Telescope & Site Software Manager

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, July 6, 2018
Archive Date: 
Friday, August 3, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of 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 (LSST) and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

LSST is a planned, large-aperture, wide-field, ground-based telescope that will survey half the sky every few nights in six optical bands. It will explore a wide range of astrophysical questions, ranging from discovering “killer” asteroids, to examining the nature of dark energy. The project includes an 8-meter class wide field of view telescope, a 3.2 gigapixel camera with 2-second readout, and a state-of-the-art petascale data management system to process, archive, and distribute the 15 TB of data produced every night. LSST Construction commenced in August 2014, funded by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy, to complete construction in 8 years. Once completed, the LSST will be the largest and most modern optical survey project ever built, with plans to operate a 10-year survey.

The LSST Telescope and Site Software (TSS) system is currently being constructed or purchased and integrated by the TSS team of 12+ members residing in Tucson and in Chile. Control software for this world class telescope and observatory is being written now. LSST code is in general free software (GPL v3), written in modern Python, C++ and LabView though vendor restrictions mean some TSS code is not public. In addition, contracts are in place with vendors to provide hardware with compliant software interfaces as well as a visualization system for the main control room.

The TS Group is soliciting applications for a dynamic TSS Manager to lead the TSS group, based at the LSST Project Office in Tucson, Arizona. The TSS deliverables are comprised of two main control elements: Observatory Control System (OCS) and Telescope Control System (TCS). The TSS developer team provides OCS sequencer code to coordinate the observatory system as well as a complex scheduling scheme used to efficiently execute the survey mission to achieve stated science requirements. The TCS coordinates the hardware elements to provide safe and efficient operations of the telescope system components.

The TSS Manager will co-ordinate with the other Telescope and Site Managers and Scientists to integrate, commission and deliver the observatory to the operations team. This involves preparing for an executing a series of Early Integration Activities in conjunction with LSST System Engineering Department.

Tasks include:

  • Supervise and manage TSS staff, manage time cards etc.
  • Prioritize and plan the software activities of the software team in conjunction with the overall TS group.
  • Coordinate software development efforts to align with the schedules of TS hardware procurements, construction milestones, and integration activities.
  • Coordinate meetings and workshops within the TS group and across the LSST Project as required.
  • Collaborate with subsystem teams to steer the direction and develop the necessary features and functionalities for software releases.
  • Lead the discussions and provide insight into software architecture and design decisions in collaboration with the other LSST groups.
  • Maintain interactions with other software teams working in the Project to achieve proper software integration and communication. This includes leading the effort to ensure that the principal TS software documentation is routinely updated and formally approved.
  • Establish policies with regard to software standards and quality.
  • Determine the proper software, tools, and methods to be used on the project, in collaboration with the other LSST groups.
  • Responsible for the solution of complex control software.
  • Responsible for compliance with applicable safety standards, and for correcting and/or reporting unsafe conditions or practices.

Required skills include

  • Experience in management of control software development.
  • Experience with astronomical observatory operations.
  • Program/project management experience.
  • Experience working with issue tracking and project management software such as Atlassian JIRA, Primavera etc. and ability to manage their own and other's work through such systems
  • Experience with software development planning, integration and testing.
  • Familiarity with software version control systems (ideally git).
  • Experience in the entire software development lifecycle
  • Track record with at least one of Python, C++ or Labview.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • An aptitude for detail-oriented work.
  • Ability to work effectively with minimal direction given good documentation.
  • Familiarity with system modelling tools (e.g. Magic Draw).
  • Excellent trouble-shooting and record-keeping skills.

The ideal candidate will furthermore possess:

  • At least 10 years of work experience in relevant fields;
  • Have a track record of working in large geographically distributed projects;
  • Have worked in large scientific projects;
  • Have a degree or equivalent experience in the physical sciences or computer science;
  • Be willing to move to Chile for AIV, commissioning and operations.

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.
  • Some travel may be necessary in or outside the contiguous United States.
  • Cerro Pachón: Ability to work at telescope site (8,900’).

The appointment is for the duration of LSST construction (~3 years), with the potential for continuation into Commissioning and Survey Operations if funding permits. Starting salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

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.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

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

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Zip/Postal Code: 
United States of America
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