Mechanical Engineer

California, United States
Sunday, 13 December 2020
End of advertisement period
Saturday, 13 February 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary  

Caltech Optical Observatories (COO) is seeking a talented mechanical or opto-mechanical engineer to join its Optical and Infrared (OIR) Instrumentation group. The OIR group designs, fabricates, and commissions advanced astronomical instrumentation for the Palomar, Keck, Thirty Meter Telescope, and other forefront Observatories while fostering a community of respect, learning, and individual growth.

The qualified mechanical engineer will contribute throughout project life-cycles including conceptualization, detailed design, integration, testing, and commissioning, as a key member of interdisciplinary teams pushing back the frontiers of planetary science, astronomy, and cosmology. 

This position is based on the Caltech university campus* in Pasadena, California, but requires occasional travel to Palomar Mountain, San Diego, California, and Maunakea, Hawaii.

COO encourages a healthy work-life balance, with work schedule flexibility and results-oriented evaluation and mentorship.

COO is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Caltech supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to broaden participation and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. 

* = COO has most staff working virtually throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended, and arrangements may be made for remote work. 

Job Duties

  • Mechanical engineering support of Caltech's instrumentation program through all phases of development from conceptual design to commissioning instruments on major astronomical telescopes
  • Mechanical systems engineering, including mechanical requirements capture, flow-down, error budget, and cost estimate development
  • Mechanical design, component specification, tolerancing, drawing, procurement, and fabrication oversight
  • Finite element and thermal analyses of ambient and cryogenic opto-mechanical systems
  • Mechanical assembly, integration, and verification of sophisticated optoelectromechanical subsystems with emphasis on safety, efficiency, reliability, and quality
  • Development, execution, and delivery of instrumentation documentation, including technical notes, quantitative analyses, design documentation, alignment and test plans, verification results

Basic Qualifications 

  • B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent and 5+ years experience, including demonstrated independent design responsibility for precision mechanics, optomechanics, and cryogenic and/or vacuum systems
  • Fluency with modern solid modeling software, rapid prototyping, traditional part and assembly drawing, and reduced dimensioning fabrication techniques
  • Excellent oral and written communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills are essential. Must work well within technical and scientific teams
  • The successful candidate will demonstrate enthusiasm and initiative in a fast-paced multidisciplinary research environment. One must also possess a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and execute complex quotations and procurement efforts
  • Occasional travel and work assignments at high altitudes and in limited light environments; requires DMV check and successful pre-employment physical, including vision screening
  • Ability to lift 20 lbs.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions

Preferred Qualifications

  • M.S. degree plus 2+ years experience with complex SolidWorks assemblies, hands-on experience with optical instrumentation, infrared camera systems, and/or cryogenic vacuum systems, or equivalent work or military experience
  • Mastery of opto-mechanical and thermal design principles and analysis techniques 
  • Understanding of drafting standards and demonstrable experience creating thorough drawing packages and supporting documents
  • Detailed understanding of manufacturing processes and experience working closely with machine shops and fabricators
  • Strong collaborative communication skills working within a diverse, multicultural, and international teaming environment
  • Expert knowledge of analysis/FEA tools (e.g. CosmosWorks or ANSYS)
  • Experience with commercial optical design tools (e.g. ZEMAX, CODE V)

Required Documents

  • Resume