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Job Title:
General Engineer (Array monitoring/software Lead)), IS-0801, Grade 14; $121,243 - $157,614 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This position is open to all qualified U.S. Citizens and U.S. perm residents.



The Engineer will be focused on leading the system design and software architecture for the ngEHT array monitoring and control system. In addition to duties on the next generation EHT project, the Engineer will lead and contribute to software engineering improvement activities aimed at streamlining SAO’s Central Engineering capabilities for software engineering.


PURPOSE OF THE POSITION:  Provide systems engineering support for the next generation Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). This position includes dual roles shared between the next generation EHT project and the SAO Central Engineering organization, envisioned as an approximately 50/50 resource allocation between both roles. The Engineer will play a key role in the overall next generation EHT engineering team, participating in all phases of the systems development lifecycle, including concept of operations, requirements, system architecture modeling, system design, risk management, integration, testing, and implementation planning. The incumbent will lead several systems engineering efforts in close collaboration with and at the direction of the Project Engineer.  The incumbent will work with an international team that includes engineers, theoreticians, software developers, astronomers, and imaging algorithm experts, all united by a common science vision. Both roles in this position will require that the incumbent possesses the ability to learn quickly, see the big picture, and carry out multiple complex activities simultaneously.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  1.  Provides engineering leadership for the system design of the next generation Event Horizon Telescope’s Array Monitoring and Control (M&C) System, from conceptual design through prototype demonstration and detailed system architecture. Assists and coordinates development of technical specifications for the Array M&C system. Assists and coordinates engineering design and analysis (drawing from mechanical, optical, systems, microwave, electronic or signal processing disciplines), as well as proposal preparation and formal documentation.
  2. Architects and manages a software team within SAO’s Central Engineering organization to design and deploy a data analysis software system using software engineering best practices.
  3. Manages small team of software engineers to develop the Array M&C System, including overseeing the development of prototypes, graphical user interfaces, integrations with existing software systems at local sites, and other modules as required. Ensures software design is compatible with instrument hardware. Participates in design reviews.
  4. Leads system architecture modeling for the Array M&C System using model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools. Implements modeling approach and presents system architecture models to various worldwide institutions and stakeholders.
  5. Contributes to the development of system-level concept of operations and performs functional analysis and decomposition to trace higher level system requirements and user needs into subsystem-level Array M&C requirements, features, and designs.
  6. Writes and maintains engineering requirements, specifications, interface documents, etc., assisting the Project Engineer to ensure that project milestones and budgets are successfully met.
  7. Prepares engineering input to project proposals, cost estimates, cost models, schedules, technical plans, procedures, and reports.
  8. Makes oral and written presentations to project scientists and technical representatives of cooperating and/or contracting organizations. Contributes to papers and technical articles as required. Represents SAO on technical task forces.
  9. Performs other related duties as required.




In addition to meeting basic qualification requirements, candidates must possess at least one year of professional experience in a field appropriate to the specialization for which applying, that was comparable in level of responsibility and difficulty to that of the GS-13 level. Specialized experience at the grade 13 typically involves serving as lead systems/software engineer on a projects of significant scope.


All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements:

Basic Requirements for Engineer (You must submit a copy of your transcripts)

[A] a degree in professional engineering. Curriculum must (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics; OR

[B] combination of education and experience - college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by ONE of the following: professional registration; written test (successfully passed the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) examination or the written test required for professional registration); specified academic courses (successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering); OR related curriculum (successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field). 


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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