The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) has an immediate opening for an experienced Science Operations Center (SOC) manager. The successful candidate will manage the overall operations and continued development of the SOC for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a NASA Astrophysics Explorer satellite launched in April 2018. The primary goal of the TESS mission is to identify extrasolar planets orbiting the nearest, brightest stars.
MKI is the PI institution for the TESS mission. Goddard Space Flight Center manages the TESS mission on behalf of NASA. Northrup Grumman Innovation Systems (formally Orbital ATK) operates the spacecraft through its Mission Operations Center (MOC). NASA’s Ames Research Center provides additional data processing support for the TESS SOC.
The TESS Science Operations Center responsibilities include choosing scientific targets and instrument pointing directions, monitoring the health and safety of the TESS instrument, validating scientific data received from the observatory, managing ground pipeline processing, and ensuring that science data are archived properly. The orbit lifetime for TESS is expected to be more than a decade. As a baseline, TESS will conduct a two-year science mission until mid 2021. At NASA’s discretion, mission operations could be extended at least until late 2022.
The TESS SOC manager will oversee the planning, scheduling, monitoring and reporting on activities of the TESS SOC engineers and scientists at MKI, and manage SOC subcontractors and partners to ensure that the SOC is fully functional and operational in accordance with the TESS mission schedule. The TESS SOC manager will also be responsible with the TESS Principal Investigator for effective staffing, financial monitoring, operation and maintenance of the SOC to ensure that high-quality science data products are made available to the astrophysical community in accordance with TESS mission requirements.
Qualified candidates should have a bachelor’s or higher degree in astronomy, physics, software engineering or a related field, and at least four years of experience managing scientific software development projects. Experience with NASA ground data processing systems and financial management tools is a plus. Applications should be submitted via the MIT Careers Portal to position 16951.