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Requisition Number 16-0268
Post Date 12/15/2016
Title Assistant Mechanical Engineer
City La Serena
Description 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 Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has an opening for an Associate Mechanical Engineer at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile (CTIO). The Assistant Mechanical Engineer will provide mechanical engineering analysis, design and support for a wide variety of areas such as telescope and instrumentation upgrades, maintenance, reliability engineering, continuous performance improvements and obsolescence mitigation.

He/she will form part of the NOAO-South Engineering and Technical Services department and will work in multi-disciplinary teams with engineers, technicians and scientists. The working time will be divided between Observatory sites on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachon and the sea level base facilities in La Serena, Chile. Some international travel may also be required.

Essential Functions:
• Provides and participates in engineering and technical solutions for a wide spectrum of observatory projects including their development and coordination, as well as diagnosis of problems, repairs, and major maintenance activities, with an emphasis on the support of two 4m class telescopes, the SOAR telescope and Victor M. Blanco Telescope, as well as other, smaller telescopes that share the site.
• Provides mechanical engineering analysis, design, fabrication supervision, integration and test support for ongoing and future development programs related to the telescopes and instrumentation.
• Provides precision mechanics engineering support to the operations and maintenance work of the telescopes and their instruments.
• Prepares technical reports, drawings, purchase requisitions, fabrication contracts and other forms of work related documentation.
• Complies with applicable safety standards and insure safety of operations in relevant areas, and for correcting and/or reporting unsafe conditions and practices.


Requirements Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:
• Bachelor’s degree, Licenciatura, Enginering Diploma, or equivalent, in mechanical engineering.
• Proficiency with Design and FEA software, preferably SolidWorks, ANSYS, Autodesk Inventor, Pro/Engineer or equivalent parametric CAD packages.
• Ability to understand verbal instructions, technical drawings, safety guides, and other written material, necessary to perform the job at hand, in both English and Spanish.
• Ability to produce effective spoken and written communications, including preparation of comprehensive engineering documentation, technical drawings and reports, in English or Spanish languages, preferably both.
• Must communicate effectively with others and must be a cooperative team player who strives to make the team(s) successful.
• Must perform well under pressure of deadlines.
• Must have a proactive attitude toward safety
• Must have, or be able to obtain, a valid passport and be willing to travel internationally, as required.

Desirable Skills / Education/Experience/Abilities:
• Knowledge of precision mechanics and opto-mechanical systems.
• Familiarity with precision metrology systems and optical alignment tools.
• Astronomical observatory experience.
• Knowledge or experience with Instrumentation, including cryogenic instruments.
• Willingness and ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary work team.
• Potential ability to lead a team, in the near future, in completing projects or major engineering tasks.
• Possession of a valid Class B (or higher) driver's license or ability to get one.
• Some communication proficiency in English and Spanish is an asset.

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 5 kg and occasionally lift and/or move up to 12 kg.
• 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 25 kg or more; d) maintain balance while performing work; e) remove parts, systems, tools of 25kg or more
• Must be able to work at an altitude of 2800m.


  • 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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