Science Instruments Group Leader

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 and the associated adaptive optics (AO) systems, as well as formulating future science instruments with inputs from the science community.
Reporting to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project Manager and Instrumentation (INS) Department Head, and working closely with the Adaptive Optics (AO) Group Leader, the Science Instruments (INST) Group Leader will serve as a strong connection to the science community at large, be an advocate on TMT for the community’s current and future interests in science instrumentation and technology. The Group Leader will lead the science instrument activities for the design and implementation of the Thirty Meter Telescope and support the Project Manager’s execution of the TMT project. The incumbent will supervise an instrument design group that consists of scientists and engineers responsible for design studies and implementation of TMT science instruments. Design studies and implementation will be carried out by members of the TMT Project and community-based instrument teams working under contract with TMT.
Job Duties
The Science Instruments (INST) Group Leader will lead a group that is working with partner/community teams to:

  • Working with the TMT Observatory Scientist, serve as a conduit to the science community at large; understand and advocate for the community’s current and future interests in TMT science instrumentation and technology.
  • Support external funding proposals for on-going efforts and new technology development and instrumentation feasibility studies by partner institutions and ensure they are (and remain) consistent with TMT goals.
  • Assist the TMT Science Advisory Committee (SAC) in examining scope options and establishing priorities on a continuing basis.
  • Investigate concepts that respond to the scientific requirements and are feasible on TMT, as well as to provide estimates of the scientific performance expected from the overall system.
  • Develop initial specifications and ROM costs for future instruments.
  • Issue announcements of opportunity and oversee RFP process.
  • Select teams for design studies for a new system or a major upgrade.
  • Provide oversight for and manage design studies for each instrument.
  • Working with the Systems Engineering team, conduct design reviews and negotiate results with teams.
  • Working with the TMT Project business team, establish contractual requirements and costs for instruments, negotiate “value”, conditions and schedule.
  • Working with the TMT Project business team and instrument development teams, establish and maintain instrument schedules.
  • Working with the Systems Engineering team, develop interface control documents to other observatory systems and ensure adherence to these ICDs and related requirements.
  • Working with the TMT Project Office, define acquisition, calibrations, servicing/handling, cooling and data-handling systems.
  • Working with the Systems Engineering team, define, implement and maintain common standards and practices to be followed by all instrumentation efforts.
  • Working with the TMT Project Office, negotiate and manage work packages for all instrumentation efforts.
  • Monitor progress through monthly reports, telecons/videocons and interim visits.
  • Work with TMT operations staff in the final stages of an instrumentation project to familiarize and prepare them to receive the instrument.
  • Conduct or participate in acceptance tests and final pre-shipment reviews and resolve any outstanding issues.
  • Participate in instrumentation system assembly, integration and verification at the builder site.
  • Lead instrumentation system assembly, integration and verification at Observatory site.
  • Help define and conduct on-sky commissioning plans.
  • Working with Systems Engineering team, develop, maintain and track instrumentation error budgets.
  • Prepare for and participate in progress reviews of the Project by funding agencies.
  • Foster new instrument team partnerships.

Minimum Requirements

  • A doctoral degree in astronomy or related physical science discipline or related engineering. Current or recent active research in astronomy is strongly preferred. Experience in large projects is strongly preferred.
  • 10 years experience in the scientific and technical aspects of scientific instruments for complex scientific detector, telescope or aerospace systems with significant experience in mechanical, optical and controls technology.
  • Significant experience leading a team in these activities is required.
  • Experience in working with international teams.
  • Experience in managing contracts and/or work packages.
  • The project office is located in Pasadena, and residence in the area is expected but can be negotiated.
  • Regular international travel to visit instrumentation teams within the US, Canada, China, Europe, India and Japan will be necessary.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Proven capability in conducting research in astronomy or astrophysics with a track record of publications;
  • Demonstrated record of leadership in complex scientific or technical projects involving instrumentation technologies relevant for TMT.
  • A significant record in leading instrument projects and systems activities to completion and a record of publication in professional journals is required.
  • Significant demonstrated accomplishments in one or more of mechanical, optical, controls, electronics, modelling and systems studies is required.
  • Ability to efficiently organize work and work independently.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to write clear and concise technical documents.
  • Excellent 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.

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

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