Mechanical Engineer

Carnegie Observatories is seeking a mechanical engineer to join its Instrumentation Development Laboratory. We build state-of-the-art astronomical instruments for our telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Our development approach is based on close collaboration with the scientific and technical staff in order to promote a community of learning, innovation, and professional growth.

Instrumentation and related technologies developed are critical scientific research tools used to gather astronomical information and generate data for answering fundamental questions associated with extrasolar planets, nearby stars, the Milky Way and its neighbors, distant galaxies, and the cosmological structure and formation of the universe. Current projects include instrumentation for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey V, our 1-meter, 2.5-meter and 6.5-meter telescopes, and the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope.

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science is a world-class astronomical research organization headquartered in Pasadena, California, where this position is based. Occasional travel to Las Campanas Observatory in Chile may be required, as well as other domestic and international travel. Carnegie Observatories encourages a healthy work-life balance, with work schedule flexibility and results-oriented performance evaluation.

The successful candidate will:

  • Perform advanced engineering design, analysis, assembly, and testing of mechanical systems for highly sophisticated astronomical instrumentation.
  • Perform component research, engineering investigation and cost estimation for new instruments.
  • Develop technical documentation, such as technical notes, quantitative studies, design documentation, testing plans and verification results.


Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
  • Proficiency in using modern solid modeling software, preferably Solidworks.


Required Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

  • Strong hand and visual skills for instrument assembly and alignment.
  • Effective written and verbal communications in English.
  • Comfort collaborating within multidisciplinary, diverse, multicultural, and international teams and ability to perform some tasks proactively with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to use common hand tools.
  • Ability to work at 8000 feet altitude.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally.


Desirable Qualifications

  • Three years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience with structural design.
  • Experience with finite element analysis.
  • Experience with thermal flow and radiation analysis.
  • Experience with design of precision electro-mechanical actuators.
  • Experience with the design and construction of optical and/or infrared astronomical instrumentation.


Physical Demands and Working Conditions:

  • Must be able to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to travel occasionally both domestically and internationally with some overnight travel required.
  • Physical Demands:
    • Required to move about in an office and machine shop environment and sit for extended periods of time.
    • Required to move about in the community.
    • Frequent use of hands for data entry/keystrokes, use of hand tools and simple grasping
  • Working Conditions:
    • Moderate noise level
    • Occasional exposure to prevalent weather conditions


Expected Compensation: Expected annual salary range $85,000 - $150,000. Exact salary determined by experience and education related to the role, organizational compensation structure, budget and internal equity.

Application Process
Only online applications submitted through our website will be considered. Application acceptance will continue until the position is filled. No phone calls please. Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply. The Carnegie Institution is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.



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