Programmer - Embedded Software for High Energy Astrophysics instrumentation and BlackCAT satellite mission

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Archive Date: 
Saturday, May 8, 2021
To event remaining 24 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Penn State University
Department Name: 
Astronomy and Astrophysics
University Park
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of The Pennsylvania State University has an opening for a programmer/software designer with the high energy astrophysics detector and instrument group of Professor Abe Falcone.

A 4-year degree (or the equivalent) in computer science, electrical engineering, Physics, Astronomy, or a closely related field is required, with a preference for a candidate with at least 2 years of programming experience.

The position will entail the development of algorithms and software, for execution on-board the BlackCAT CubeSat X-ray astronomy mission, which is currently being developed and is expected to launch in 2024. These algorithms will be utilized to detect astrophysical transients on the satellite observatory and will also control and interact with key components of the instrument. A strong programming background is required, and experience with embedded systems, and/or flight software, and/or FPGA programming is highly desirable. Experience with the Linux kernel and/or real-time operating systems is desirable, as is experience with C/C++. Previous experience with X-ray astronomy data analysis of transient and highly variable objects using data from Swift, Chandra, or XMM would be a benefit but is not necessary. Candidates are encouraged to apply even if their experience is limited to just a subset of the topics listed above.

Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship.

The successful applicant will be responsible for meeting software delivery dates, while also being encouraged to undertake independent efforts. Title and salary will be commensurate with experience. In addition to the BlackCAT CubeSat, our current program includes the development and testing of state-of-the-art solid-state X-ray detectors for use in both near-term and long-term X-ray astronomy missions, as well as other instrumentation efforts and astrophysical studies for upcoming flight mission opportunities. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on these research projects.

Penn State is the lead institution for the recently approved BlackCAT CubeSat mission, as well as the ACIS instrument on Chandra, and for the X-ray Telescope on the Neil Gehrels Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer. The successful applicant could have access to other Penn State facilities.

Applications must be submitted electronically and include a CV, along with a cover letter that includes a statement of relevant experience and interests. In addition, please arrange for three reference letters to be sent to

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with possibility of renewal. Please send inquiries regarding the position to Prof. Abe Falcone at

Apply Online at:

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Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Included Benefits: 

Information regarding benefits may be found at

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Abe Falcone
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