Instrumentation Senior Systems Engineer

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project has been established to design, build and eventually operate an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) with a primary mirror diameter of 30 meters. ELT’s will be the successors of the present day 8-10 meter world class telescopes. When complete the TMT will be the largest ground based optical/infrared telescope in the world providing the capability to study exciting astronomical problems from the nature of extra-solar planets to the first stars in the universe.    An international collaboration consisting of the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, Canada, Japan, India and China has been formed to deliver this exciting project.

The TMT project recently entered construction and will be completed and ready for science operations in 2027.  The TMT project office is located in Pasadena, CA, USA. The design and build of the various telescope systems will be distributed amongst the TMT partner institutions, collaborators, industry, and the Project Office.

Job Summary

The TMT International Observatory, LLC is a non-profit corporation managing the development and construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, an extremely large optical-infrared telescope to be built by an international partnership consisting of the California Institute of Technology, Canada, China, India, Japan, and the University of California. For more information, please see The TMT Instrumentation Department is responsible for overseeing the design, fabrication and test of the three first light science instruments for TMT, as well as the associated adaptive optics (AO) systems. Reporting to the Instrumentation Department Manager and working closely with the instrumentation teams and the Systems Engineering Group, the Instrumentation Senior Systems Engineer will be responsible for coordinating systems engineering products within the Instrumentation Department, for making sure the instrumentation design, test, analysis, verification and validation meet requirements, and for assuring the consistency of the systems engineering work between the subsystems, and with the observatory overall.

Job Duties 

The Instrumentation Senior Systems Engineer will provide instrument-level support including bridging the TMT Project Office to the design teams by:

  • Ensuring that the flow down of system-level (TMT) requirements is properly allocated between each of the TMT science instruments and AO systems.

  • Ensuring that the overall design architecture of the TMT instrumentation complies with this distribution of requirements.

  • Ensuring that the instrumentation interfaces to other TMT systems are clearly defined and compatible with this architecture.

  • Supporting the integration, testing, and verification of TMT instrumentation and ensuring compliance with established TMT standards.

  • Overseeing the instrument configurations and design baselines, tracking and controlling engineering changes, and providing change impact assessment to the Instrument Manager/Department Head.

  • Identifying instrumentation risks, maintaining the Instrumentation Department risk registers and developing/recommending risk mitigations requested by the Instrument Manager/Department Head.

  • Participating in the distributed, multi-discipline TMT systems engineering team to

  • Managing small development contracts or work packages.

She/he will also guide the subsystem-level systems engineering for select TMT instrumentation by:

  • Leading or supporting the creation of technical and functional requirements derived from the proposed instrument operational cases.

  • Leading or supporting the development of optical performance budgets (e.g., throughput, stray light, etc.).

  • Leading or supporting the development of resource budgets (e.g., power, mass, etc.).

  • Leading or supporting the creation of common standards to guide the engineering design (e.g., common electrical standards such as grounding, shipping, etc.).

  • Guiding and reviewing the system- and subsystem-level Design Requirements Documents and Interface Control Documents developed by the instrumentation teams for consistency with the above requirements, architecture, interfaces, and TMT standards and further maintaining the system-level documents.

  • Ensuring similar compliance for the designs and implementations delivered by the instrumentation teams, including:

    • Guiding design teams and ensuring compliance with TMT standards for opto-mechanical modeling, reliability, hazard and failure mode analyses.

    • Participating in the design reviews for instrumentation and other TMT subsystems. 

    • Leading the instrumentation teams in requirements and verification reviews.

    • Implementing TMT systems engineering processes and practices within the instrument design teams.

  • Overseeing and maintaining the subsystem-level registers developed by the instrumentation teams.

Minimum Requirements 

  • Graduate degree (Masters or PhD) in an engineering discipline. Alternatively, an undergraduate degree in engineering combined with a graduate degree in physics/astronomy may be suitable. *Preferred engineering degrees for this position include engineering physics or mechanical engineering

  • 10 years of extensive experience in applying systems engineering processes to the development of astronomical instrumentation

  • Extensive knowledge of systems engineering processes including demonstrated experience developing performance and resource budgets

  • Knowledge of performance modeling and analysis methods for astronomical science instruments

  • Experience in writing and maintaining requirements and interface documents

  • Experience in overseeing systems engineering work by a remote team

  • Experience in the integration, test, and verification of astronomical instrumentation

  • Experience in working with international teams

  • Experience in managing small contracts and work packages

  • The project office is located in Pasadena, and residence in the area is required.

  • Regular international travel to visit instrumentation teams within the US, Canada, China, Europe, India and Japan will be necessary.

Other Desired Experience
Desirable supporting skills and experience for the Instrumentation Systems Engineer include one or more of the following:

  • Familiarity with mechanical design, mechanical analysis and kinematic principles

  • Familiarity with geometrical optics and optical design and analysis using Zemax or Code V

  • Familiarity with optical fabrication, alignment, and testing methods

  • Familiarity with finite-element-analysis of integrated system structure, thermal, and optical performance

  • Familiarity with electrical engineering, detectors, precision mechanisms, and/or real-time control systems

  • Familiarity with optical EMI/EMC/grounding requirements and verification techniques

  • Familiarity with astronomical data analysis and understanding of science drivers

  • Familiarity with infrared instrumentation and cryogenic cooling systems

  • Familiarity with spectroscopy

  • Familiarity with AO systems and modeling techniques

  • Familiarity with lasers and laser beam control systems

  • Familiarity with system-level test, performance characterization and calibration of astronomical instruments and AO systems

  • Familiarity with requirements management tools such as DOORS

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities 

  • Ability to efficiently organize work and work independently

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Ability to write clear and concise technical documents

  • Good interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team on a large, distributed project

  • Ability to multi-task a substantial number of parallel activities

  • Fluency in Mandarin Chinese and/or Japanese is a positive factor.

TMT International Observatory, LLC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply. 

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