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    The incumbent provides systems engineering support for the next generation Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). The incumbent will lead several systems engineering efforts in close collaboration with and at the direction of the Project Engineer. The Engineer will be focused on system integration, subsystem deployment to various sites, test support, and verification and validation planning.

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    PURPOSE OF THE POSITION: The Engineer will play a key role in the overall next generation EHT engineering team, participating in all phases of the systems development lifecycle, including concept of operations, requirements, system architecture modeling, system design, risk management, integration, testing, and implementation planning. The incumbent will lead several systems engineering efforts in close collaboration with and at the direction of the Project Engineer. The Engineer will be focused on system integration, subsystem deployment to various sites, test support, and verification and validation planning. The incumbent will work with an international team that includes engineers, theoreticians, software developers, astronomers, and imaging algorithm experts, all united by a common science vision. This position will require that the incumbent possesses the ability to learn quickly, see the big picture, and carry out multiple complex activities simultaneously.

    Duties include but are not limited to:

    1. Provides engineering leadership for the system design of the next generation Event Horizon Telescope, from conceptual design through prototype demonstration and detailed system architecture. Assists and coordinates development of technical specifications for all next generation EHT subsystems. Assists and coordinates engineering design and analysis (drawing from mechanical, optical, systems, microwave, electronic or signal processing disciplines), as well as proposal preparation and formal documentation.
    2. Leads subsystem integration, testing, verification, validation, and deployment activities to various global sites of the ngEHT array, including verification plans and procedures, analysis and test, and hardware acceptance.
    3. Coordinates subsystem design and development activities across international working groups for instrumentation, infrastructure, and supporting systems that comprise the ngEHT station system design. Ensures software design is compatible with instrument hardware. Participates in design reviews.
    4. Writes and maintains engineering requirements, specifications, interface documents, etc., assisting the Project Engineer to ensure that project milestones and budgets are successfully met.
    5. Prepares engineering input to project proposals, cost estimates, cost models, schedules, technical plans, procedures, and reports.
    6. Makes oral and written presentations to project scientists and technical representatives of cooperating and/or contracting organizations. Contributes to papers and technical articles as required. Represents SAO on technical task forces.
    7. Performs other related duties as required.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Occasional travel to support project activities.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

    0801 General Engineering

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    Conditions Of Employment

    • Pre- and post-appointment background investigation.
    • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
    • Direct Deposit/Elect funds Transfer required for salary payment.
    • Must file Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests

    Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date.
    For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the
    web at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications.


    In addition to meeting basic qualification requirements, candidates  must possess at least one year of professional experience in a field appropriate to the specialization for which applying, that was comparable in level of responsibility and difficulty to that of the GS-13 level. Specialized experience at the grade 13 typically involves serving as lead systems integration engineer on a project of significant scope.


    All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements:

    Basic Requirements for Engineer (You must submit a copy of your transcripts)

    [A] a degree in professional engineering. Curriculum must (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics; OR

    [B] combination of education and experience - college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by ONE of the following: professional registration; written test (successfully passed the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) examination or the written test required for professional registration); specified academic courses (successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering); OR related curriculum (successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field). 

    Additional information

    The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.



    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Your application will be evaluated first for the qualifications described above.  The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria: 

    1. Mastery of engineering principles and practices which enables the incumbent to provide expert technical advice to EHT scientists, engineers on the concept of design, and fabrication of complex, state of the art, astronomical and astrophysical instrumentation.
    2. Expert technical ability in two or more engineering disciplines, including mechanical, optical, microwave, electronic, signal processing or software engineering which enables the incumbent to provide technical advice to EHT scientists and engineers on the design and fabrication of complex, state-of-the-art instrumentation.
    3. Expert working knowledge of systems engineering principles and processes, and ability to plan, schedule, oversee, and direct effectively the work of other engineering, scientific and technical staff in a timely manner in complex projects of international scope.
    4. Ability to provide technical direction in design, fabrication, assembly, and test to members of a diverse engineering and scientific team in a large internationally dispersed organization.
    5. Ability to communicate technical and project planning information effectively, both orally and in writing.

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


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    Required Documents

    Your application package should include the
    following documents:

    Detailed resume or CV and bibliography.

    College Transcripts.

    Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    For more information on the trust benefits, visit:  https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hr/benefits/trust/table.html

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    Click on the "Apply Online" button below.
    Please Note:

    • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button.
    • Clicking the "DONE" tab does not submit your application. The "DONE" tab allows you to exit the system and save your information for completion at a later time. To submit your application, click the "FINISH" tab.
    • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

    Agency contact information

    Angel Flewelling








    Human Resources
    60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
    Mail Stop 17
    Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    United States
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    The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is one of the largest and most diverse astrophysical institutions in the world, where the staff carry out broad programs of research in astronomy, astrophysics and earth and space sciences.

    Next steps

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    The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into www.usajobs.gov and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS, or by contacting the HR Specialist listed on the vacancy.

    • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses, but may pay a Recruitment Bonus.
    • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity. 

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Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

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You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/607702000. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.