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Telescope Instrumentation Engineer

Simons Observatory, La Jolla, CA, United States
Employer Description

The Simons Observatory (SO) is an $80 million dollar project supported by the Simons Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and member organizations, dedicated to understanding how the universe originated and evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. The SO project began in 2016 and is comprised of the design and deployment of four special-purpose telescopes, a high-altitude site, and cryogenic detectors. The SO will collect a comprehensive range of data spanning angular scales from one arcminute to nearly 70% of the sky visible from its site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude of 5200 meters (17,200 feet) above sea level.

The SO is comprised of over 40 institutions world-wide with over 300 participating members, representing scientific/academic/educational personnel, engineers, managers, and other parties. Upon completion, SO will be the largest, most ambitious observatory of its kind designed to probe the composition and evolution of the entire universe. The Simons Observatory Project Office at UC San Diego is responsible for the construction and operation of the Simons Observatory.

Job Description

Job Summary
The Simons Observatory (SO) Telescope Instrumentation Engineer will be responsible for working with the instrument teams to deliver and successfully commission the Large Aperture Telescope (LAT) and three Small Aperture Telescopes (SAT) currently under construction for the Simons Observatory, and for maintaining and operating those instruments after they have been commissioned. The telescope instrumentation engineer will work with a team of leading scientists and other engineers in the development and testing of these important scientific instruments.

The work will include participating initially in the technical activities of the team working in North America, at University of California, San Diego, or University of California, Berkeley, or University of Pennsylvania or Princeton University. These activities include laboratory integration and testing, completion of supporting technical elements such as electrical and electronics enclosures, temperature monitoring and control, and installation of TES bolometer focal plane arrays. The integration and test phase will conclude with acceptance testing to verify that the instrument meets all of the performance and implementation requirements. Once the instrument has passed these tests it will be shipped to the SO site in Chile. The instrumentation engineer will work at the site to lead the installation of the instrument and will work with the compliance systems engineer to commission the instrument for science operations. During and after this period, the instrumentation engineer will also lead the activities related to completion of other SO telescopes and oversee their installation at the site.

The Telescope Instrumentation Engineer will be part of the Observatory’s site team and will report to the Observatory’s lead systems engineer and the observatory manager while in Chile. They will collaborate with the compliance systems engineer on the acceptance testing in the laboratory and also support the compliance systems engineer and other Observatory staff in the commissioning of the instrument and the handover to operations.

Job Requirements

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum 5 years hands on experience in the development of cryogenic instruments or systems
  • Proficiency in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software at the level of professional certification
  • Clear and concise written and oral communications skills
  • Professional level design and fabrication experience in mechanical and electrical/electronic systems and components
  • Working knowledge of finite element analysis, thermal modeling, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing
  • Fluency in English

Desirable Qualifications

  • A master’s degree or equivalent experience in mechanical or electrical engineering
  • Experience with microwave instrumentation for astronomy including a working knowledge of microwave optics and RF systems
  • Experience with servo controls and motion control systems, especially for telescopes and/or large antennas
  • Experience with assembly and troubleshooting of electrical and electronic systems
  • Experience with the operation and troubleshooting of high vacuum cryogenic systems including pulse tube coolers and dilution refrigerators
  • Experience with TES bolometer detectors and detector arrays
  • Experience in acceptance testing including test design and execution, data analysis and reporting
  • Fluency in Spanish

This is a salaried appointment. There will be a three-month probationary period.

Location & Schedule
The position will be located initially at one of the universities listed above, relocating after 2 months to the Observatory site in Chile with occasional travel to collaborator sites in the United States. The schedule is flexible depending on the candidate but will likely be 8-day shifts every two weeks. 

16 September 2022
16 October 2022
Masters Degree
Research and Development