FSI Maintenance Engineer (702-500)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, May 11, 2018
Archive Date: 
Friday, October 26, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
SOFIA / Universities Space Research Association
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Facility Science Instrument (FSI) Maintenance Engineer is responsible for maintaining the FSIs to support the observing community once the SI is delivered to the Science Mission Operations (SMO) for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Science (SOFIA) Program.  The FSI Maintenance Engineer will work closely with the Instrument Scientists and Operators and receive training from the FSI developer teams during lab performance testing, pre-delivery maintenance operations, instrument installation, lab, hangar and line operations, and in-flight commissioning operations.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Understand and become fully cognizant of the whole instrument design, layout, maintenance and operations, including mechanical, electrical, optical, vacuum, cryogenic and computer systems
  • Plan and conduct technical FSI Maintenance; may also coordinate the efforts of technical support personnel to help as required
  • Develop procedures and provide all other documentation needed to install, test, maintain, and operate instruments in labs and on aircraft; diligent to follow all standard practices and required safety rules
  • Conduct engineering verification and performance tests for final instrument acceptance and before each installation of the FSI on aircraft
  • Maintain configuration logs for the FSI, tracking hardware changes that impact airworthiness or ICD compliance, and updating drawings and other documentation as required
  • Coordinate and lead instrument installations and removals either on the Telescope Assembly on the aircraft or the Telescope Assembly Alignment Simulator in the lab
  • Organize and lead observatory-level presentations and reviews for instrument installations on the telescope on the aircraft, including updates on instrument status and modifications
  • Develop and maintain yearly and mission based maintenance requirements to include working schedules, with material and personnel resources needed
  • Understand Instrument to Observatory ICDs and collaborate with the FSI developers during the transition between the development and commissioning of the FSI to advise and ensure compliance as well as adequate documentation and transfer of critical instrument subsystem operation and maintenance knowledge and documentation.
  • Support Principal Investigator Instrument teams and Special Science Instrument teams with their instruments in the lab and on the aircraft as needed.

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Ensure the protection of NASA and USRA intellectual property with respect to commercial, International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) concerns through disclosures, patent applications, and adherence to NASA’s scientific and technical information dissemination guidelines.
  • Support efforts by USRA Management to ensure that USRA conducts its business operations in an effective, cost-competitive, and professional manner
  • Complete all required training for operations in the science labs and on the aircraft and other corporate trainings, as required

Required Qualifications:


  • A Bachelor’s degree in electrical / mechanical maintenance or a related technical field or equivalent


  • At least 7 years of experience maintaining technical equipment in a scientific and /or research environment is required
  • Hands on experience in areas such as:
  • Electrical engineering: analog and digital circuits, NASA/FAA cabling, soldering;
  • Optical engineering; IR/optical systems, opto-mechanical control systems, IR/optical detection;
  • Mechanical engineering: FEA, opto-mechanical/electromechanical system design and fabrication

Licenses, Certifications:

  • Professional Engineering certification a plus
  • Must be able to pass an annual basic physical exam for lab work and flight
  • Must complete / pass required training for certifications to work with science instruments in the hangar labs and on the aircraft

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: 

  • Strong practical electrical / mechanical engineering knowledge in order to understand the capabilities of the science instruments and effectively maintain them.
  • Ability to work with a diverse group of scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrators effectively in a professional manner.
  • Ability to read and understand technical manuals, engineering and manufacturing drawings, including schematics, wiring diagrams and optical designs and layouts, and possess basic machining and electrical wiring skills.
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English is required in order to develop clear documentation and clearly describe issues and how to resolve them.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Ability to write routine reports and correspondence, speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.

Working Conditions:

The employee must be capable of performing all duties in a technical / scientific setting including offices, laboratories, shops, and aircraft maintenance facilities as well as on the aircraft / observatory, both while on the ground and during flights. 

The activities in the office environment include using standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position. The noise level in the work office environment is typically mild.

A significant portion of the work day will occur either on an airplane or in a lab inside an aircraft hangar. While performing the duties of this job in the operations environment, the employee may be exposed to fumes or airborne particles, moving equipment, vehicles and mechanical parts.  The environment on the aircraft during flight operations may become noisy and tiring.

Work on either day or night shift may be scheduled for this position.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit, use hands. The employee may need to lift and / or move up to 50 pounds.


This position is based at Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in Palmdale, CA, but travel is required at times to NASA Ames Research Center and annual international business travel up to 3 months is required).


Applicants should apply to the posting at https://usracareers.silkroad.com/ and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at www.usra.edu.

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Talent Acquisition
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis