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Job Title:
Electronics Technician, IS-0856, Grade 11; $65,340 - $84,948 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Amado, Arizona
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This position is open to all qualified current SI/SAO employees only.


The purpose of this position is to provide electrical, electronics, and electro-mechanical expertise to the operation and maintenance of the four 12-meter aperture Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes in the VERITAS array; and to the continued development and evaluation of its prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope--a next generation gamma ray instrument.


1. Devises and develops a variety of new—or modifications to existing--electronic and electro-mechanical systems, equipment, and practices that will optimize the performance of instrumentation that facilitates the astronomical research programs of the VERITAS Observatory. Performs troubleshooting, electronics testing, calibration, and optical alignment and characterization in support of telescope operations.

2. Designs, fabricates, installs, commissions, and maintains a variety of electronic, electrical, and electro-mechanical systems and components for use at VERITAS. These include: multi-layer circuit boards and associated chassis; high and low voltage, and uninterruptible power-supplies; telescope mount control systems including servo-controllers, cabling, motors and safety interlocks; chillers and other environmental control systems; and test and calibration instruments and systems. Evaluates commercially available systems and components and determines if they will satisfy technical requirements or if a custom built system is necessary.

3. Participates in the development or modification of instrumentation from conception to operation and maintenance. Develops schematics, documentation, and test procedures when they are either unavailable or inadequate.

4. Writes component command and control software utilizing languages such as Python. Participates with VERITAS IT staff in developing new software and modifying application programs in data taking systems to facilitate telescope operations, maintenance, and calibration. Provides direction to software developers such as students from collaborating institutions as required.

5. Manages the gamma-ray electronics and mechanical shop and ensures that all equipment is operational and that supplies are stocked or ordered as needed.

6. Trains new/visiting users in emergency telescope procedures and areas such as the safe use of machinery at elevation. Ensures that all necessary equipment and documentation is calibrated and readily available.

7. Operates telescopes for engineering tests and for scientific data taking as requested.

8. Performs other related duties including providing occasional support to FLWO telescopes as required.


One year of full-time experience at the GS-9 level that is close or similar to the work of this job. The experience includes activities such as fabricating and installing electronic and electro-mechanical systems and components, utilizing provided documentation, maintaining electrical systems and assisting in routine testing, calibration and other science staff led activities.

Additional qualification information can be found from the following Office of Personnel Management web site:

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

Applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

Application Procedures:  We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply please visit USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.


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