The University of Texas at Austin Job Posting

This posting is Closed

Research Engineering/ Scientist Associate I - Opto-Mechanical Technician

Hiring department McDonald Observatory
Monthly salary $3,166+ depending on qualifications
Hours per week 40.00 Standard from 800AM to 500PM
Posting number 18-07-20-01-4216
Job Status Closed
FLSA status Exempt
Earliest Start Date Immediately
Position Duration Funding expected to continue
Position open to all applicants
Location McDonald Observatory (near Ft. Davis, TX)
Number of vacancies 1
General Notes

Position located at McDonald Observatory, 16 miles from Ft. Davis, Texas (440 miles west of UT Austin campus). Occasional on-call duty required. Position may be subject to "call-back" as an essential employee for emergencies or critical response.

Required Application Materials

  • A Resume is required in order to apply
  • A Letter of Interest is required in order to apply.
  • A List of 3 References is required in order to apply.

Additional Information


Serve as the technical resource for the optical systems of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, including optical maintenance such as cleaning, metrology, coating removal, computer maintenance of the Segment Alignment Maintenance System, and basic mechanical maintenance for the mirror supports.

Essential Functions

Responsible for removing mirror segments and replacing with freshly coated segments (swapping). Sets up the mirror segments according to position angle in the array. Keeps accurate logs and communicates these segment swaps to the night staff for alignment. Troubleshoots mechanical issues with mirror segments. Responsible for the Segment Alignment and Maintenance System (SAMS) of the HET primary mirror. This includes using fine motor skills to adjust sensors in the array and characterize SAMS performance. Keeps accurate SAMS logs of spare components and communicates necessary repairs to head of optical group. Performs basic troubleshooting of electronics issues within SAMS. Develops an understanding of underlying algorithms within SAMS that control the figure of the primary mirror. Responsible for the adjustment of mirror actuators and troubleshooting both the actuators and actuator controllers. Keeps accurate segment control system (SCS) logs of spares components and communicates necessary repairs to the head of the optical group. Helps maintain the database of spares and consumables and work with the head of the optical group to set an accurate budget. Provides feedback on procedures and systems to improve efficiency. Support of the re-coating process of the primary mirror. Evaluate the mirror coating before and after this process. Keeps accurate logs of the metrology and communicates this information to the optical lead. Attends and constructively participates in the morning meetings and weekly HET staff meetings. Submits daily list of tasks performed to supervisor and to site manager.

Marginal/Incidental functions

Other related functions as assigned, including wearing appropriate safety equipment when working with chemical or working at height.

Licenses: Class "C" Operator's Driver's License. Applicant selected must provide a current three year Driving Record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, must obtain a Texas Driver's License within 30 days after entering Texas as a new resident.

Required qualifications

Bachelor's degree in Science or Engineering. Strong communication skills. Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively in a team environment. Able to work independently and is self motivated. In addition, candidates should have the work ethic and drive to maximize the scientific output of the telescope. Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

Two years experience working with optical systems and/or a laboratory environment. Math skill set including linear algebra and calculus. Computer skill set including programming fundamentals, MATLAB, LabView. Ability and/or experience with directing and/or managing projects. Ability to do basic troubleshooting on both electrical and mechanical systems.

Working conditions

Uniforms and/or personal protection equipment (furnished) May work in all weather conditions May work in extreme temperatures May work around chemical fumes May work around standard office conditions May work around chemicals May work around electrical and mechanical hazards Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation Use of manual dexterity Climbing of stairs Climbing of ladders Lifting and moving Residence in the Observatory's residential community may not be available.

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