will also ensure that all of the requirements are properly verified and validated at the vendor facilities and will assist the T&S Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) team in developing the needed strategy for the verification process in Chile. Finally, the Telescope System Engineer will help with the transition from the T&S AIV effort to support the Commissioning Group responsible for integrating all subsystem components together (T&S, Camera, DM) and Project Systems Engineering responsible for the overall requirements. This position starts with the T&S Group located in Tucson, AZ, but will require significant travel to vendor facilities and the LSST summit in Chile, with strong preference for relocation to La Serena, Chile for the T&S AIV activities and potentially the Commissioning periods.

Job Responsibilities and Duties: The Telescope Systems Engineer has the primary responsibility for supporting the T&S system verification processes. This position will lead and provide coordination and monitoring of requirements, interfaces, and cross T&S system and subsystem deliverables. It will also include recommendation and implementation of change requests, and development of verification and integration plans. Additional responsibilities of this role include development and completion of verification matrices, support to risk and opportunity management, and direct support to the T&S AIV efforts on the LSST summit in Chile. This position reports to the LSST Telescope and Site Project Manager. Within the T&S Group, this position will work closely with the T&S Project Scientist, the T&S Deputy Project Manager for Integration (responsible for the T&S AIV effort on the summit), the T&S Deputy Manager for Project Controls, and all of the T&S Control Account Managers (CAMs). As a member of the Systems Engineering Integrated Product Team (SE IPT), this position is expected to closely collaborate with Project Systems Engineering, the systems engineers of other LSST subsystems, and follow project level systems engineering processes and guidelines.

Essential Functions:

  • System Engineering general activities: o Responsible to coordinate and maintain the evolution of the T&S system and subsystem element requirements o Responsible to coordinate and maintain the evolution of interfaces between and across LSST components (camera, DM, SE) as well as in within the T&S elements o Facilitate change requests as necessary to support the build process as well as the implementation of approved deviation and waiver requests o Contribute to LSST Project Systems Engineering activities as the T&S representative o Contribute to the management of risks and opportunities
  • AIV activities: o Participate in the detailed planning of T&S subsystem verification o Participate in the verification process during T&S acceptance testing at vendor facilities as well as acceptance testing of internally delivered elements o Support the detailed planning of AIV processes in Chile o Participate in assembly and integration tests on the summit in Chile o Lead the T&S subsystem verification activities on the summit in Chile o Lead the verification process during T&S acceptance testing on the summit in Chile o Facilitate implementation of the global safety interlock system


  • Bachelors University Degree in Physics/Engineering; Masters preferred
  • Four or more years of professional experience as a Systems Engineer or equivalent.
  • Experience with Systems Engineering fundamentals, including requirements and interface management, integration plan, verification, and validation processes
  • Experience with astronomical telescopes AIV and operations highly preferred


  • Fluent in English with strong understanding of Spanish highly preferred
  • Proven ability to read and to write documents in English and Spanish (highly desired)
  • Ability to work at altitude on the LSST summit site in Cerro Pachón, Chile (~2600m)
  • Ability to model using the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) desired.
  • Familiarity with Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) software desired
  • Ability to interpret fabrication drawings and familiarity with ASME Y14.100 Engineering Drawing Practice desired
  • Maintain commitment to a high standard of safety, comply with all safety laws and LSST safety policies/rules, and communicate actual and potential safety concerns to appropriate supervisory or management personnel to further LSST’s core value of safety.
  • Work effectively with coworkers and others by sharing ideas in a constructive, positive manner; listening to and objectively considering ideas and suggestions from others; keeping commitments; keeping others informed of work progress and issues; addressing problems and issues constructively to find mutually acceptable and practical solutions; and respecting the diversity of the LSST workforce in actions, words, and deeds.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a statement of professional interests or cover letter and CV or resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 16-0269LastnameDocname. 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.
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