Operations Specialist

California, United States
17 Sep 2019
End of advertisement period
17 Nov 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

The position is for a staff astronomer to assist in operations of the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) space telescope located at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. NuSTAR, a NASA small explorer mission launched in June 2012, is the first focusing high energy X-ray astronomy mission and has opened the hard X-ray sky for sensitive study for the first time. Additional information about NuSTAR is available through the project website http://www.nustar.caltech.edu and from Harrison et al 2013, ApJ 770, 103 (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013ApJ...770..103H).

The NuSTAR Science Operations Center performs the science planning, develops the instrument commands for delivery to the Mission Operations center (MOC) located at UC Berkeley, monitors instrument health and safety, processes the science data via an automated pipeline system, and provides quality assessment and evaluation of the science data. The SOC operations specialist will assist in the day-to-day operation of the telescope, support mission science planning, and will report to the NuSTAR SOC manager and principal investigator.

Job Duties

The duties of the operations specialist comprise 50% of the position and include:

  • Generating weekly observatory command sequences, working with the mission operations center at UC Berkeley, monitoring the pipeline data processing system, and working with the data archiving center at GSFC
  • The operations specialist will conduct studies to aid in monitoring of the health of the scientific payload, and support the scheduling of science investigations and analysis of calibration observations
  • The operations specialist is expected to participate in project meetings and reviews, and report regularly to the SOC manager and principal investigator

The other 50% of the position includes:

  • Analyzing multiwavelength data on astrophysics objects such as AGN and ULXs, and publishing scientific results
  • Supporting scientific simulation tools for a proposed ultraviolet explorer mission

Basic Qualifications

  • BS/BA degree in engineering or the sciences with at least 5 years relevant experience, or MS/MA with 2 years relevant experience, or PhD with experience using data from space observatories or space instrumentation
  • The position requires the individual have excellent organization and communication skills and be comfortable working with a small, highly interactive team

Preferred Qualifications

  • Desired qualifications include a scientific publication record in astronomy and/or astronomical instrumentation
  • Experience using data from space observatories for scientific research
  • Experience with observatory operations or space science instrumentation would be valuable
  • Experience in software development, particularly in the areas of data analysis and/or website design would also be desirable

Required Documents

  • Resume/CV