Mechanical Technician

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, February 28, 2020
Archive Date: 
Friday, March 27, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) project is seeking a  Mechanical Technician who will provide support to the Technical Operations team for the DKIST Observatory as directed by the Mechanical Technician Group Leader and/or Optical Group Leader. The Mechanical Technician will be an integral part of the Technical Operations team, responsible for operation and maintenance of DKIST equipment ranging from precision optics to pumps. The Mechanical Technician will also participate in the design, fabrication, installations, testing, and commissioning of the new observatory equipment and systems.

Essential Functions:

  • Perform installation, checkout, operation, and maintenance of structural and mechanical components, systems, instrumentation, and equipment under the direction of a supervisory engineer.
  • Perform technical activities including basic design, selection of components, fabrication, mechanical assembly, precision alignment, modification, troubleshooting, and repair of observatory systems.
  • Utilize machine tools including but not limited to mill, lathe, band saw, drill press, and magnetic drill. Deploy techniques including welding, rigging/hoisting, and crane operation.
  • Execution of observatory system maintenance as well as development of planned maintenance on new sub-systems.
  • Prepare drawings, checklists, and material takeoffs. Identify discrepancies in documentation, red-line drawings, and reports for updating/correction.
  • Participate in the site acceptance testing of sub-system equipment and any associated maintenance training.
  • Ensure the mechanical workshop is kept operational; machine tools, consumables, spares, tools, and test equipment are organized and maintained.
  • General Functions:
  • Assist in solving problems as required, achieving assigned objectives with proficiency and quality workmanship.
  • Solve coordination problems of a technical nature directly or in conjunction with other members of a project team.
  • Support other technical personnel as necessary.
  • Comply with technical requirements and approved time schedules of assigned work.
  • Monitor and report results of activities and note unusual situations.
  • Work in accordance with applicable safety standards. Ensure safety of operations in areas under purview. Report any unsafe conditions and practices.
  • Prepare technical documentation for use by technicians, operators, engineers, and scientific staff.
  • 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 duties as assigned

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Associate’s degree, military schools, trade school, college level courses in Mechanical Engineering Technology, vocational training as a machinist, millright, or equivalent combination of trades/skill training and demonstrated work experience sufficient to meet job requirements.
  • 2-5 years of relevant work experience.
  • Ability to interpret Engineering Drawings.
  • Experience in precision machining of small-medium sized mechanism parts and related components.
  • Experience in structural mechanical fabrication including welding and brazing a variety of materials.
  • Experience with craning and slinging of equipment.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation and presentation of reports.
  • Ability to thrive in a culturally diverse team environment.
  • Willingness to actively participate in team safety meetings and adhere to (and advocate for) safety procedures and protocols.
  • Sensitive to and respectful of cultural and environmental issues.
  • Basic computer skills

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • 5-10 or more years of relevant work experience
  • Aptitude for work with mechanical, opto-mechanical, thermal, and electro-mechanical systems across a broad range of operation, maintenance, repair, and upgrade activities
  • OSHA/ANSI Fall Protection Authorization
  • Certified Rigger, Certified Overhead Crane Operator, forklift operator, aerial work platform operator
  • Certification in Refrigerant Handling, EPA608 or equivalent
  • Broad range of experience/interest in areas such as: working in an astronomical or scientific laboratory environment.
  • CNC machine operation and programming o creating and modifying part and assembly models and drawings in CAD (e.g, Solidworks)
  • Optical mirror handling, cleaning, and/or coating o experience working in a cleanroom environment
  • HVAC/R o hydraulic and pneumatic systems, pumps, heat exchangers, chillers, valves, plumbing o precision alignment and metrology (e.g. micrometer, dial indicator, theodolite, laser tracker) o servicing and repair of high vacuum cryogenic scientific instruments .

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. 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 will accept and review applications until the position is filled. Qualified internal candidates will be given preference.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three 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 NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

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. 

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


Included Benefits: 

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 27, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job