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 sub-millimeter astronomy. A 747-SP aircraft carries a 2.5-meter telescope designed to make sensitive infrared measurements on a variety of astronomical objects. The Science Flight Planner has primary responsibility for developing flight plans for SOFIA’s science operations. The process will commence as soon as yearly/cyclic proposals have been awarded, with a set of preliminary flight plans that schedule each accepted proposal object by instrument series for the entire cycle; with consideration of all of the possible science objects in the observation planning database. Once the yearly schedule has been set, the Science Flight Planner will revisit each instrument flight series in turn and develop final flight plans flight by flight. The Science Flight Planner is cognizant of the issues that are relevant for making the observations, including the needed durations and signal to noise ratio, water overburden limit, the part of the sky the objects will be in, the needed calibrations and calibrator objects, and guide star availability. As flight time approaches, a better understanding of weather is gained and flight planning must be refined. This development process will be highly iterative, and include interactions with Mission Operations flight crew assigned to each instrument series, the USRA Science Instrument Specialist, Principle Investigators from Science Instrument teams, and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) flight navigator, to support investigators and/or organize observations to be done in service observing (a.k.a. “queue”) mode. Once conveyed to the Aircraft Operations Support group for filing, and the mission gets underway, the Science Flight Planner monitors progress in flight against the plan onboard the aircraft. The Science Flight Planner must consider the effects of actual winds and water vapor to assess how they will impact the planned science suggest optimizations, and coordinate with the Mission Director. The Science Flight Planner must be able to provide candidate plans to resolve issues that enable more science and to communicate the candidate plans to the Mission Director. In flight, the Science Flight Planner may also act as the backup to the Mission Director. QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE REQUIRED FOR THIS POSITION: •Bachelor’s degree in a relevant science or engineering discipline or equivalent experience •Ten years of experience in relevant field •Preferred experience includes operations of astronomical observatories and NASA process and documentation standards •Experience in understanding customer requirements and technical constraints •Experience in establishing development priorities and development schedules; monitoring and reporting progress •Experience in celestial navigation a plus Compensation for this position is competitive, and based on candidates’ experience and expertise. Application should include 1.Cover letter 2.Resume/Curriculum Vita 3.Names and contact information of three references
Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, 401K, medical and dependent flexible spending account, leave; holiday, sick, annual.