Mechanical Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, December 13, 2019
Archive Date: 
Friday, January 10, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is a consortium of over 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 NSF’s Nation Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope 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.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) project is seeking two Principal/Senior Mechanical Engineers (ME) to provide high-level mechanical systems expertise and support for key aspects of the observatory during the DKIST construction, integration, testing, and commissioning (IT&C) period, transition to operations, and long-term operations.   The ME will also lead and participate in maintenance, upgrade and operation of major systems of the DKIST, managing staff as assigned. The ME will solve complex engineering, development and coordination problems. The ME will manage assigned mechanical work packages and staff including scheduling and budget.

These positions are based on Maui, Hawaii and includes work at the DKIST site on the Haleakala summit.

It is anticipated that the initial work will be focused on finishing the construction and IT&C for the DKIST project, once the telescope is operational (expected summer of 2020), the work will transition to an operations support role.  While the essential functions are expected to be similar in the operations role, some adjustments may be made.  The position level for each opening will depending on the selected candidates qualifications.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop a thorough working knowledge of the specifications, requirements and design of all major DKIST systems.
  • Anticipates and creates opportunities for technical improvements in Observatory operations or equipment.
  • Takes project-based lead engineering roles that involve oversight of significant design fabrication, integration, and operational activities on major projects (including technical, schedule, budget, and staff), when applicable.
  • Initiates studies and investigates new technical approaches.
  • Solves engineering problems that are at or beyond the current state of the art.
  • Provides technical leadership for engineering and scientific staff members.
  • Manage assigned technical staff for selection, utilization and training of subordinates. Provide recommended salary and title changes when appropriate.
  • Determines and specifies improvements in equipment, tools, materials, methods and software that advance the technical capabilities of the Observatory.
  • Plans and executes engineering activities that are at the forefront of astronomical telescope technology.
  • Often performs technical analysis or design that is at a level above that expected of an engineer or senior engineer.
  • Complies with approved schedules and insure meeting both technical and budgetary requirements of assigned work.
  • Complies with all applicable codes and safety standards and corrects and/or reports unsafe conditions or practices.
  • Solves engineering and technical problems where minimal guidance is provided.
  • Reports results of activities to management.
  • 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.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering plus the recognition and achievement of technical, scientific and leadership excellence in the field.
  • 10 - 15 years of experience in engineering, development, fabrication/integration, and analysis of technical apparatus.
  • Ability to independently identify and resolve technical problems by application of a high-level of engineering, scientific, or mathematical techniques.
  • Able to speak and write effectively, including preparation of comprehensive technical reports.
  • Able to effectively communicate and cooperate with others at all levels of the organization, as well as with key business contacts outside the company.
  • A thorough working knowledge of MS Office applications
  • Proficient with Solidworks or equivalent 3-D modeling tools

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Master’s degree and/or Professional Engineer credential
  • Direct staff management and development experience including supervision and mentoring of engineers and technician level employees.
  • Proven project management experience including working knowledge of MS Project or other scheduling tools.
  • Experience of work in a research and development or astronomical facility and of working with observing instruments.
  • Experience with process control, thermal control systems, HVAC
  • Experience with planning and conducting maintenance, familiarity with maintenance management systems, tools, and processes.
  • Experience with opto-mechanical hardware installation and alignment.
  • Experience with high precision alignment and analysis tools, laser tracker, CMM arm, and analysis with Spatial Analyzer or equivalent.
  • Experience in development of operations and maintenance documentation.
  • Experience FEA modelling (ANSYS preferred).
  • Experience with in house CAD package software (AutoCAD, Solidworks, Navisworks)
  • Experience in the planning and execution of maintenance for complex Mechanical systems.
  • Experience with high vacuum and cryogenic systems.

This position is covered by the NSO Substance Abuse Prevention and Testing policy and pre-employment testing is required.

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, 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 compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, January 10, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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