Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is inviting applications as a part of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program.
SOFIA is a premier observatory for infrared and submillimeter astronomy. The SOFIA 747-SP aircraft carries a 2.5-meter telescope designed to make sensitive infrared measurements on a variety of astronomical objects. SOFIA is a joint project between NASA and German Aerospace Center, DLR. USRA operates the SOFIA Science Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center for NASA. The aircraft observatory is based at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The SOFIA science center offers an exciting research environment and close proximity to astrophysics, planetary science, and astrobiology groups at NASA Ames and the SETI Institute.
This is a visiting position with an anticipated term of one to two years.
USRA is seeking a Scenario Software Engineer this position requires a software systems engineer/mathematician to enhance the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) “Scenario” development. The SOFIA Observing Scenarios are elaborate use cases defining algorithms used largely to control pointing the telescope and all that entails on a non-rigid, moving platform.
Current Scenarios cover blind pointing (i.e., the first pointing of the telescope during a flight), accounting for orientation for multiple imagers, including the science instrument, guiding; i.e., stabilizing visual guide images and chopping, nodding and dithering on visible and infrared objects (techniques for background subtraction purposes) SOFIA contains a gyro-stabilized telescope which consists of a 2.5 meter parabolic primary mirror and a 0.35 m diameter oscillating hyperbolic secondary mirror. There are three optical imagers and an optical focal plane guiding system.
This position is based at NASA AMES Research Center Moffett Field, CA; travel may be required to the home institutions of the instrument teams and to Dryden Flight Research Center.
Education and experience required for this position:
MS in physics/astronomy/mathematics or a related science / engineering field
5+ years of experience in algorithm development in science applications or related area.
Experience with a higher level programming (such as C++) or modeling (Matlab / IDL) language
Strong math background
Experience with quaternion algebra
Experience with reference frame rotation mathematics
Experience with infrared astronomical observing techniques desirable