Instrument Scientist (519-500)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Archive Date: 
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
Universities Space Research Association
Moffett Field
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers - on schedule and within budget.

USRA is accepting applications for two Instrument Scientist positions in the area of far infrared (FIR) instruments and observations.  We are seeking experienced observational astronomers to support the SOFIA guest investigator community and instrument teams in the definition, acquisition and analysis of observations, as well as general user support and observatory operations. One of the positions will, primarily, support the SOFIA Third Generation instrument HIRMES currently under development.  (HIRMES is a far-infrared, dispersive, high-resolution spectrograph; PI: H. Mosley, GSFC).  The second position will primarily support the FIFI-LS far-infrared integral-field spectrometer.  Both positions will also entail secondary support roles for other SOFIA instruments, as well as general user support and observatory functions.  Depending on the experience and interest of the applicants, and complementarity to existing staff, other primary instrument support assignments may be considered. The HIRMES instrument scientist will initially assist with characterization, calibration and preparation of user documentation for the instruments and integrating the instruments on the observatory. During operations, instrument scientists oversee operations of the science instruments, develop the calibration programs, monitor instrument performance, and provide support to the user community.

Candidates should have a strong interest in SOFIA and be actively pursuing research broadly related to SOFIA science. SOFIA Scientists will have up to 20% of their time available for personal research. These positions are stationed at NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, and will be expected to spend significant time at the SOFIA Operations Center in Palmdale, and possibly the southern operations base in New Zealand.

Required Skills

  • PhD in Astronomy, Physics or related field
  • Minimum of 4 years of post-PhD degree experience in astronomical research and infrared observations
  • Ability to support and communicate effectively with research astronomers, both experts and novices in the field of FIR astronomy
  • Experience in ground-based or air-borne infrared/sub-mm wave observations is a particular advantage
  • Compensation for this position is competitive, and based on candidates’ experience and expertise. 


Applicants should apply to the posting at and submit a cover letter, a copy of their CV including a list of publications, and a description of their research interests, including relevance to and/or projected use of SOFIA science. Applicant should also provide names and contact information of three references.   Review of candidates will begin immediately. Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 6, 2017
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, November 6, 2017
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
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Ben Tanis
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