Visiting Associate Scientist (SOFIA Postdoctoral Fellow)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Universities Space Research Association
Moffett Field
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Postdoctoral Fellow will undertake research projects utilizing data acquired with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). A demonstrated history of active research and research interests broadly related to SOFIA science will have a particular advantage.

Up to 25% time is dedicated to gaining experience with observatory operations, e.g. assisting the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Instrument Scientists in their support of facility instruments and their operations, operating facility instruments in flight, assisting observatory users in defining their observations, and public outreach. 

This position is a 2-year appointment, with a third year possible depending on performance and funding.

Required Qualifications:

  • Must be qualified for a U.S. Government Public Trust clearance.


  • PhD in Astronomy, Physics or related field


  • Past experience in infrared, far-infrared or sub-mm astronomical research desired, but not required.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: 

  • Teamwork and the ability to work effectively with co-workers, customers, and supervisor in a professional and courteous manner.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English is required
  • 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.
  • Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.
  • Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications.

Working Conditions:

This job primarily operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit, use hands.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position.

The job requires the ability to work onboard the SOFIA observatory, both on the ground and in flight.  Significant parts of the job requires night-time work, away from the home base.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee may occasionally be exposed to fumes or airborne particles.  The employee may be exposed to moving equipment, vehicles and mechanical parts.  The noise level in the work office environment is typically mild.  The environment on the aircraft during flight operations may become noisy and tiring. 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 employee may need to lift and / or move up to 50 pounds.


This position is based at NASA AMES Research Center Moffett Field, CA but significant travel is required to Armstrong Flight Research Center and international business travel for weeks at a time.


Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

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

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Position Filled
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Sr. Recruiter
Zip/Postal Code: 
United States of America
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis