Mechanical Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, April 22, 2022
Archive Date: 
Friday, May 20, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

We are seeking a Mechanical Engineer to be part of the Mechanical Engineering (ME) group of NOIRLab Engineering Services (ES), a distributed team of over 30 members in charge of providing excellence in the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of all mechanical and physical plant equipment at the telescopes including observatories’ instrumentation, and the operation of machine shops.

The Mechanical Engineer has responsibility for the mechanical engineering analysis, design and support for a wide variety of areas, in a multi-cultural environment. Telescope and instrumentation maintenance, reliability engineering, continuous performance improvement and obsolescence mitigation are important aspects in this position. Furthermore, by participating in design reviews, this position is expected to represent operational needs and past experience during the development of new instruments. The working time will be mostly at the Kitt Peak National Observatory telescope site, which is approximately 56 miles from Tucson – transportation and meals are provided. Additional work time will be at the offices and workshop at NOIRLab's Tucson, Arizona, facilities – located on the University of Arizona campus. The position will be tuned to the incumbent’s experience and abilities and may encompass taking the lead on various aspects of projects. Travel to the other NOIRLab facilities may be required for short periods of time.

Essential Functions:

  • Provides mechanical engineering support to the operations and maintenance work on the telescope and instrumentation.
  • Provides mechanical engineering analysis, design, fabrication, integration and test support for ongoing and future development programs related to the telescope and instrumentation. Represents operational stakeholder interests in design reviews.
  • Takes (cross-functional) responsibility for one or more systems and/or instruments.
  • Prepares technical reports, drawings, purchase requisitions, fabrication contracts and other forms of documentation related to the work.

Other Functions:

  • 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:

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Mechanical design, analysis, fabrication, and assembly practice.
  • Proficient with CAD design software (SolidWorks, ANSYS, AutoCAD, or equivalent).
  • Familiarity with analysis and simulation software (MatLab, Mathematica or similar).
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation of comprehensive engineering documentation, technical reports, or professional association papers.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international environment.
  • Committed team worker in a diverse environment.
  • Motivated to learn new skills and abilities.
  • Strong teamwork and collaboration skills.
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License; clean driving record.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Three or more years of relevant experience.
  • Experience in design and maintenance of precision mechanical or opto-mechanical equipment.
  • Experience with mechatronics, electro-mechanical and industrial automation systems such as servo drives, PLCs, or industrial robots.
  • Ability to characterize fabricability of designed parts and materials using CNC lathes and mills, and manual grinding, drilling, and milling machines, and related equipment.
  • Experience with industrial and large mechanical systems and reliability-based maintenance & design.
  • Astronomical observatory experience.
  • Some interdisciplinary experience.
  • Interaction with internal/external (scientific) stakeholders.
  • Experience working with industry contractors.
  • Ability to present work in conferences.
  • Profession Engineer (PE) certification.

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.
  • Able to climb stairs and work at 6,800 feet altitude

AURA offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off and retirement plan contributions, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Details on benefits can be found at

NSF’s NOIRLab is the preeminent US national center for ground-based, nighttime optical and infrared astronomy. The mission of NOIRLab is to enable breakthrough discoveries in astrophysics by developing and operating state-of-the-art ground-based observatories and providing data products and services for a diverse and inclusive community. NOIRLab operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs: Gemini, Rubin, MSO (CTIO and KPNO), and CSDC; with approximately 400 employees at facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Hawai’i, and Chile.

At NOIRLab we are committed to diversity and inclusion; our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, 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

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Please list 3 professional references in your application (references will only be contacted later in the recruitment process) and attach: a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to [email protected].

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

The position will remain open until filled. To be considered in the first round of reviews, please submit your application by April 27, 2022. 

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated including being up to date on boosters, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons.  All new employees will be required to comply with this policy and will be required to present proof of full vaccination or submit a completed request (including supporting documents, if applicable) for an exemption at least five (5) business days prior to their start of employment.  Individuals who fail to meet this deadline may have their employment start date delayed. 

This is a requirement for all employees working onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work schedule).  Currently the vaccination requirement does not apply to any future AURA employees working in Chile, regardless of their nationality or type of contract.

AURA currently offers a mix-model workspace (office & virtual) and stimulating environments for all, with most staff working virtually from home during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape and offers of employment can be extended and new hires will onboard virtually. Employees are required to be residents in their base job location within a limited time from their start date.

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 NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

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 does 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. 

Application Deadline: 
Friday, May 20, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: