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Job Title:
Mechanical Engineer, IS-0830, Grade 9; $61,268 - $79,650 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   Open to all qualified candidates.

Note:  Selection made be made 14 days after the opening of this vacancy.


Purpose of the position: Provide support to the engineering and scientific staff in the conduct of x-ray and solar optics research and development.


Duties may include but are not limited to:

1. Design and assemble hardware. Prepare experimental procedures. Perform experiment setup, data acquisition, and evaluation.
2. Design and Assembly Ground Support Equipment (GSE) required to perform the alignment and bonding of optical assemblies.
3. Align and bond Prototype and Flight mirror assemblies. Test and calibrate optics. Perform laboratory measurements of optical alignment. This includes operating laser alignment equipment, standard electronic measurement tools, and other general and specialized laboratory equipment.
4. Support the assembly of precision optical systems. Develop computer programs to organize and plot raw data. Perform elementary statistical data analysis, reduction, plotting, archiving, and logging.
5. Design vacuum GSE and test ports for environmental testing of scientific instruments.
6. Supply complete documentation on the mechanical parts and assemblies of the project instrument Write assembly procedures and environmental test procedures.
7. Procure and track all items for fabrication and hardware to complete the scientific instrument.


(A) Degree: professional engineering. To be acceptable, the curriculum must: (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or

(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.
(B) Combination of education and experience--college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering.

In addition to the Basic Requirements, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

One year of professional experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to grade 7 level work in the Federal service within or closely related to the position being filled.  Specialized experience would typically include the ability to design parts using a 3D cad tool such as Solidworks, ability to fabricate and assemble moderately complex designs as well as engage in technical problem solving either in the field or as part of a design team.

This position has a mandatory education requirement; you must furnish a copy of your transcript of college work completed (unofficial copy is acceptable) or a copy of your degree certificate. Non-submission may result in you being rated ineligible for the position.
Applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

Basic qualification requirements can be found at and

 Application Procedures:  We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply please visit USAJOBS


For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.



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