Software Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
La Serena
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and NASA.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project is currently constructing an 8.4 meter diameter ground-based observatory in Chile and a 3.2 gigapixel camera with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The telescope will survey the visible sky every few nights in six optical bands to address four key science themes: Constraining the nature of dark energy and dark matter, making an inventory of small moving bodies in the Solar System, exploring the transient optical sky, and determining the accretion history of the Milky Way.

The LSST organization is divided into several technical subsystems, including the Telescope and Site (T&S) Subsystem responsible for the base facility, the summit facility and telescope construction, the Camera Subsystem responsible for the delivering of the instrument, Data Management (DM) responsible for delivering the data reduction pipeline.

The LSST Telescope and Site (T&S) Subsystem is soliciting applications for a Telescope and Site Control Software Engineer. The T&S subsystem is at the beginning of the exciting time of its various elements integration (Dome, Telescope Mount Assembly, Mirror systems and their active optics control, Auxiliary Components….). As a result, the T&S Control’s software Engineer duties will range from designing to integrating and optimizing the diverse software control systems in general and the active optics system (AOS) in particular.

The AOS encompasses both the software and the hardware responsible for delivering the appropriate LSST image quality, including the control of the two mirrors and the hexapods/rotator. This includes an open loop-model that sends correction of the active mirrors as a function of gravity and a closed-loop that corrects for any other real time perturbation (wind, temperature….) up to 0.03 Hz. In that context, the Controls Software Engineer will be responsible for the flow of data from the diverse instruments (test instruments or science instruments), to the control of the hardware (namely the actuators of the mirrors, hexapods).

Essential Functions:

  • Communicates with the scientist, manager, or committee that is providing the technical oversight for the application; participates in design meetings and reviews.
  • Identifies the requirements that the application must satisfy; translates user requirements into software design requirements, determines structure of software systems form the design requirements, provides estimates of time and manpower to do the required work.
  • Designs, develops, debugs, and maintains software code, documentation and operator instructions
  • Designs, writes and debugs real-time control software and provides low level coding for hardware control.
  • Ability to own, maintain and repair previously written real-time control systems.
  • Operates computer systems and applications.
  • Assists those using the application or computer system.
  • Responsible for tracking work effort.
  • All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else. This responsibility includes reporting any known missing, stolen, or non-working property in their work area to their supervisor or the AURA Property Officer.
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with government award terms and conditions assigned to this position or subordinates of this position as defined in the Vela Award Management system.

Other Functions:

  • Other duties as assigned

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering or physical science.
  • Position requires minimum of five years software experience.
  • Requires analytical ability, effective verbal and written communication skills, and ability to function in an unstructured and dynamic work environment, attention to details and commitment to achieving high quality results.
  • Knowledge of C and other comparable languages used for real-time work.
  • Knowledge of Python or other comparable scripting language.
  • Experience with hardware control applications and real time operating systems.
  • Experience with UNIX/LINUX.
  • Fluent in English - both verbal and written

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience working in an Agile software development team
  • Experience working with a publish/subscribe communications mechanism (DDS)
  • Experience with Docker, Jenkins and/or Puppet
  • Experience with LabVIEW
  • Experience working with telescope control software
  • Bilingual English/Spanish

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.
  • International travel may be required

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach: a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format:  LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Aura HR
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