Job posting 14-08
Opening date: February 06, 2014
Closing date: May 23, 2014
TITLE: Astrophysicist (Technical Assistant) IS-1330, Grade 7, 9, $42,830 to $68,103/annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - HEA
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Resident status.
Two positions may be filled. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. Selection may be made at either the
grade 7 or 9 grade level. This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 11. A
candidate selected at grade 7 or 9, may be non-competitively promoted to the next higher grade level, up
to grade 11, upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory
performance and qualifications of the employee.
The employee in this position provides technical scientific support of x-ray astronomy research and space
observatory operations using the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In concert with scientific staff, Technical Assistants
plan and schedule observations. The Technical Assistants also are involved in coding, modifying, debugging, and
documenting software for mission planning; developing and maintaining databases; drafting and maintaining
materials for websites; and participating in the daily operations of the Chandra Observatory. Grade 7: The individual
is at the developmental trainee level, where assignments combine performance of work with orientation and
supervised on-the-job-training. Assignments are designed to develop the employee for work at a higher level.
Grade 9: Duties may include analyzing data and drawing conclusions regarding scientific contents for the data;
designing, developing, testing, and modifying new and existing computer code; developing and analyzing
algorithms; running software and analyzing data output; mission planning, simulations, and modeling; responding
to on-call procedures; developing, maintaining and improving documentation on mission planning procedures;
participating actively in teleconferences, meetings, and other communication activities; performing other duties as
In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience
and/or directly related education in the amounts shown below: Grade 7: One year of specialized experience
equivalent to the grade 5 level in the normal line of progression for the occupation. Experience at this level
normally would have included modifying and maintaining software for astronomy projects, providing technical
support for an astronomical observatory, or carrying out research projects in physics or astronomy. OR
Completion of one-year of graduate level education OR Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) when it provided
the applicant with the criteria necessary to do the work of the position. For SAA requirements, please go to OPM
website: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp Grade 9: One year of specialized
experience equivalent to the grade 7 level in the normal line of progression for the occupation. Experience at this
level normally would have included developing and documenting software for astronomical research or
operations, completing research projects in physics or astronomy, or providing operational support for an
astronomical observatory. OR 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's
degree or equivalent graduate degree
Education: All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements: A. Degree in one or a combination of
astronomy, physics, mathematics, or space science. The course work must have included differential and
integral calculus and 12 semester hours in astronomy and/or physics. OR B. Combination of education and
experience - at least 30 semester hours of courses equivalent to a major in any combination of astronomy,
space science, physics, and mathematics with required course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate
experience or additional education.
For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions
viewable on the web at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy
posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit: USAJOBS
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.
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